Thursday, June 9, 2011
I am the family historian. There is one in every family and I appointed myself probably at birth. I remember as a child climbing to the top shelf of our closet pulling down old pictures of dead ancestors, gazing at them wondering about their stories. At night I would read their journals and listen to them tell their stories. I sat for hours with my grandmother soaking up all her years of wisdom. At night instead of a bedtime story I begged my dad for a story about his past. It is hard for me to pin point this fascination but it seems to stem from a need to connect with the past, present, and future.
I need to understand where I came from. Why was I born to my parents, in America, in the state of Utah, in the city of Bountiful. It is definitely not a coincidence. What were the events leading up to this? Many of my ancestors are Mormon pioneers who left their homes and families to join a new church. What made them risk their lives to travel across the plains of the United States only to settle in a desert? These are questions that I have always had a desire to find the answers to. I think if I understand my past maybe I can understand myself just a little more.
Presently, my family stories are my life's compass. My ancestors have taught me gratitude, faith, and compassion. When I complain about our one bedroom apartment with AC, a washer and dryer, and plenty of closet space. I think about my grandparent's first home with walls that creaked as the wind flowed through them all the way to the wallpaper that they watched sway back and forth for hours of entertainment.
When I wonder about God, I think of my grandfather dying at the young age of 39 leaving behind a family with young children and never denying his faith in God and Christ.
I treasure every moment with my child when I think about my great grandmother pulling the lifeless body of her toddler from the creek.
I am grateful for disposable diapers as I picture my own mother living in Africa with her first child and washing his diapers in the bathtub.
I hope to carry on this great legacy to my own children. I hope that they will enjoy our family history as much as I have. Maybe my posterity will marvel at my own struggles like surviving chicken pox and life without the internet and cell phones , so if your family is without a historian then maybe you should appoint yourself. It will enrich your life and also generations to come.