If I were at home with my mom today I’d be on day two of putting together flower arrangements and visiting cemeteries for deceased family. She’s done it my entire life and taught me how important it was to remember and honor my ancestors and all their sacrifices.
I’m a thousand miles away and so can’t help with the grave decorating, but I can pay tribute in my own way here on my blog.
I come from a noble heritage on all sides and I’ve always tended to take that for granted. Just this past month I’ve been reading through family history documents that I have copies of. I love history and when I read these personal accounts and stories it’s like I get a little taste of what it was like in their time. I am so grateful my husband’s grandmother gave me a copy of the family civil war letters because I dearly love reading them. I’m also supremely grateful for extended family who have compiled entire books of family history and genealogy. Without these I would not have any way to know my ancestors. I never knew my mother’s father as he died before she was married and without these histories I would have no way to connect with him or learn who he was.
I often wonder if our ancestors weep over us in our day. They gave their all for us to enjoy all the things we do today. Many of them struggled and sacrificed deeply that we might never know those same struggles and sacrifices. Thanks to them we live in a time of abundance when all we could ever want or need is readily available. We’ve become fat and lazy, feeling entitled to the instant gratification that is so plentiful today. Sometimes I think of this as a love mistake scenario. As a parent you never want your children to suffer any of the same things you did – you want them to have it all, every opportunity and every happiness. Consequently we as parents may overdo it sometimes in giving to our children and in removing painful lessons or experiences. Unfortunately, with no personal experience in painful learning and growth too many grow with ingratitude and cause their parents more pain than they thought imaginable. I hope I’m finding a balance for my children and I think often on what my self-sacrificing ancestors would have to say to me today. I hope I’m showing my gratitude and love and passing it on to my posterity. Maybe we’d do well to have a few more days a year to reflect on a picture bigger than us. There are thousands of years of history above us, ancestors that paved the way for us to be here today. Too often I find myself getting stuck in the rut of my personal here and now – thinking only on my own family that I’ve known in my life time. So just for today (and hopefully many more to come) I’ll spend some time and effort getting to know my ancestors and the heritage they’ve given me.