Kin folks as far as the eye can see

Have you ever really wondered where it is you are from? How did your folks come to be in this place or how did you get to where you are? Can you point to some place and say that there is home?
When I think of home its not the house I live in, in my waking moments I think back to the valley below the Gravelly Spur, or the little house my grandparents lived in near Tunnel Hill. In sleep it’s the little brick house in Northeast Atlanta where my childhood adventures brought great pains to my parents.
It is really amazing how today thanks to the internet, we can know more about the people that came before us, honor their contributions or learn from their mistakes.
Have you considered that upon your back you carry the hopes and dreams of generations of people who struggled through famine, disease, war, oppression, endless hours of labor? All of their years of faith in God, effort, sometimes sacrifice, in some cases even martyrdom is now upon you to carry the family’s banner passing it to the next generation.
That is a heavy weight to consider as we lean back in our leather recliner grasping tightly to the remote flipping through the channels hoping for something to watch. Oh, look there’s “Braveheart,” so you watch a few minutes of the carnage depicted that some of our ancestors endured; flip a few more channels and there’s “Dances with Wolves.” Then you watch some of the cruelty some of our ancestors inflicted upon others. A couple of more channels over is “Gettysburg” and there we see brother against brother fighting for their lives in the War Between the States.
There are so many epic struggles in history upon which our peoples stood on one side or the other, sometimes taking up arms, sometimes just trying to survive as the world careened out of control around them.
Family experiences help to shape us into whom we become in life. Sometimes we choose not to pay attention to those stories dismissing them as useless nonsense. It is amazing how each generation struggles through the same issues: putting a roof over one’s head; clothes on one’s back, food on the table and paying the bills. Most of this is accomplished by one simple teaching — work hard and with God’s help you will succeed.
These are the basics in every generation’s experience, its what we bring to the table beyond these basics that help to give a family a sense of accomplishment.
Families are forever linked together by blood but they also share a history, they may not always see eye-to-eye but as time marches on from one generation to the next, the question is what are you passing along.
In some families, they see this as a gift of property; in others, it’s simply the gift of love and caring that stays with one’s family long after you have stepped through to meet God.
Does blood alone make one family — no, not always, in order to be family, there are other attributes that must be there. A sense of caring, love, fair play and mutual respect are a start. But as a basis the shared experiences of those that came before will always connect those who carry a bit of their ancestors within them.
I was raised in a family where kin folks cared about each other, they helped all they could, didn’t always agree but usually ironed out those differences especially following a gentile tongue lashing by the most senior member of the family reminding them that differences are usually petty compared to the big painting that reaches back through the years.
Hardly a month goes by that I am not blessed with talking with a relative I never met before. Someone who in days past might be called second cousin or third cousin, twice removed. If my Grandma Allie were still here, she would tell me exactly how we were related and then share some bit of family memories about their folks. Of course, she came up in a time that really all kinfolks had been each other and the times they shared.
In this world where everything moves so fast, I encourage you to pass along the wisdom of the generations in every way you can find because we are the standard bearers for all those behind us but more importantly for those ahead of us. We are in a unique time when families are together, hopefully checking on older relatives by phone or computers who are isolating. This is a perfect time to pass the time by collecting the family stories and setting them down for generations to come.