Friday, June 20, 2008

I attended a funeral the other day where the minister read several statements written by the deceased a few days before he died. It was like a voice from beyond the grave and was a little eerie. He thanked those who had been involved in his care even though the chemotherapy didn’t work. He also thanked everyone for coming to the funeral service. He made the statement that in one hundred years no one would know about us. I have thought about the last statement a great deal in the past few days. It’s sad but largely true. Most people don’t have any idea where their great-grandparents are buried. Many don’t know where their grandparents are buried and some with dead parents don’t even know where they, hopefully, rest in peace. The really sad thing is that many don’t know their parents who are alive.

I try to keep the memory of my ancestors alive by dabbling in genealogy. My great-grandfather was an early settler of Texas and fought in the Battle of San Jacinto. I have brainwashed my children and grandchildren about this hero of our family. So, some people are remembered over 100 years after their death. Unfortunately, you have to be famous before folks pay much attention to you after a couple of generations have passed.

Sometimes, it might be best to forget our ancestors if they have committed a wrong. The sins of the father may be passed on from one generation to the next. Our origins date back to Abraham. When Abraham’s wife Sarah was unable to have a child, Abraham had a son by Hagar, Sarah’s servant. His name was Ishmael. Then God allowed Sarah, at age 90, to become pregnant. Isaac was born and became the main heir of Abraham. Hagar and Ishmael were even booted out of Canaan when Isaac came along. God took care of Hagar and Ishmael and build a mighty nation from Ishmael, called the Arabs. Ishmael was, nevertheless, hacked off with the way he was treated. His descendants have been mad at the Jews ever since and are constantly threatening to blow them off the planet. In this case it would be better if these groups forgot about their ancestors and try to realize that the stuff with Sarah, Isaac, Hagar and Ishmael happened about 6000 years ago. That’s long enough for a feud.

In my genealogy probing I have found a couple of skeletons in the closet. My great-grandfather apparently owned one slave and I’m still paying the price for that one. The one thing I haven’t found is a rich relative. It’s probably best I stop digging into my family tree because more undesirable skeletons may be found. I might end up on someone’s hit list to pay for the sins of my forefathers. It’s going to be hard for me to stop probing because I love the digging.

Perhaps my deceased friend is right and no one will care about us 100 years from now. That really doesn’t apply to me. I enjoy learning about people who lived greater than 100 years ago more than most of those who live today. My simple, honest, God-fearing ancestors are sure more appealing to me than the Britney Spears, Lindsey Lohans, Paris Hitons and Barack Obamas of the world today.

As I sit on the porch and look at a 100 year old picture of one of my grandfathers, I am happy to know where he is buried and that he lived.


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