This is an encore blog post…just ‘cause I feel like it...and it is spring!
And because CZECHING MY ROOTS is the half-price discount book-of-the-month for MAY which you may order through my e-mail address on the header. Instead of $17.95, it is discounted to $9 plus $3 S/H!
This excerpt is from the Introduction to my published autobiography, CZECHING MY ROOTS. When each new springtime rolls around, I thank God for so generously blessing me with my multi-generational life:
“Time passes so quickly. The stages of life focus in and fade out as the spotlight shines on changing dramas and new characters. How enriching are all our experiences, both difficult and joyful, if we learn to savor each moment as we live it!”
The concluding poem, STAGE OF GENERATIONS, I wrote at the end of this post sums it all up….
What’s in The Trunk?
My husband and I were the trunk of our family tree and our four sons, Richard, Clifford, Gary and Jeff, are the branches. Our grandchildren and the children they will have and the generations to come are the spreading branches.
Suddenly, so it seems, I find myself “the matriarch” in chronological age and the only remaining part of the trunk of my family tree.
Some of our branches are offspring from our own biological trunk—authentic Chinese Czechers—our sons and some of our grandchildren. But we have also enthusiastically welcomed the grafting of some new branches into our tree by extended family relationships—marriage, blended families and adoption. I embrace grafted branches just as warmly as branches sprouting from our original trunk. We treasure them equally because they were lovingly chosen. They enrich our family tree and bear wonderful varieties of fruit that our original tree could not have produced.
Our trunk is unique because it is made up of two people from two geographically and culturally separate root systems. My husband, Ted, was from the continent of Asia, from the ancient historic land of China. My heritage is from the continent of Europe, from what is now The Czech Republic. We met and married on still another continent, North America, to which my forefathers came to seek a better life.
Soon we who are part of the present main trunk will be the roots of those who come after us. Some of our branches have already become trunks in their own right and their young, extended branches before long will mature into trunks too. An entire human forest will spring up around our main trunk!
Although my generation calls itself the main trunk at present, we are the offspring and descendants of the branch systems of the past generation, in fact, of all generations that have gone before. I believe all of us are here in the plan of God and in His foreordained continuity stream of life, and our posterity will be part of God’s unfolding plan.
The Christian heritage passed to my husband and me from each of our grandparents, who spoke different languages and grew up far apart on this planet, was no coincidence. Ted and I believed it was appointed by God. We, in turn, have the joy and obligation and privilege to pass this treasure on to our children and to our children’s children as a Christian legacy throughout what remains of human history.
I have roots and also branches.
I am part of what has been
and what is yet to be.
In between is me:
the trunk of the family tree.
Through me pass
generations from antiquity
who have determined
what I have become.
They are my history.
They have molded me.
From me new branches spring.
They are my posterity.
Some choice I have
to assist and incline them
toward the best
of what they might become.
Still, they are free
to grow and change
within the range
of their heredity and opportunity
and God’s special plan
arranged from Eternity.
For me, the trunk between,
I pray that I might be
a planting strong against
the inevitable storms
yet bending with the wind
passing on the best
from roots unseen
but giving branches room
to stretch and reach
upward to new heights
because I fulfilled
with the help of God
my trunk destiny.
Unfortunately, neither my husband nor I could trace our roots back very far. Both of us regret that we didn't ask our parents and grandparents more questions about their early lives and what they remembered of their roots. It is pointless to feel guilty—children rarely care about their roots when they see their more exciting futures stretching out seemingly open-end ahead of them. It rarely seems to matter to youth where they came from. They are usually concerned only with where they are going after school tomorrow.
In your youth, you view daily events up close, as through a microscope. Usually it takes the seasoning of life, the more mature years, before you think about and value your roots. Eventually you begin to see your life in a broader panorama, on a wider screen than you did in your youth. You can see further when you’ve climbed some of the higher hills of life and experienced the valleys between. You have the advantage of looking back over your shoulder to see where you've come from and forward to where you are going.
I embarked upon this creative and nostalgic adventure of writing my story in order to leave a heritage. God handed me the baton in life’s race only for my lifetime. Now I am responsible to pass it on to the next generation.
The words of a song by Jon Mohr express it well for me:
“Surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses,
Let us run the race, not only for the prize;
But, as those who’ve gone before us,
Let us leave for those behind us
The heritage of faithfulness passed on through godly lives.
Oh, may all who come behind us find us faithful.
May the fire of our devotion light their way.
May the footprints that we leave lead them to believe,
And the lives we live inspire them to obey.
Oh, may all who come behind us find us faithful.”
Our descendants may not fully appreciate this historical saga now, just as we would not have valued it when we were younger. But it will be available when they, too, reach the summit of some of life’s hills and long to search for and find the gold of the past.
Time passes so quickly. The stages of life focus in and fade out as the spotlight shines on changing dramas and new characters. How enriching are all our experiences, both difficult and joyful, if we learn to savor each moment as we live it!
STAGE OF GENERATIONS
I've greeted many mornings like this one:
fresh, spring mornings, year after year.
They may appear the same
because nature’s garments never go out of style
but I am not the same as I was
in those bygone springtimes.
As a child
I walked on tiptoe, wide-eyed in wonder
as if I were the first to discover nature.
Everything was new to me
although ancient as time and creation.
In my youth
nature seemed to be a setting for the private stage
on which my emotions played the leading parts.
I could hardly wait to turn another page
in the thrilling script of my life.
Then, at summer’s noonday,
I saw spring approach again
with hushed and measured steps
taking off her verdant cloak and laying it down
under the sun in my garden
so that my own son*
still bundled in winter wear
could poke at the peeping crocus in the soft soil
and laugh at the chirping robin
with anticipation in his new eyes
to see his pristine world.
Soon, ah, too soon, at prime of life
I watch my grandson* stomping his toddler feet
bouncing innocently in my tulip bed
bubbling with unsullied delight
over his chaste, new world.
And now, in life's autumn time,
I still welcome spring’s approach
with open arms and eager heart.
Generations focus in, fade out—
and what of me?
I see at last life’s harmony
in perfect panorama:
the CREATED, the CREATION, the CREATOR—
the world a splendid stage
the changing season-scenes
both neophyte players and the pros
some hiding behind gilded masks
others garbed in tattered costumes
or flaunting sequined velvet.
The stages of life may alternate
between dim, shadowy scenery
and klieg-lighted brilliance.
But over all
producing and directing
the ever-cycling dramas of my life
IS MY GOD!
* I’m blessed by God that I’ve experienced these words in plural and gender inclusive and multigenerational = children, grandchildren, and now I’m super-abundantly blessed with great-grandchildren!
“The Lord has dealt bountifully with me” (Ps.116:7); “The Lord satisfies your years with good things” (Ps. 103:5; “May you see your children’s children…” (Ps. 128:6).