Saturday, August 31, 2013


In a tree analogy, imperfect as the simile is, I am part of our living “family tree.” At this point in time I am the "trunk."

I came from our main “trunk” and I started out as a tiny bud that grew into a little twig. Then I developed into a branch. Years went by and I too became a trunk with my own own branches which, in turn, are sprouting new buds and little twigs. Now my branches are becoming trunks and inevitably I will become part of the root system. While I'm still a trunk, I must think seriously about fulfilling my trunk destiny.
Given time, I anticipate that an entire human forest will grow up around our family tree. I don't want to be lost in that forest. I have lived. I matter, as does every unique individual in our heritage. After I leave Planet Earth, future members of our family might want to know vital facets of their heritage and come across my name. Since I am presently a trunk and closer to the roots than they will be, it's up to me whether I will have made it easier or more difficult for them to find out who they are in relation to our root system? 

That doesn't necessarily mean that I have to spend time on complicated genealogy charts. However, I feel accountable to God who gave me life to let my posterity know in some user-friendly way who I am, what the times were like when I lived, my faith, and what I believed to be the purpose of my life. My children and grandchildren should realize that I was not always a mom, not always a grandma. I had and still have hopes, dreams, ideals, ideas, problems, and struggles like they have. I would like them to know the real me.
Families differ in their regard for the past. I had wonderful, caring parents and grandparents, but they were not the kind who poured into me stories of our heritage. As immigrants from Europe, they were understandably focused on making a living in the land of their adoption. Possibly they wanted to forget the hardships and misfortunes of their past. Nevertheless, looking back I do feel truncated, cut short in knowledge of my ancestry.

 Later in life I had to dig deep into the hard ground of the root system to find the gold that was surely there, as it is in every life, every family. Like an eager detective, I followed slim clues. I was amazed, surprised, delighted, and excited with every small gem of the past that I discovered. Sad to say, no matter how deep I dug, I was never able to recover some parts of our precious heritage which only my forebears knew. These are lost to our posterity.

That loss has spurred me on to find and appreciate the treasure of the past and record it in some way for our legacy. In writing my autobiography, I was disappointed that my parents and grandparents left no letters, diaries, journals, or records about themselves or their roots. They passed on without passing on anything tangible of our heritage to me as an only child. They left without leaving written footprints for me to follow. I have only my personal, imperfect memories of them, some of which may be colored by my perceptions more than reality. They could have spoken for themselves by leaving some record of their lives—but they didn’t. 

It was not all their fault, however. When I was young, it didn’t even occur to me to ask about our ancestry or my grandparents’ earlier experiences. I didn’t really care at the time; but I certainly did later. How I regret my youthful thoughtlessness! Children rarely care about their roots because they are absorbed with their present lives and their more exciting futures stretching out seemingly open-ended. 

Be that as it may, it is my opportunity to prepare for the time when they will care. It is up to me to fulfill my trunk destiny and pass on the essence of myself, what I know of our priceless past, and how important our Christian faith has been to our heritage. I am the trunk between my great-grandchildren and my great-grandparents, the earliest generation I have been able to trace. A seven generation span. What an awesome responsibility!

In the summit season of my life I am satisfied that I have done my best to pass on our heritage and my own faith journey. By writing for my posterity, I am saying, “God gave me life. I have lived fully through its seasons. I want you to know me. I want to tell you how I felt about God's purpose for my life.” 

I believe God holds me to a stewardship of the experiences He brought me through and of what He taught me. I feel a mandate to pass on those things; it is both my opportunity and wonderful privilege. 

 “Let this be recorded for the generation yet unborn, a people yet to be created [so that they] may praise the Lord” (Psalm 102:18).


I am part of what has been and what is yet to be.
Sandwiched in between is me:
I am the trunk of the family tree.

I have roots and also branches.
Generations from antiquity pass through me.
They have determined what I have become.
They are my history which has made me what I am.

New branches spring from me; they are my posterity.
I’ve had some choice in assisting and inclining them
toward the best of what they might become.
Yet they are still free to grow and change
within the range of their heredity and opportunity
and God’s special plan arranged from Eternity.

I pray for me—the trunk between—that I might be
a planting strong against the inevitable storms
yet bending with the wind if need be
passing on the best from roots unseen
but giving branches room to stretch and reach
upward to new heights
because I faithfully fulfilled
with the help of God
in my family tree
my trunk destiny.

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