We take our life stories and memories for granted, thinking they will always be in the back of our mind to be instantly brought to the forefront whenever we seek to remember.
While I understand the value of searching for one’s ancestors, I’ve always felt it just as important to keep a personal history. For what happens today is tomorrow’s memory, and next year’s history. I have watched for years as members of my family have spent hours that turn into weeks and years searching for particular persons in our ancestry. I have witnessed their great satisfaction after they discover a census record, or marriage certificate, or something that has that information that they are searching for! It brings with it such a great feeling as if they have found a lost treasure. But it is mostly a mystery as to what kind of lives those ancestors lived, except for a few that kept a journal, or a small biography written by another who knew them.
It is not just the birth and death dates of an individual that endears that person to our hearts, it is even better when we know of their life through the stories they have left us. The stories that get told when families get together and reminisce about “remember when…?” Those are the stories that need to be written down, passed on from generation to generation. The good times, the hard times, lessons learned, stories of accomplishment, gratitude, hope, and of spiritual strength.
Are you writing your story? If you don’t, who will? You may ask, “How do I write the stories of my life?” There are many ways and you need to choose a method that seems right for you. Personally, I have found in my own life, that the day to day occurrences sometimes become part of a bigger story. But in the beginning, I had no idea of what was happening.
Let me give you an example. Before our move to Washington State, my husband was stationed at Offutt AFB, NE. We knew that we were going to receive a new assignment, and he had the opportunity to request his 3 top choices in locations of Air Force Bases. His first request fell through and we anticipated where and when the next assignment would come. The assignment to Fairchild AFB did come, but we would not move for several months. Why the delay? In time, we came to understand that it was divine providence that kept us in Omaha. Gayle’s mother passed on beyond the veil. He was able to be with his family by her side before she left this mortal existence. We were able to be with extended family and pay our respects at her funeral in Lincoln Nebraska. And then the orders came, we moved to Washington, and began a new chapter of our lives.
Sometimes I feel that what happens in my day is of no significance whatsoever, and it certainly doesn’t warrant writing anything down. Then I think of my ancestors, and wonder what did they do in their “ordinary ” day? What I WISH I knew about them, I can WRITE about myself, so that those who come after me will know me and what kind of person I was. And even if my days seem ordinary, I can write the things I “feel.” What is in my heart today…
When we moved, something did not get unpacked for 25 years. Just a few weeks ago, we unpacked a box of film that had never been processed. We took it to Camera Corral in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho and they carefully processed the old film. 25 years later, we discovered these pictures that were taken at Gayle’s mother’s funeral before we moved. What a treasure these pictures are to us. Before now, we have never seen these pictures.
In the beginning of this post, I said I felt it is important to keep a personal history. This post is a pep talk to me and an invitation to you. Life gets so busy that days go by before I think about writing about what has been happening in my life. I can do better. I WILL do better. Let’s do it together.