After the birth of Methuselah, Enoch lived in close fellowship with God for another 300 years, and he had other sons and daughters. Genesis 5:22 (NLT)
As a lover of history, I’ve always been interested in genealogy. I think my love of acting has something to do with it, as well. When I learned how to do character studies of those I portrayed on stage, I naturally migrated to doing an on-going character study of myself. “Who am I, and how did I get here?” are natural questions. There are a lot of clues to be found in family history.
I’ve traced the branches of my family tree back a relatively long way. As I pour over the names and dates there is so much that I don’t know. There’s just a name and maybe a birth date or death date. As I get nearer to the present generations, there are names that conjure up scraps of knowledge handed down through the family. I have pictures of my great-grandfather, Daniel Bloem. The one thing the jumps to mind when I see his picture is that he had a drinking problem. There’s a great uncle, James Hendrickson. I know he was a Methodist circuit preacher in Illinois. Family legend holds that he was a good man and had a huge influence on my grandfather. That’s about all I’ve got.
Scraps. Tidbits. Legacy. The vital questions aren’t just “Who am I?” and “How did I get here?” but also “How will I be remembered?” and “What impact will I have on those around me?” What is the bullet point that future generations will remember and repeat about me when they see my name or my picture…
- He had a temper. Everyone was afraid of him.
- She was really mean. Nobody in the family liked her.
- He was known to be the laziest of that generation. He went bankrupt a couple of times.
- She was married six times.
- He built a successful business, but his children all hated him.
- She got married, but her first child was born six months later. Do the math.
As we read through the long list of Adam’s descendants, we are given little information. We have names, life spans and the name of the first born son. Then we get to Enoch and this tidbit of information is passed down to us: “he lived in close fellowship with God.” That’s not a bad legacy considering we’re still talking about it many millennia later.
Each day our words, actions, and relationships are etching the legacy we will leave. What’s the one thing you think people will remember about you? What’s the one thing you want people to remember about you? What will make the difference?
- The Tree: Family Stories and Cultural Legacy (theredcedar.wordpress.com)
- family tree (rothklee.wordpress.com)
- My Family Tree (fanniesyouraunt.wordpress.com)
- Gift Idea #13 – A Family Tree (tellingfamilytales.com)
- Helping Couples in Difficult Situations: Save the Family Tree | IPS Online Education (marriagebuildingcalifornia.com)