I struggled with what to share about mis abuelos today. I lifetime of stories to share and have shared (they have their own category: abuelos and I talk about them regularly). I wanted to write a new story or memory. I have several posts started with photos scanned and yesterday I wrested a bit with God. I would have never thought in my life that Heavenly Father would care what I say on little space I've created, but more and more I find impressions and feelings filling my heart and my mind.
God wanted me to share something today I have already shared here and I fought against it. You might be chuckling thinking to yourself, "It's never good to fight against God." I know that and yet I do, more than I realize or care to admit.
6 years ago I wrote a post titled "Genealogy (our legacy)", you can read it here. My grandmother had asked if I would come take photos of her genealogy closet/room, of course I was thrilled to come and share in the legacy that she and Guelito have created for our family. A lot has happened in those 6 years, my Guelito's body slowly deteriorated and he died. My grandparent's moved from this home into a house next door to us. Recently I have watched my Guelita's body deteriorate, Alzheimer's is slowly taking her beautiful mind, and we are preparing ourselves for the time when she will finally get her hearts wish and be reunited with Guelito.
She is my last living grandparent and the children's only living great-grandparent.
In my original post the number of family names that she had researched and were in the files was 20,000. When I asked my dad this morning where that number stood today he said it was in the 25,000 range. What started out in a simple notebook with a few names, grew to sheets and books and digital files. Microfilm was scoured for missing people and their pertinent dates. My parents along with other siblings have spend hours and hours imputing the records into the computer for all of us as their descendants to help in the temple work and learn about those people who came before us and the sacrifices they made.
Today as I look at these old photos of my grandparents, memories of the furniture and that time in my life comes flooding back. I can hear their voices as they talk about a name and who's child it is. There might be a loving argument about the date or the person or who knows... their playful banter is something I didn't realize I missed hearing. They loved each other so much, they supported one another in everything. Of course there is something delicious cooking in the kitchen and the smell is wafting through the house.
What touches me even more than these powerful memories is that they started. The task must have been overwhelming. My Guelita was the first and only person in her family to join The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I don't know if her family supported her in this desire to find her ancestors, but that didn't stop her. She would spend hours each week at the Geneology library looking for, writing about, completing lines and linking this vast network of people that make up our family tree.
As I glimpse my son standing next to my father leaning over the computer as they add names in preparation to have their temple cards prepared, I know that mis Abuelos legacy is being passed on. As I watch my children enter into the House of the Lord, carrying the names of people who have lived hundreds of years ago, who had no chance of hearing the gospel of Jesus Christ, I shed tears of gratitude for the diligence and sacrifice taught by two simple, but extraordinary people.
So I have to ask myself today, what can I do? What is my heart telling me? I have never felt the pull to research names and the few times I have tried have ended quite poorly and I have often felt that I was some how failing. But I as write and feel the gentle whisperings of the Holy Spirit I have a greater realization that my spiritual gifts are different. I will help and support in any way possible, but God has different things He wants me to do here on earth. One of those being the keeper and teller (is that a word) of the stories. Sharing the stories brings an excitement that is hard to explain in words.
Perhaps today God wants all of us to learn from mis Abuelos:
- Our paths are all different. We all have strengths. Each of our stories are going to be different and they are suppose to be unique. That is what gives the world a rich tapestry filled with colors, textures and forms. Celebrate those differences, embrace them.
- Just start. The task might be enormous. The thought of even starting might be overwhelming, but start anyway. As I look back on what I have accomplished, one layout, one post, one story is quickly becoming a treasure trove. Just start.
- It takes work. Nothing of value is going to just fall into our laps (if it does hooray, but that has not the typical way). Working and working hard, sacrificing brings about untold blessings. I can still hear my father telling us as children, "hard work never killed anyone." At the time I certainly didn't believe him, but today I am so thankful to be able to work hard.
- Listen to God. This is probably more for me than anyone else because I am so hard headed and stubborn, but listen. Spend time each day reflecting. Earlier this year I walked into my Guelita's room to find her reading her scriptures (you can see the photo here), I remember the same scene happening in my Grandmother's home, my parents home and the home of my in-laws. All around me people are communing with God and tears roll down my face as I express gratitude to a mercifully Father in Heaven for this beautiful blessing.
"Our Heavenly Father sees our real potential. He knows things about us that we do not know ourselves. He prompts us during our lifetime to fulfill the measure of our creation, to live a good life, and to return to His presence." (President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, "Of Regrets and Resolutions", November 2012 Ensign)
Today is a new day and with my knowledge of God's love for me, for us, we can accomplish anything.
As I mentioned yesterday (and every other day), each day this week of family history I am giving away some smaller journaling prizes. Each prize consists of a journal, stamps and washi tape... a little something to help you get started writing your own personal history. To enter each day please leave a comment about the post below. You could enter every day. All winners will be announced Monday January 26, 2015.
Don't forget to enter the RootsTech 3-day pass giveaway.
Also if you are interesting in starting your own family history but don't know how to start, this page might help.