Last night we watched a new television program that takes people on a journey into their ancestry. The first program was with Martin Sheen. It was fascinating. One thing I want to share here was that on both his Irish & his Spanish sides, that is on both his mother's & his father's sides, he had political activists involved in the 1st Irish revolution & the Spanish uprising against fascism. Martin has been impelled to be involved in activism himself.
This morning I was musing about a thought that maybe part of our lives is influenced by a stream of family imperatives, carried on via DNA or some sort of cellular memory. I only know a little about my ancestry, but it rather made me want to know more.
What do I know. My father's sister was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, tracing our family on her mother's side back to 1730 on these shores. To move to the new world in 1730, he must have been quite a pioneer spirit. My father told me that his grandmother was a Free Methodist preacher in a country church, which was of course in a day when women couldn't do that. My great-grandmother on my mother's side was a widow & turned her house into a boarding house to take care of her children & survive, a sort of entrepreneur in her day. My mother's father moved to Pennsylvania from Tennessee to seek his fortune & become an architect, & he succeeded in that. My father was an optimist, telling me, "you can do anything you put your mind to." My mother was a successful businesswoman. My mother's sister was very creative & appreciative of things creative. On the negative side, my mother's father killed himself with a gun. My father said of my mother, "she's never so happy as when something's wrong," acknowledging her draw to the negative. My father never made his dreams come true, often saying, "when my ship comes in." My aunt never focused her creativity. etc, etc. etc.
So I am a mix of ancestry & experience, as are we all. Maybe what we're to do is accentuate the positive & eliminate the negative, as the song says. That is, as I become aware of leanings in me, I should lift up those that lead to good places & resist those that don't. I see in myself a pioneer spirit in so much of what I have done. I see in myself a strong spiritual calling, I see in myself refusing to be held back because I'm a woman. I see in myself a positive attitude, creativity, survival skills, etc. Those echoes of my ancestors. I need to encourage. I also hear echoes of the negative aspects of those who were my ancestors, which I must minimize & try to eliminate.
Just a thought, what if we are the chance of our family lines to get it right so to speak? What if we are supposed to be the one to end the negative, dark strains in our cells & to send forth to the future the positive strains? Or what if we are only supposed to do that for our particular life because we cannot totally change our cellular memory that is passed on, we can only add to it by what we have become by the time we have children? And then there are the environmental things we do by our modeling & choices that affect our children who internalize some of that to add to their cellular memory.
Such a web we weave & live out & pass on.
Help me Lord to live as You would have me live. Awaken me to see patterns that You would have me reinforce and those that You would ask me to eliminate, whether they come from echoes of the past or from my own choices. Give me the courage and the wisdom to do as You would have me do.