Our Family Heritage: Leaving a Legacy of Love

I love researching our family’s history. As a matter of fact, I consider myself to be the family historian, though my brother-in-law is right up there with me on my husband’s Carter side. I’ve learned a lot of things while researching my relatives.

For example, I thought that my ethnicity was limited to Canadian French and Sicilian Italian. However, the further back I go in time, the more I am able to see that some lines have come from other countries such as France, Scotland, etc. It is also quite possible that my Sicilian relatives hailed from Middle Eastern or other Mediterranean countries such as Israel or Greece since Sicily was a land of mixed heritage.

According to http://www.spectator.com, the island was quadralingual in the 12th century. There is a stone that was found in a chapel  located in Palermo that verifies this finding with its inscription. The stone states that there are remains of a woman named Anna, who is the mother of a priest named Grisandus. The information can be found in four languages, as inscribed on the stone in Latin, Greek, Arabic and Judaeo-Arabic (a dialect of Arabic with Hebrew letters for Arabic-speaking Jews). I found this bit of information to be incredibly interesting. And to think, I was under the impression that I was just plain old Sicilian!

And then there were the family secrets that were uncovered. I’m sure that some of those were never meant to come out as they brought heartache and shame on the family as a whole. In this day and age, certain secrets would have been tolerated fairly well, if not embraced as a blessing in disguise, but certainly not in its original era. Some families were torn apart and never recovered, as was the case in my mother’s family. It was all so sad, so very sad. The ones who suffered the most were the children. They missed out on the full love of family. Where were the grandparents, aunts, uncles,  and cousins on Thanksgiving and Christmas, baptisms and birthdays?  What an empty life. Yes, the immediate family had each other and they saw some of their relatives while their mother, my grandmother, was alive, but after she died, the children never saw my mother’s family again.

How about you? How are your family relationships? Not just your immediate family but extended family relationships; are they loving or strained at best? When it comes down to it, loving your family is the legacy that we should be leaving our next of kin each and every day of life. And when we cross to the other side of eternity, we want to be sure that we have left a legacy of love behind. Ten years after we are gone, no one is going to remember if we have been a great accountant or an avid golfer, but they will remember if we loved them and impacted their lives in some way. They will remember the words of wisdom that we imparted, the things that we taught them and the experiences that we shared together. If we do it all for the glory of God, loved unconditionally, regardless of how they act, what they say, or how they feel about us, that is a true legacy of love because it is God’s love working through us. That, my friends, is what life, this life of 50, 70, or 90 yrs, is all about.

So the next time you hear the words, ‘genealogy’ or ‘family history’, please don’t think that it’s just about a boring list of names dating back hundreds of years. No, it’s so much more than that. It’s about families and their life stories, and hopefully, their love for each other, that got them through the best and worst of times. And by their example, they left a legacy of love  as an inheritance for future generations.

Till we meet again!