Remember Where You Came From
It is vitally important to remember where we came from. Our personal history is so very important! We all have a history and connection to our past. It is that connection that explains so much of who we are and what we do. Our past has as much to do with making us who we are as our present.
There is a sense of identity connected to our past. How many of you like to research your family tree? Why do you do that? Because you want to know something of your past. You want to know something about your past ancestors. Who were they? What were they like? Do I look like them? Do I act like them? Our ancestry tells an important story about our family history. We want to know who we are by knowing where we came from.
Likewise, there is a real sense of our spiritual history connected to our family tree. How many generations of your family are New Testament Christians? Who was the first? What was life like for them? What hardships did they endure? Were there any preachers? Elders? Were there any women of real spiritual strength who held the family together spiritually?
Continuing, have you ever noticed that in families, the same occupation tends to run through succeeding generations? Not absolutely, but generally. If there are doctors in the family history, there tend to be doctors. If there are lawyers, there tend to be lawyers. Why is that? It is because that is what we were raised knowing and watching. Often, our heroes are our fathers, and we want to be like them, so we follow their footsteps. Again, this is not an absolute, but a general observation.
Remembering where we came from has a lot to do with where we are going. Often, children are raised in dysfunctional homes and they are determined to make their homes the very opposite. Young couples seek counselling because they want their marriage to be different from their parents, whose ended in divorce. They remember where they came from and want their future to be different. By contrast, some children are raised in the most favorable environment, yet decide to walk a different path. Then there are those who are recipients of parents who are diligent in their faith and that faith continues through many generations.
Finally, our history gives us a sense of community. Every year on the third weekend of July, there is a community gathering at Prairie Point cemetery located in Bazette, Texas. Prairie Point is where many in the community of Kerens and Bazette are buried. Most of my extended family are buried there. Bazette is the home place of my Dad. He and my Mom met at Powell, Texas, half-way between Kerens and Corsicana, Texas. For years, without fail, my parents return to the gathering. The people set up their tables for their potluck meals. They raise their awnings to protect from the hot sun. There used to be little booths where the kids could play some game to win some small prize. There is always an ice cream booth for granddads to buy grandchildren all the ice cream cones they want. I seldom go but, as I said, my parents return every year. One year, when I did go, my dad introduced me to the man who performed Mom and Dad’s wedding ceremony. Everybody among the oldtimers still call each other by their first name. There are fewer old timers now than there used to be, but is where my Mom and Dad came from. It is where they will be buried. It is their place. It is part of their identity.
On the other hand, I do not have a place like that. The closest place of my childhood is Denton, Texas. For the past twenty-nine and a half years, it is here. I am who I am because a little bit of all this touches me. It helps defines me. It is my history.
More than any place though, my history is intimately connected to my parents. For good or bad--and I hope mostly good--my identify, my spiritual identity, my occupation, and my sense of community are anchored in them. I cannot separate myself from my history. I do not want to, and neither can you. One caveat, though: do not get stuck in the past. Move forward and do what you can in your generation.
So, never forget where you came from. It has a lot to do with who we are and where we are going.