How long has it been since you considered the richness of your heritage? Her-it-age : Noun
- Property that is or may be inherited, an inheritance.
- Something transmitted or acquired from a predecessor: Legacy, inheritance, tradition
- Something possessed as a result of one’s natural situation or birth: birthright
This past week, I gathered with my parents and Mom’s family in celebration of birthdays, Mine, and my aunt I share the 20th of April with, as well as my daughter’s, my dad’s, my sister’s, Another aunts, and 3 of my cousins. (April is a big month for us!)
If truth be told, this is actually a gathering that my mom and her siblings and their spouses started 12 years ago. Gradually, nieces and nephews have joined them- this year being the largest gathering of the extended Thiessen family in several years even though we weren’t all there.
As I watched the interaction of the generations, I pondered the beauty that had become ordinary to me.
There was the sharing of memories and pictures of the love story of the couple who started this family- my grandparents who left this legacy. And there were pictures of the generation before them that we sorted through waiting for the ‘siblings’ to decipher who it was a picture of so we could write names on the back. It was sad to me that I can’t tell you the names of my great grandparents. I could look it up, but even though they are part of my story- they are not part of my life.
The original ‘siblings’ of two sisters and a brother were still grieving the elder sister who died 5 years ago, her husband shortly after. Even as adults, my 3 cousins suddenly felt as ‘orphans’ and in many ways isolated. They were the first of my generation to reach out to their mom’s siblings and asked to crash this special gathering. We were remembering with cousins the few but cherished times growing up playing games and celebrating family times of long ago.
One cousin drove 8 hours one way to get to spend only 24 hours with the family. We stayed up into the wee hours of the morning to catch up on all the stories of life- feeling the effects of weariness but not being able to stop the dialog.
We laughed as the uncle’s were incredibly ornery as we spent hours scheming, screaming, and cajoling in a long term game of Texican Train dominos.
I sat in awe as I watched faces change from great joy to deep concern. From contrite honesty to silly grins.
From gut wrenching laughter to free flowing tears.
We shared wonderful conversations over breakfast and dinner. Out bursts of laughter Quiet shared moments with tears Conversations that lasted long into the night. Devotions shared each morning – first morning led by my mom, the next day by my uncle, then by my mom’s younger sister.
We heard stories of God’s work in their lives, Scriptures that have spoken through the years Songs that have touch the heart And had the opportunity to blend our voices together as we sang some of them.
I listened as the older generation asked us to pray that they ‘age well.” More specifically that they “end well”. Hearts sharing our concerns and a commitment to pray for each other through the year.
As I watched and listened, I thanked the Lord for the heritage I had been given by being born into this family. It is a legacy of faithfulness, of hard work, of gratitude, of family. I may not be remembered by my grand-children’s children but just as my great grand-parents began a legacy that I felt strongly this week, I choose to leave a legacy of HOPE for those special people to come behind me!
What legacy are you leaving for those following your footsteps? Now is the time to intentionally design hope for the heritage you want to leave. We can work on that together!