If you watched yesterday’s video, you know that I’ve experienced a lot of loss in the last few weeks. Two family members. A boyfriend’s grandmother who was basically a family member. All that grief can really get a girl down.
A little bit of sunshine I found in all the clouds of this loss though came from my “Aunt” Gloria as we fellowshipped together as a family Saturday afternoon after burying my “Aunt” Barbara. (I use quotes here because they are really cousins but have always functioned as and been referred to as “aunts.” Big country families are like that.) Gloria started reminiscing about our family history and how we all came to be together now and who we are today because of events set in motion 100 years ago! My great grandmother, Wrennie, married Clarence Davis in 1917. He was 12 years her senior, and as we were discussing this weekend, possibly never learned to read. But he and my MaMa Davis had 5 children–Raymond, Walter, Johnny, Mattie, and Virginia–who then in turned married and had their own children whose children had children and even some of those children now have children making them the youngest generation of cousins!
She recounted how that first generation of children had varying levels of education (e.g. my Uncle Walter with possibly a 7th grade education or my Uncle Johnny who no one could remember much formal education for), but they were some of the smartest people to talk to. They may have been farmers or factory workers, but they had profound critical thinking skills and a curiosity for understanding the world around them.
So then that 2nd generation had even more education and life and world experience. They married spouses and traveled out farther into the world than the mountain on which their parents had been born and raised. And the 3rd generation has been educated even further and explored even more–living, working, and studying in California, Florida, North Carolina, and other parts of Virginia. And the 4th generation–my sweet young cousins–have an even greater potential for exploration, education, and life experiences.
Each generation has built itself upon the previous–on the hard work, faith, and love that flows through my family’s veins. And without even one generation, none of us would have the blessings that we have now.
As my mother put it, “We come from good stock.”
This is an incredibly reassuring thought to be reminded of during times of loss, but it made me realize it’s also something I could benefit from outside of moments of sadness. I am incredibly lucky to have come from this family. And I’m so thankful for all the generations of hard work that afforded me the opportunities that I have today. (NOTE: This is also just one quarter of my family tree. I have “good stock” on my many sides and they have all contributed to my opportunities).
It’s easy at times to get caught up in the moment and wallow in the struggles of the day. (I am 100% guilty of this!) But when you put your life into perspective of what has come before and all who might come after, you realize how insignificant many of those struggles can seem in the grand scheme. This gives me hope. If generations of women in my family have lived and worked and loved and are now remembered with such fondness, I find reassurance that I can do the same.
So what “stock” do you come from? Do you think about your family history often or how it affects who and where you are today? Let me know down in the comments!