09 December 2014

The Gift Of Writing Your Personal History

A few weeks ago I was inspired to pull out my paternal grandmother's life history and began to read it with great interest. I have read it several times before but this time I can relate to it in a whole new way. I understand more clearly the reality of adulthood and can relate so much more to her life, work, joys and challenges.

I am so grateful that she wrote down her life story for us. I miss her a lot. She was one of the great examples and counselors of my life. How many times over the past 19 years have I wished I could have another talk with her. I have so many questions I would ask her at this age that I think she would have great wisdom in answering. When I think of the much deeper levels of conversation I could have with her now, I wish I'd been a bit of a deeper thinker when she was alive.

I appreciate so much more who she was, her talents, her courage, her fortitude and grit. She was a farmer's daughter and a farmer's wife. That had to be a challenging and busy life along with working outside the home often and caring for family and friends and serving in our church.

I am so happy to be able to go back and remember who she was and use her as a measuring stick to how I am doing. Could I be more grateful for all my blessings? Do I complain too much? Am I serving others enough? Am I taking care of myself as I should? Am I doing creative things that I enjoy. I see answers to all these questions in her example.

It was my grandmother that gave me my first journal at age eight and I have been a pretty faithful journal keeper since that age. I have many volumes of filled journals, particularly from the past ten to fifteen years. I have been thinking frequently over the past year that it is time for me to start working on writing my life story.

As I remember stories that I share with my husband or daughter that are meaningful to me, I am reminded that these things that come to mind should be written down in my history. For example earlier this week I was telling The Bug about when I played Red Riding Hood in a kindergarten play.

She asked who played the Big Bad Wolf. I have no idea, but I do know that the beautiful red wool hooded cape my mother so kindly sewed me is still at her house somewhere. I need to get that and preserve it. I need to write those things down. I wish I remembered who played the Big Bad Wolf.

I am getting excited to start that project. Maybe it will be part of my new year goals. I am also going back reading the history of my paternal grandfather's family since coming to America in the 1600s. Although I've read much of it, I had forgotten many details and some just weren't as meaningful to me in the past as they are now such as my ancestors who fought in the revolutionary war and left their extended families and migrated west.

It's amazing to see traits I have and that are important to me reflected in our family generations ago. It gives me a sense of connection and really tells me that there are virtues my family has long embraced that are just as important to me today as they were to my great-grandfather who was an Old West sheriff and my long-ago ancestor who fought with George Washington in the Revolutionary War.

As you think about gifts you can pass on to your family and generations to follow, consider writing your personal history. It is a priceless gift that no one can give but you. I could not be more grateful to have the treasure of my grandmother's personal history which she gave me as a young girl.

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