I love holding her hand. At ninety-four years old, my grandmother’s hand is a fragile hand. A strong hand. A hand that is weathered and worn with the triumphs and tragedies of life. Though the skin on her hand is now thin, her long, slender fingers remain refined in their beauty, her nails painted the color of a delicate summer peach.
I love holding her hand because I find myself in her grasp. I find pieces of my history in her stories. I find a strength, a foundation for today, knowing I am part of something much larger than myself. I feel like a small piece of a greater story, a small thread in a tapestry of life.
I love hearing the stories of her past. I love to close my eyes and lose myself in the descriptions of her childhood growing up on a farm in Plant City, Florida during the Great Depression. I can picture her mother, a simple woman, who spent each morning at the big farm table in the kitchen with her Bible, reading and praying over her family. I feel like I knew her father, though I only knew him from the old worn-out pictures of him sitting with a pipe in his mouth, rocking on the front porch in the evening. So many stories handed down. Each story fills in a piece of the puzzle – my puzzle.
It has been said that you can’t know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been. You cannot cultivate a clear vision, grow solid in your own skin without being anchored to something greater. Stronger.
In the age of technology, families have become more isolated and insular than ever before. We have forgotten how to sit around the table and tell our children the stories of our lives, our history, our legacy. In the absence of time, we’ve traded the important for the immediate.
Strong foundations are never built in a bubble.
Children today know little of their family. Often when I ask about their families, they cannot find much to share. Grandparents are simply older people who love them and bring them presents. They love them, they feel kindly toward them, but they know little to nothing about them.
The children of Israel understood the importance of telling their stories. Oral traditions were necessary. They passed their family story down from generation to generation so that everyone would have a distinct connection with their history. They would not forget what God had done. They were not simply individuals in a bubble. Each individual was a small part of a much greater whole. They belonged to something powerful, meaningful. Who they were as individuals was directly born out of who they were as a family, a community, a nation.
Psalm 78:4 states, We will not hide them from their descendants; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done.
Anchoring provides the roots for us to grow strong. There is a direct link between our family identity, our spiritual identity and our individual identity. Strong identities sprout and grow from a plant that has a strong root system. Share your stories. Celebrate your family’s rituals. Let your children know their history.
Even If Our Family History Wasn’t Ideal, Anchoring Can Give Us the Keys to Our Freedom
No one comes from a perfect family. Families have checkered pasts. Broken pieces. Hidden Secrets. Ignoring or running from our family merely keeps us chained to the pain. We can pretend it’s not there, but it is — right underneath the surface.
Every family is a blend of good and bad. Too many people try to remedy a bad childhood by cutting themselves off from it. When we do this, we cut ourselves off from the source of our healing as well.
It is when we go back to the wound, acknowledge it, confront it and heal from it that we are freed and empowered to create a dynamic vision for ourselves and our lives. We are not destined to repeat the sins of our fathers. We can dig deep and unearth the scars. We can apply the healing salve that will remove the sting from our wounds. We can forgive. We can unhook from the past and find freedom to embrace the totality of our heritage. We can carve a fresh understanding of who we are and who we want to be. We can create a new legacy.
Anchoring Gives Us A Direct Connection With Our Future
The tapestry of my family began long ago. I come from a long line of strong, dedicated, women of faith. My identity was born from that heritage and has been a natural extension of what came before me. I found my passion, my calling somewhere in the fabric and colors that had been woven together so beautifully. My prayer is that I hand future generations a tapestry that represents the individual resilience and collective legacy that inspires them as they weave their stories.
Many find their calling has a direct connection with their family. Even if we came from a less than ideal family, we can find our calling and purpose on our healing journey, in helping others in similar situations. Our healing creates opportunities to walk with others as they heal.
The healing we receive isn’t complete until we give it out to others.
You are inextricable linked to your family. You determine the legacy you want to write for yourself and hand to your children. You can begin today asking to hear the stories of your life. You can heal from old wounds. Your life will become richer and freer, your vision stronger as a result.
Hold fast to what was good. Heal from what was bad. Let the stories strengthen us. Let the pain teach us.
Question: Are you leaving a legacy that will help anchor your children to their history? Are you helping them lay a strong foundation upon which they can build a life of abundance? Share your answers with me on Facebook or Twitter.