I have been quiet. It happens when I don’t know quite what to say. I don’t want to just add to the vast plethora of information and feelings that we are all trying to discern and sift through. So, I haven’t wanted to write.
But today, I was walking past the photographs we have in our living room of our grandparents. It hit me that they all went through the Spanish Flu Pandemic of 1918-1919 and also reeling with the end of WWI. I don’t know the details of what happened to each of them during this time, as they never talked of it. And I never asked, being wrapped up in the self-focus of youth. I wish I could talk to them now about it.
I cannot tell you how this has heartened me. The same God who strengthened them will strengthen us. It will be hard, it is hard, but we will make it through this time eventually. Strength from the past. Hope for the future. Trust in our God.
My maternal grandparents, engaged in the mid 1920’s
My husband’s maternal grandparents, married in the mid 1920’s.
My paternal grandmother, about 5 years old in 1919.
I miss hearing the stories. The stories of when our parents and grandparents were young. How they worked hard on the farm, had to go to school through waist high snow drifts, how they cheered for the football team, how they met and fell in love, their hopes and dreams.
I have been working on recording our family histories and memories, and I realize how egocentric I was as a younger person. I could have heard hundreds of wonderful stories that would have made the people I love come to life in a whole new way in my mind. But I missed so many of them by not asking. The ones I do know and heard I treasure like little nuggets of gold.
So I am trying better now. To listen, to ask, to actually see the person I am talking to. To imagine their life through their eyes. And it has been wonderful.
Monasterboice, established 5th century, County Louth, Ireland
History is a story. A story of where we’ve been, lessons we’ve learned, both good and bad. History forgotten is time wasted. It sets people up for repeating mistakes over and over.
One of the best things about Ireland is the respect shown for the past. They don’t tear down the past, simply because it might be empty, falling apart, or what is considered to be culturally irrelevant by some. The celtic crosses, the monasteries, the abandoned cottages. They remain as a testament to what was, what was learned, where they have been. And gives an amazing sense of hope for the future. That the things of God remain, that no matter what man might say, God is alive and well in 2020 and forever.