Saturday, November 16, 2013

Writing for posterity - the good, the bad and the boring?

By Lacey Gunter

I have recently started to get into genealogy. has done a major overhaul of their website and tools, making genealogy work dramatically more accessible and interesting.  One nice thing they have added is the ability to post pictures and stories about deceased ancestors. Looking through these pictures and reading stories about my ancestors has helped me to see these were real people who have had an affect on my life and has helped me to feel more connected to them.

Reading through these ancestral stories really highlights the importance of keeping a personal journal for ourselves and our posterity. How will the story of our life get painted if we choose to be silent on the matter. Will your posterity get the messages you are hoping to pass on to them?

What should these messages look like? It seems like a certain subset of the LDS faith (and likely in other Christian faiths) believe only positive, happy, wholly faith affirming stories and messages should be written in journals.  In essence, leaving out our doubts, mistakes, misgivings, failures and painful or embarrassing experiences.  On some levels I  understand this mode of thinking. It's difficult to admit and reveal one's imperfections. However, I find this idea short-sighted and superficial.  

The 'everything turned out just like it was supposed to' stories are nice to hear once in a while, but I find myself less moved or inspired by them. I find myself much more moved by the stories of relatives facing an awful or difficult situation, expressing their true feelings of hurt, doubt or fear, but hearing they eventually soldiered through somehow and found a way to cling to or come back to their sometimes wavering faith.  These stories make the person seem so much more real and relatable and help me to develop an appreciation and love for the kind of person they were.

But what about the dull, the mundane and the every day?  Let's face it, life isn't always exciting or romantic. It involves a lot of typical day to day repetition. This is where I struggle in my journal keeping. How do you keep your motivation and drive up when most things seem to feel the same as yesterday? I don't really know the answer to this, but I would love to hear from any of you who have figured it out.

However you do it, I encourage you to actually do it! Don't be silent in this one part of your life. Who needs the messages of you heart more than your posterity? Today is as good as any day to start.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for posting this today. I teach gospel doctrine in my ward, and tomorrow's lesson is about temple and family history work. I have always struggled with why family stories are important. It's nice to see that other people have a testimony so I can lean a little while I'm still developing mine. :)



Related Posts with Thumbnails