21 January 2012

“Our lives passed away like as it were unto us a dream” (Jacob 7:26)

Rootstech in 2 weeks! I should be dreaming about that. I am so looking forward to those 3 days of fun and learning. Second thought: I am dreaming about what personal and family history mean to me, sorting out in preparation to learning more. Let me explain. I spent last night combing through a huge pile of “stuff” in my uncle’s pick-up truck. No, not real stuff, not a real truck, not even a live uncle. In the dream I was sorting the accumulated detritus, the debris of a lifetime, not my lifetime, but that of my father's family.

It was a crazy quilt of things from my dad, used lighting fixtures and drapery rods, old posters, notes and illustrations from long-ago lessons given and forgotten. But no, not forgotten, because here they were in the back of the truck. In the stacks of well-used items there were also treasures, sparking memories of the past, things that my cousin said she would like. There were items left over from my grandparents’ life. As I sorted frantically - my uncle was waiting for me to finish - scenes of the past flashed through my mind and heart.

My sons (or variously, my brothers) helped me move mattresses and bed frames to another pile of “things we might want.” The family reunion we seemed to be attending was almost over and my uncle was ready to go home and join his wife. (In real life, this particular aunt has just died and “gone home to join her husband.” Ah, dreams.)

My son, who was valiantly helping me, hurt his hands in the process of moving the large items, but continued the work. My brother, on the other hand, declared himself finished with this madness and left to go to bed. My cousin who was there grew bored and reminded me that her dad needed to leave. I felt the pressures of my helpers’ pain (waiting, getting hurt, getting fed up) but I couldn’t stop. I continued to walk down memory lane, walking, not even able to run, but carefully examining each item. Why? Although we occasionally discovered some valuables (jewels, if you will), what I was getting out of this process were not the bits and pieces I was looking through, but knowledge and insight about my own life.

If you have sorted through the lives of family members or even your own life in the process of writing or preparing to write family history, you understand this dream. If not, grab a helper or two and tackle a pile of stuff, either real or imagined, and learn what it has to teach you about living and about yourself. Hope to see you at rootstech where we will continue this journey.


  1. I wish I could join you at RootsTech. Maybe next year. Enjoy it!

    1. Thanks Kathy. I just read on Thomas MacEntee's blog, Geneabloggers, that many sessions will be live streamed. Maybe you can join me!