Saturday, May 2, 2020

I Am Theirs and They Are Mine


Day 2 of the Connections Experiment had me reflect about myself. Who am I?

The prompt for today reads:
Write about how you would describe yourself. Physically? Mentally? Spiritually? Personality? Tip: It’s ok to talk about how you are feeling mentally. Think of the healing that can happen if you share your depression or anxiety or what you worry about. Healing can come for you and for your descendants.
So I put pen to paper and reflected on how I see myself today. Here's some of what I wrote, which I hope will prove relatable, familiar, or at the very least...interesting?

Self

I don't like talking about myself. I like talking about my interests, my family, my experiences, but not myself. Describing who "Sam is" is a challenge because in the attempt is the lingering feeling that others might not see me the same way as I do. Perhaps it's fear or insecurity. It's easier to ignore the nagging self-criticism or perhaps to succumb to it. But for today, I'm laying that aside.

Physically - I ran 5 km today with a friend! I'm not as in shape as I was in January when I ran every day, but I always feel refreshed after getting fresh air and some exercise.

Mentally/emotionally - It depends on the day! Some days, during this COVID-19 mess, I feel isolated and stir-crazy. Other times, I enjoy the quiet and simplicity. I miss the freedom of going to a friend's house, of giving hugs, of getting to hold my friends' babies, of going to cafes and breweries, even crowds. I miss going to court houses and the Library of Virginia to do research.

I'm also grieving events that are postponed: weddings, ordinations, baptisms, reunions.

And then I remember gratitude. I'm not sick. I have a job. I live in a great apartment in a beautiful city. I'm paying off debt and I have food. I'm not going without.

Spiritually - Today, I read several chapters of the Book of Acts outside in the sunshine. My prayer life isn't at 100%, but Christ is risen! This is my joy and my hope.

My personality - The more I discover my family history, the more I see my parents and their family in me.

My laugh, my love for people, my intensity, my compassion. All of these are in my DNA. My gift for teaching is a gift from God. But how I speak is a gift from my grandparents.

I'm an extrovert (I'm an ESFJ & a 2 on the enneagram) yet I love my time alone to recharge. I'm intense like my parents: I love intensely, I care intensely. I laugh like my Memaw and giggle like my Grandma Nora. I'm eccentric like my dad and Uncle Art, and a bit hoity-toity like my Uncle Fred. I'm an open book and I have an open home like my Aunt Judy. I'm a talker like my Granddaddy and my Pawpaw. And I'm so much like my sister, it's a wonder we're not twins.

I am my family - the best of them and the worst of them. But they're wonderfully mine. And I am theirs.
*****

Reflecting on who I am - in light of who my family is - is a life-giving exercise. I'm reminded that no person is an island and that the best in me come from them.

How would you describe yourself? Do you see your family in yourself?

My ancestors - and your ancestors - deserve the best researcher, the most passionate story-teller, and the dignity of being remembered. So let's keep encountering our ancestors through family history and remembering the past made present today!

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