Monday, February 22, 2016

"Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead." – Benjamin Franklin

Okay then. So. It's Monday. I know that's a dreaded day of the week by so many people. It's become an almost national obsession. To me, just me, not you, just me, it is exactly the day that follows Sunday and for most of my life, thankfully, it is back to work Monday. And, that's where I find myself today on this February 22, 2016. A number of years ago our youngest son and I embarked on an effort to find out something about our family history. We spent maybe six months or more searching all the genealogical databases. We paid fees for this, that, or the other. We ordered up birth, wedding, and death certificates. We collected a whole lot of stuff. We discovered names and connections we had not even heard of before. We learned facts that were pretty surprising. We discovered my dad's dad was named Will Cuffie. He fought in WWI. He was a farmer. Our family never had any contact with him. He died in 1961. He had a younger brother named Alfred. Alfred married a lady named Lena. Lena's brother was named Dan. When Lena and Dan's parents died there was some property left behind but a family dispute arose. It became heated. Alfred, defending his wife's claims, locked horns with Dan. On June 17, 1934 Dan shot and killed Alfred on the street in downtown Vienna, Georgia. Those kinds of conflicts are not new. They entered the world all the way back to the fall of humanity where sin entered through Adam and Eve. There's much more dirt that likely could be dug up on my family. Your family. Every family. It reminds us how that the more things change it is the more they stay the same. We all need Jesus every minute of every day and we typically prove it every single day. Amen.

We found other stuff as well. Occasionally I pull up the text file documenting all this stuff and scan its contents. One cousin several times removed reported that her search indicated my dad's family actually came over from England in the early 1800's. She said they traveled on a ship named The Anne. They eventually moved from South Carolina to Georgia where my Great Great Grandfather married and settled down. Then came children and the tree branched here and there, you know, it's a diagram from the song, "over the hills and through the woods to grandmother's house we go". Or something like that. For the most part people who could help us to know more came from a generation that pretty much believed that when it came to family history just let sleeping dogs lie. While that let sleeping dogs lie metaphor has been traced back to the 14th century many word historians think it originated from the Bible as in this verse from The Proverbs, "He that passes by, and meddles with strife belonging not to him, is like one that takes a dog by the ears." (Chapter 26, verse 17) We pretty much left off where we hit our last roadblocks. Somebody might come along with more information but until further notice we don't have enough proof to blame who we became on anyone in particular. Except for myself but that's not so much fun.

I know of some within our family who would like to know more about our ancestors due to the health issues they have had to face. That is likely the most noble reason for investigation. Our quest actually originated quite simply. Our youngest wanted to know more about his grandfather, my dad. Since dad passed away in 1954 I really only had bits and pieces to share with him. That was what got us started. Nothing more. Just that. When we hit a wall I consulted with a fee based expert and after she heard all that we had done she concluded that other than traveling to courthouses and other places to verify information she didn't really see where she could get more than we had already accumulated. I appreciated her not doing a sales job on me. We did learn about some of our folks who were known for their faithfulness to the Lord. That's a heritage that is encouraging. When it is all said and done each of us must live out the life God has given to us. We will not be rewarded for what one of our ancestors accomplished for the Lord. I recall the conversation I had with a fellow one time where his claim to spiritual connection was because of the number of preachers that had come out of his family. He was very proud of that. While that was a good thing it certainly did not account for his obvious lack of serving the Lord during his sojourn. That family history won't work for him. For me. Or, for you. According to the Scriptures we will, as believers, individually stand and give our own personal account. (2nd Corinthians 5) Sobering thought my friend. Sobering indeed. Amen. ....More later.

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