“Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted?” Matthew 5:13
Family history and genealogical research becomes like salt that has lost its savour when it does not meet it’s intended goals of connecting and uniting family members in love- both the living to the dead and the living to the living, and preserving their histories from which the living are strengthened.
- When the quest to see how far back in time one can go in a family tree, overlooking the need to thoroughly research one family group, the savour is lost.
- When the stories within the research are never discovered, written, and shared, the savour is lost.
- When the research is never found to be perfect enough to share, the savour is lost.
- When whole family lines are avoided due to offenses and bad feelings, the savour is lost.
- When intense focus is given to one family line in hopes of finding royal connections or celebrity, the savour is lost.
- When family history is relegated to the “hobby” pile instead of the “essential” pile, the savour is lost.
- When more time is spent researching the dead than making memories with the living, the savour is lost.
A little sprinkle of salt enhances the flavor of everything.
The flavor is already there.
The salt is just the catalyst that draws the flavor into the water which it naturally attracts to itself, carrying more of that flavor with it.
Too much salt and it doesn’t work. You just get too salty!
Doing family history and genealogy for the right reasons are like sprinkling a bit of salt on a piece of melon. How? A melon is fine just the way it is. So is your life. I would like to suggest that there is so much more to “taste”. There is so much more flavor to enjoy. Pick any family member from your family “garden”, one who has passed on or one who is still living, get to know them better in an interview or a little research if they are no longer living, and see how that experience changes you.
I promise you it will. You will “taste” more love, love that already exists and is waiting to be found and shared.
Wherever you find love, you’ve mined in the right place.
Not everyone will be “mining” with you. That doesn’t mean what you’ve found isn’t valuable. But for now it may only have value for you. Which then brings us to salt’s ability to preserve.
It doesn’t take much to preserve a memory, photo or story these days. It’s in the stories themselves where the flavor of a life is experienced. You may have collected documents and photos from which someone else will eventually write the story. But they have to be preserved and easily found or that story will never be written. When we preserve those things, and then the stories. we have essentially invited our loved ones to a picnic that has no start or end time, but promises a feast that never spoils and always satisfies.
So what do we have to do?
- Find them (the living, too!).
- Enjoy them.
- Share them.
- Preserve the memories.
You have to admit, salt is amazing. It’s not only a flavor enhancer and preservative, but also a very good teacher. No?