Wednesday, June 2, 2010

For Those That Came Before Us and Those That Follow After

         This is a picture of my ancestors. I only know one of their names, and I don't know much about their lives, but here they are nonetheless, and they are very much a part of my life and heritage. Isn't it fascinating to think about? Had one of my great great grandparents moved to India, or California, or anywhere else in the world, I might be a completely different person. I am blown away by that simple fact. It's like an intricate web that seems so big, but is made up of individual threads. Every action they made had a consequence which in turn created the person they were, which in turn set up the lives of their own future generations. Now, I'm not saying that they are responsible for everything I've done. I think we all are born with certain personalities and are prone to sensitivities towards certain aspects of life. I also think that we are born with the ability to choose and change the course of our lives as well. I do think, however, that if my ancestors had lived differently that could have possibly changed some aspects of the life I live. More of a variation on a theme than an absolute shift. That's what I think anyways.

        I started thinking about this as I was taking old photos from our family library and digitizing them for my father. As I thought about this, I also realized that I was in a similar position. Whatever I do with my life; if it be theatre, accounting, living in England, or staying put in Utah Valley all my life, I will change some of the circumstances of future posterity. That is so interesting to think about, isn't it? Its awe inspiring and terrifying at the same time. We live our lives as if they are our own, which in a certain aspect, they are. But there is suddenly a certain gravity to those life changing choices we make, knowing that we will in turn be affecting the lives of future generations. This applies for our character and value as well. As I hear the stories my Dad tells me about my ancestors, I find great uncle so and so was a charitable man, whereas great grand somebody was a thief. The way we act now will be remembered and there is a certain amount of familial honor that I think is to easily forgotten in our fast paced, "live in the now" world.

 It's certainly something to think about.