We all have ancestors. Add that to the list of things that are sure in life : death, taxes and ancestors.
They give us our cheekbones, our pluck and resilience, or our stocky stature.
Thank you, Ireland.
We all came from somewhere and that somewhere still speaks into the present and will continue to speak into the future.
Even God knows that. Of course, God's omniscience (all-knowing) is part of the deal but I often forget God knows my ancestors.
He knows my dad, and the traits I carry deep in the fiber of my being that come straight from my father's DNA. It's part of who I am, whether I am in love with that idea or not.
We all came from somewhere : physically, genetically...
We've been bathed in the "forgive and forget" philosophy for so long we struggle to see the danger in it.
Kids don't forget the feeling of touching a hot stove for the first time - it is stabbed into their cognitive rings, like a lighting strike to a giant redwood. They are not destroyed, but they are marked.
And they remember.
We come from battered relationships where trust is used and abused and we end up feeling like emotional whores, enjoyed and then cast aside.
We come from spiritual wrestling matches, locked in tight with the faceless man screaming "Bless me! Bless me!" and then once we're blessed, well, we forget the wrestling and pretend we've always been blessed.
Then we move on.
We miss how important memory is to our spiritual formation and transformation. We miss the goodness of Jesus' language - eucharisteo, "remember" - by calling it "communion."
Our spiritual ancestry is painful. I get it. I live it too. We can't just wallow in it forever, wondering what could have been or what should have been. We have to let it melt into us and turn to muscle and sinew of soul.
But we can't ever forget. We forgive, we live in forgiveness and grace, but we can't live in forgetfulness.
If we develop spiritual amnesia, we will forever live in a damned past. A shamed memory. A former failure.
Instead, we have been mysteriously raised with Christ and seated with Him in the heavenly realms - even as we stand here on earth (Colossians 3:1). We set our minds on things above, even our memories. We see them differently.
They are our ancestors. They go with us. The point of spiritual formation is figuring out how they go with us. Do they go with grace? Or are they mental tyrants? Figments of our past calling the shots in our present and sabotaging the future?
Who are your ancestors? Is it time today to make peace with your "inheritance"?