Sunday, May 22, 2011

Poignant Experiences

I have spent a lot of time this year typing up the writing of my family members. My uncle Edd's poems and my great grandmother's poems were the first projects I took on. Now I am typing up the life histories of my Madsen ancestors. It's interesting how people's writing reveals their insights, how you can get some sense of what a person believes and thinks and feels just by reading something that they have written.

I am surprised by how much I like this kind of work. It's sometimes a very poignant experience, like slipping through the threads of someone else's life. I get a sweet little taste of the essence of who my ancestors really were. I should say who they are because I know that they are still around.

My sense that my ancestors still live is not entirely grounded in abstract belief or an intellectual understanding of religious doctrine. I know that my ancestors live because I feel them. As I type up their stories, I feel them reaching out to me, embracing me, grateful that I am aware of them. They want to be known.

It's amazing.