Researching my family on ancestry.com is one of the things I dabble in now and then so when the show Who Do You Think You Are? came out, it was right up my alley. One of my favorite things about this kind of research is finding something in a family member’s own handwriting; it seems more personal somehow than a type written note or name.
I have a cookbook and a couple of handwritten notes that belonged to my grandmother; I even have her famous watermelon rind preserves and divinity recipes framed and hanging in my kitchen. I can remember her sitting at the dining room table writing letters to friends. It seemed that two or three times a week, a letter arrived for her and she would waste no time in answering it. Letters came in and letters went out for as long as I can remember. Friends she had known since she was a girl, cousins, aunts…scattered all over the state. Handwritten letters are a lost art form. There’s something particularly beautiful about the handwriting of someone you have loved and lost, no matter how bad their penmanship was. My grandmother’s handwriting was shaky, even when she was younger. She used the traditional penmanship that I’m sure she was taught in school; the same penmanship her daughter, my mother, was taught. I know my grandmother’s writing. I could pick it out of a hundred letters. She signed all of my report cards and wrote all of my sick notes. She signed every birthday card and wrote letters to me every week when I moved away from home. Each stroke of the pen spelled love to me, even when she was only talking about the weather. As a young wife and mother so far away from home, just seeing her handwriting on those pages gave me great comfort.
There are volumes and volumes of books in archives all over the world to help us find out where we come from and who we really are, but there’s only one book that matters. If my name is not found in the Lamb’s Book of Life, who I am in this life isn't relevant. Where I came from, who my parents were, what I did for a living, how many Sundays I spent in church or how much money I gave – none of this means a thing. Because my name is written with the hand of God, in the blood of Christ, in the only book that matters, I don’t have to wonder who I am. I know. I’m a child of God.