Is There Drama in Your Family's Story?


Once a year, I go with my father to visit graves across Utah Valley, where my ancestors go 5 generations back. It's one of my favorite traditions. I get to hear new details on old stories, and now and again, a story I've never heard before.

Some of these stories are tragic. Others hilarious. It makes me think about movies and books that are based on a true story. Truth is seldom as perfectly timed, paced, and spoken as scripted plots that are developed from real-life stories. I wonder if parts of my family's more interesting past could be turned into blockbuster hits with a little bit of Hollywood flair?

For example, my great, great grandfather came to Utah on a train with his son in the 1860's, his wife promising she would follow once he sent her money. He sent it four times, but she never came, and they passed away worlds apart.

What else there was to that story? Excitement from my great, great grandfather to cross the ocean and make a new home on the other side of the world. Anxiety from his wife to leave the only place she's ever known. The dynamics of their relationship and what stopped them from reuniting. And how children felt, those who stayed in England and those who also made the journey.

It's a lot to imagine, and there are thousands of other stories just like it, along with millions of other humorous, tragic, and happy tales of those who came before us.

While those unfamiliar with their family histories might think their family trees are filled with hobbits who never went on any adventures or did anything of interest, there are in fact many rich stories waiting to be discovered.

These stories are a part of us. They give us an idea of who we are, because who we are is linked to where we come from. When I'm out in rural fields visiting graves, I think about people who don't know or care to know their family's past. I don't know a hundredth of my family's history, yet I feel lucky. It brings me peace, hope, and a sense of purpose, as well as some strength to carry on.

If you are looking for any of those feelings right now in your life, I would encourage you to dig deep for the stories of your family. Maybe you'll find a little bit of what you're looking for.

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