They say that life is a journey and though I'm not entirely sure who "they" are, I think they may have a point.
Now, I certainly don't have everything figured out yet but I do believe that each one of us has a purpose and that discovering that purpose is what life should be about.
As a child, I was always curious about the world around me. I wanted to discover everything and was constantly asking questions, which I'm sure endeared me greatly to everyone in my family (probably not). But this curiosity, this need to learn and understand everything going on around me has somehow managed to stay with me. And my father dying unexpectedly when I was ten years old did nothing to diminish my curiosity. In fact, it actually led me to try to
learn the history of my family. And so I delved into my family ancestry, which led me to many fascinating bits of information.
It reminds me of that old saying "You can't know where you're going until you know where you came from."
One of the original versions of this idea came from author James Baldwin and goes:
"Know from whence you came. If you know whence you came there are absolutely no limitations to where you can go."
One of my discoveries from researching my family is the history of surnames. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
So that got me thinking about my family and genealogy and trees (I've always liked trees) and then an idea came to me. I started drawing trees in the shape of a particular surname, and then adding the origins of that surname to the tree.
I really believe that discovering your roots, where your family came from and learning how those people that came before you lived their lives can lead you to a greater understanding of your family, yourself and ultimately your place in this world.
We truly are all connected to one another and that increases the importance of showing kindness and understanding in a world that often seems to be entirely focused on the next technological advances rather than on what's really important in our lives.
Times may change yes, but I sincerely hope that people never forget the essential principles of family, kindness, faith
and community that we all share.
Browse through the gallery below to see a few Name Trees that I've done.