History, as it pertains to my family or extended family, has always been interesting to me. Getting to know family members and what their interests are, fascinates me. I spent many hours with one cousin that was into painting and photography. As a young child, I loved to listen to him share his love of painting, photography and his cameras. But in our family on both sides, we have relatives, parents and grandparents, from Norway. My mom began to research her family history to gain knowledge for herself. I can remember in high school watching my mom writing letters to relatives in Norway and how excited she was to receive mail back. Thankfully, some of the relatives knew English and so that helped. It was the highlight of her day when she would walk to the mail box and there would be a letter in the mail giving her some clue into her family story. It was interesting to find some missing pieces that put the puzzle of her life together. One piece of the puzzle that she discovered was a half-sister that she knew nothing about. That began another journey as she questioned how that came to be. My grandfather was quite young when he left Norway. It has always intrigued me how someone would choose or be forced to choose to leave their homeland for expectations of a better life. How difficult those times must have been for them! How very brave they were! From what I know, my grandfather felt he had no other choice, or even a bit desperate given the times, but he felt he had to leave.
Just the other day, I received a letter from Norway. I was as excited as my mom was! I’m sure she was smiling down as I opened the letter with a picture of this very woman who was now a grandma herself. As I sat and looked at the picture, my heart goes out to a child who never got to know her father. She knew he was in America, but the distance and circumstances kept them from knowing each other. I have learned that she always wondered about him and wanted so much to meet him. I wish I could have known her so I could have shared some of her father, my grandfather, with her. I am thankful to be learning more about her through the stories told by her family. I have found that finding family ties takes on a life of its own as I journey through pictures, letters, postcards regarding relatives so far away. I am so thankful for Facebook and the tenacity to search for bringing us together! I have come to love each one that I have gotten to know as we share about our lives and families together. My grandfather was a good dad and grandpa. I am so proud of what my grandparents accomplished through the struggles to make a life for themselves and their children.
As I thought about this, this story isn’t so different from our relationship with Jesus. We may live our lives thinking we know what we need to know. But just like this child who grew up never knowing her father, we can grow up without really knowing our heavenly Father. Oh we may know he is out there and we may wonder, but we never get into the Word deep enough to really know Him better. We would like to talk with Him maybe, but we think He doesn’t know who we are or we aren’t that important to Him. In reality, He already knows us and he wants us to know Him better. He accepts us just as we are. We don’t have to feel the way this child felt growing up not knowing her father. We CAN know our heavenly Father in a very intimate way. I am so thankful for the blessing of knowing Him personally.
As for my great Aunt, I am a bit sad that I didn’t get a chance to communicate with her. That would have been a great day for me! But I admire her dignity through all those years when a little girl’s heart cried out to know her father. She was brave and it seems, never blamed him. That is like the love of our Heavenly Father. Unconditional love. He loves us in spite of our sins, thoughts and sometimes neglect of Him. Don’t wait to get to know Him better. Seek… Him.