Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Thread Sewn Through

My niece wrote a letter to the Queen of England,
letting her know a little about her brothers,
and that she, sadly, lives too far from Her Majesty to come visit her.
Nevertheless, in a spirit of friendliness, she wrote her the letter.

The Queen's Lady in Waiting returned a very formal but appreciative letter
to my niece from Balmoral Castle,
expressing the Queen's pleasure at having received such a nice letter.
The Lady in Waiting's name contained a family name I recognized
(and was sent from a property I knew to have been associated with this family name),
and set me on the path of learning more about their migration to this country.
I remembered my Papa telling me they had settled in New England originally,
which surprised me to no end, since I was born in gold country.

Our earliest immigrant from Scotland did not come here of his own free will.
He fought against Oliver Cromwell,
and got shipped here as a prisoner of war in 1651 or 52.
Was sold as an indentured servant.
Was not released when his time was up, but sold again.
And was denied freedom when he sued in court for it.
Finally, he won his release years after he should have had it.
He moved to Exeter, New Hampshire,
where he married and helped found the town,
and began the American branch of the family.

I began to read more of his descendants, and my skin electrified.
An editor of two books of hymns,
who wrote at least fifteen himself -- one of which I have always loved,
and which 'has been included in nearly every evangelical hymn book
from 1876 to the present'.
My Papa sings. My mom sings.
My aunts and uncles and cousins sing.
My brothers and sisters and I and my children sing.
When we are gathered as a family, inevitably we sing to the Lord together.

A college founded to train missionaries to Africa.
A missionary who, with his wife, was killed in the Pacific islands.
My sister is a missionary in Africa.
Another spent a year in Eastern Europe.

A speaker in Dwight L. Moody's conventions.
There are a number of pastors in my family.

A book on the ministry of the Holy Spirit, endorsed by F.B. Meyer.
A quote: "You can do more than pray after you have prayed, 
but you cannot do more than pray until you have prayed."
I have written before of the legacy of prayer my grandparents have left us.

And apparently, the valley my husband and I recently moved to
was also settled by descendants of this man.
My very town, even, has had members of his family
since one purchased land here in 1728.
In fact, I just reread a story of two brothers from the family
who were ambushed by natives within steps of where I explored
with my children the other day, in ignorance of it.
Near the same creek my son fell in.
It was like a whispered remembrance to me:
I have known you of old. And I do direct your steps.

Lord, thou hast been our dwelling-place in all generations.

1 comment:

Briana Ruth Huston said...

This is really amazing.