Let us now sing the praises of famous men,
our ancestors in their generations.
The Lord apportioned to them great glory,
his majesty from the beginning.
There were those who ruled in their kingdoms,
and made a name for themselves by their valour;
those who gave counsel because they were intelligent;
those who spoke in prophetic oracles;
those who led the people by their counsels
and by their knowledge of the people’s lore;
they were wise in their words of instruction;
those who composed musical tunes,
or put verses in writing;
rich men endowed with resources,
living peacefully in their homes—
all these were honoured in their generations,
and were the pride of their times.
Some of them have left behind a name,
so that others declare their praise.
But of others there is no memory;
they have perished as though they had never existed;
they have become as though they had never been born,
they and their children after them.
But these also were godly men,
whose righteous deeds have not been forgotten;
Their offspring will continue for ever,
and their glory will never be blotted out.
Their bodies are buried in peace,
but their name lives on generation after generation.
It is true that those who strive to make a place in the world for themselves and their families, are remembered long after they are gone. Those who become famous, rich, notorious, etc will find themselves sung about in ballads, noted in history books, their lives made into movies, and remembered in many other ways. Often distorted in view and history is re-written.
But what about those who raised their families, worked the crops, fought the battles without accolades, who took care of the elderly and young, who struggled to make sense of a precarious world during events they had no control over? I think of my great grandparents in England working in the 19th century cotton industry, weaving and spinning, men, women and young children.
I think of the farmers in NC and the road builders in IL. I remember the stories about my grandfather who never stayed too long in the same place as he looked for newspaper employment and moved his wife and son around always trying to get a better job.
What of those who were good men & women but accomplished nothing the world would notice until their descendants accomplished something unimaginable to themselves, such as landing on the moon or becoming the President of the US? Then their lives are opened up and analysed as historians try to find out what makes a famous person who they are. What or who influenced them or created the drive in them?
But what of all these other lives, the goodly men and women who are buried in peace, but not honored in memory because their stories have been lost, they are not remembered.
Those are the stories I like to tell. The ones who because they lived a life of quietness or maybe something happened to their stories, a fire, flood or other disaster destroyed their documentations, are left to the past.
We think what we do is making a difference, or at least we hope that is the case. We want our children and grandchildren to have a better life and in most cases we try to live our lives so they will. We educate ourselves, try to get better paying jobs, we work smarter so we can work less to enjoy our families and friends. Even if we chose not to have children or circumstances prevent us from adding to the family tree, we still strive to make the world a better place for those who do. We engage in taking care of the world resources better, become active in social changes, etc. The world today is so much more in tune with making a difference for our future.
So many choices we have today that were not available even a generation ago to our parents or grandparents and unimaginable to our great grandparents. We live in a digital age and our lives will be most likely an open book. Future generations will have an easier time I think in finding out more about us. Lucky them.