Tuesday, February 14, 2012


A few years ago I attended my first "Cutman" family reunion.  My mom was the only daughter of Oscar and Mary, and for some reason, we never attended those family reunions.  Perhaps because they were always held the same day as my dad's reunions were, and for some reason that held more weight.  Being a convert to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, my grandma always gave me the impression that her family (and I assumed her husband's as well) didn't like our entire family, because we were Mormon.  Whether or not that's true, I really, really don't know.  She spent much of her (and my) life thinking that people just didn't like her.  I don't fully  understand all or even part of the history behind that.  But regardless, I only ever really knew (even vaguely) about four relatives on my mom's side of the family.

(photo source)
 Anyways, back to the reunion.  My sister and I were listening to one of the folks tell a story that was pretty "scandalous".  (SHRIEK!)  Oh my!  (Fainting.)  The scandal.  I honestly can't remember a single detail of it.  Looking back, though, one thing seems clear.  My ancestors were most definitely watching.
(photo source)

I truly feel our ancestors are mindful of us.  In the book Life Everlasting, Duane Crowther shares countless accounts of people with life-after-death experiences, where they testify that loved ones do in fact, often watch over their mortal descendants.  (Sometimes they have other duties as well, besides this.)  There are several accounts where it is described that some spirits cannot progress, without certain work being done by their mortal descendants.  And they can't progress nearly as fast without a body.  This is one reason it's important for us to use our time wisely here, for the most effecient growth possible.

As I've researched one line of my grandmother's family, I've come to what appears to be a block.  In 1867, one of my grandfathers was born to what appears to be a single mother and non-present father.  (The census lists her as single, but she had two children between 1867 and 1880, who both appeared on the census with their father's last name.)  My grandmother wasn't able to find info past this couple, and I have to wonder why, when some of her research was quite extensive.  Sure, there are physical barriers to record-keeping.  Few documents remain, and for those that do, they are very minimal with details.  But I have to wonder:  Do my ancestors, who are quite possibly well aware of my judgmental tendencies, keeping guard over my access to their personal situations?  After all, I hastily labeled another ancestor as "scandalous", laughing them to scorn.  If it were me, would I grant my posterity access to records about my life, when they showed haughty, self-righteous tendencies?  Hail no!

I know some of this sounds like a stretch.  But many people report miraculous stories of ancestors helping them find them, beyond the veil.  If that is true, then why couldn't it hold that the opposite could occur?

So dear Kate and Jacob, I hope you'll forgive my prior judgment.  I've learned the negative effects of criticism and scoffing, and want nothing to do with it.  Forgive me, please, and let me find out which of all the multiple Jacob Shindels born in the mid-1800s is the father to George Washington Shindel and Pearl Shindel!  I'll send heavenly Mint Oreos your way.  Or whoopie pies or whatever it is you prefer.


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