I am alive because an infant, the lone survivor of an Indian raid, was rescued by neighboring villagers in the 1700s. I remember being stunned when I learned this from my brother’s work on genealogy. To think I might not have ever existed! But I didn’t consider how many other people would be descendants of that little baby….that is, until I had the following experience.
I had gone to an assisted living facility to visit a church member who had recently moved there. She was occupied with physical therapy but suggested I visit her daughter, also a church member, who was in the woman’s room rearranging some clothes. The daughter had been carrying the burden of her husband’s medical problems, her mother’s physical limitations and the move to the new residence. Our conversation evolved into things she was missing, to include the work she had put aside on genealogy. She mentioned relatives in her history with the name of Ragsdale and I said “Oh, we have that name in our family too!” And then she repeated the story of the rescued infant that I had only ever heard told in my family. Wow! We laughed but were curious if we might in fact be related. I sent her the information my brother had gathered. When she eventually had the opportunity to pursue this, she discovered indeed we are distantly related.
As I think of this now, I wonder how many people I have encountered along the way, never knowing we shared genetics. Even more important, I think of what it could mean for our communities, our society, our world, if we lived as though we are all connected, part of something larger, that our commonalities and differences are all threads composing a vibrant tapestry. Consider this as you go about your daily encounters.
May we be bearers of hope, the “wait staff” of Hope’s Café for each other and all those we encounter. Shalom, Kate
Hope’s Café Bonus: For another story of descendants of survivors, read the uplifting story of Nicholas Winton, dubbed the British Schlinder.