"Truth Gives Wings to Strength"

I made my family cry. I didn't mean to. But I seem to have a funny talent for making people cry with what I write. It never even occurred to me that they would find my blog before I had even had the chance to meet them and that it would turn their eyes into small versions of the Deshutes River. But find it they did, read it they most certainly did, and thus the first thing I heard from some of them when we met was how much they had cried on the way there.

As was shared with me, my Great-Aunt Helen's son found my blog and after wiping his tears, called my Aunt and told her she ought to read it. Someone in their carload pulled it up and they cried too. At the reunion, it didn't take long for word to spread about the blog post and soon I was printing up copies for people to read. Luckily, they didn't cry or at least I didn't catch them at it. Do you remember that peanut butter pie? Yeah. That was gone. So many people had heard about it that it took them minutes to eat it. Next time I'll make two.

My favorite part of the whole reunion was talking with and getting to know family I had not met or hadn't since I was a little girl and hearing about my great-grandparents from my great aunts and uncles. They filled out for me a much fuller picture of who they were. Great-Grandpa Hoggatt, as it turns out, was the assistant pastor in West Hollywood, probably in the 1930s, and he served, get this, under a woman. After that church he pastored in Selma where my great-grandmother played the organ and had a mirror strategically placed so she could give the children "the look" when they misbehaved. The kids would often sing in church. I would have loved to hear them, I hear they were quite good.

It was indescribably delightful to watch my grandpa with his siblings, watching them interact together and wondering what all those brothers were like when, as their sisters shared with me, they were all combing their hair back while getting ready for dates. It's fun to have the sisters around to tell on their brothers... It was funny to see the same looks on the brothers faces and to find common loves with other family members. I learned some things too. For example, as it turns out, my Great-Grandma Emma is the insane creator of a hand-sewn quilt in my possession. My grandma remembers sending her some of the fabric and another family member has a quilt of Grandma Emma's that includes some of the fabric in my own.

It's funny getting to know your roots when for two generations, my family hasn't lived close by extended family. But I feel like I've been given a precious gift of time with these folks who share my heritage and I have great joy in knowing I will continue my relationship with many of those I met.

Knowing your family doesn't dictate who you are but it helps to know where you've been. It helps give a foundation, or an up-current in the wind. Curious to know how my cousin found my blog, I googled "Hoggatt" and discovered my blog is the first website to come up. Just a little further down was a link to our family crest with the motto, "Truth gives wings to strength". For me, the truth was knowing those I belong with, those who have been teased in the exact same way about our last name, who understand the heritage we treasure. That truth does give wings, knowing God has been faithful before to someone in my family, knowing God will be faithful to me as I follow in my great-grandpa's footsteps, forging a path of ministry all my own, the truth giving wings to a new strength.
Four generations of aunts and nieces in relation to Madison: Great-Great-Aunt Marion, Great-Great-Aunt Helen, Great-Aunt Sharri, Aunt Sarah, and Madison.

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Walking the Sea: "Truth Gives Wings to Strength"

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

"Truth Gives Wings to Strength"

I made my family cry. I didn't mean to. But I seem to have a funny talent for making people cry with what I write. It never even occurred to me that they would find my blog before I had even had the chance to meet them and that it would turn their eyes into small versions of the Deshutes River. But find it they did, read it they most certainly did, and thus the first thing I heard from some of them when we met was how much they had cried on the way there.

As was shared with me, my Great-Aunt Helen's son found my blog and after wiping his tears, called my Aunt and told her she ought to read it. Someone in their carload pulled it up and they cried too. At the reunion, it didn't take long for word to spread about the blog post and soon I was printing up copies for people to read. Luckily, they didn't cry or at least I didn't catch them at it. Do you remember that peanut butter pie? Yeah. That was gone. So many people had heard about it that it took them minutes to eat it. Next time I'll make two.

My favorite part of the whole reunion was talking with and getting to know family I had not met or hadn't since I was a little girl and hearing about my great-grandparents from my great aunts and uncles. They filled out for me a much fuller picture of who they were. Great-Grandpa Hoggatt, as it turns out, was the assistant pastor in West Hollywood, probably in the 1930s, and he served, get this, under a woman. After that church he pastored in Selma where my great-grandmother played the organ and had a mirror strategically placed so she could give the children "the look" when they misbehaved. The kids would often sing in church. I would have loved to hear them, I hear they were quite good.

It was indescribably delightful to watch my grandpa with his siblings, watching them interact together and wondering what all those brothers were like when, as their sisters shared with me, they were all combing their hair back while getting ready for dates. It's fun to have the sisters around to tell on their brothers... It was funny to see the same looks on the brothers faces and to find common loves with other family members. I learned some things too. For example, as it turns out, my Great-Grandma Emma is the insane creator of a hand-sewn quilt in my possession. My grandma remembers sending her some of the fabric and another family member has a quilt of Grandma Emma's that includes some of the fabric in my own.

It's funny getting to know your roots when for two generations, my family hasn't lived close by extended family. But I feel like I've been given a precious gift of time with these folks who share my heritage and I have great joy in knowing I will continue my relationship with many of those I met.

Knowing your family doesn't dictate who you are but it helps to know where you've been. It helps give a foundation, or an up-current in the wind. Curious to know how my cousin found my blog, I googled "Hoggatt" and discovered my blog is the first website to come up. Just a little further down was a link to our family crest with the motto, "Truth gives wings to strength". For me, the truth was knowing those I belong with, those who have been teased in the exact same way about our last name, who understand the heritage we treasure. That truth does give wings, knowing God has been faithful before to someone in my family, knowing God will be faithful to me as I follow in my great-grandpa's footsteps, forging a path of ministry all my own, the truth giving wings to a new strength.
Four generations of aunts and nieces in relation to Madison: Great-Great-Aunt Marion, Great-Great-Aunt Helen, Great-Aunt Sharri, Aunt Sarah, and Madison.

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2 Comments:

At August 9, 2010 at 1:06 PM , Blogger Jan Lyn said...

Hello Sarah,
I have just had the pleasure of finding your blog and I will be certain to come back to it..I am enrolled in a DSL Program for Spiritual Formation/Direction so have enjoyed reading some posts referring to that as well.

This really touched me and is such truth: "..knowing your family doesn't dictate who you are but it helps know where you've been."

Great read and sounds like a good time had by all.

In Friendship and Peace,
Jan Lyn Lewis

 
At August 10, 2010 at 8:49 PM , Blogger LadyRose said...

Sarah,
What joy this blog brought to me tonight. Keep following in the footsteps of those who walked the path before you. God Bless!
Rosie

 

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