Ancestry – Kin Folk
I am blessed to know my family history, a long line of souls who existed through a labor ethic commanded by God, so they could surpass the menial material ambitions of man. Thus is my inherited bounty of rich knowledge and culture rooted in divine will. Cursed is us who forget it in favor of luxury. Such is our downfall if we sit on a cushioned gilded chair, instead of kneeling before the generous heavenly Throne. I cannot fain ignorance of creative generations which overcame the evils of the human heart. Some, as potent examples of warning, submitted to prideful decadent spirits.
My father’s side can be traced back to the early 1800s, my mother’s beginning the following century. The former were of black slaves, freedmen, and white citizens, likely of Irish heritage, possibly also German, since ‘Fulmer’ is an Anglicized form of Germanic surnames. It did not take very long for my ancestors to thrive independently after Emancipation. This may be due to the seemingly diverse skills of those beforehand. The number of colored portraits, which were also made as late as my great-great grandfather, denote a like variation of social status among the non-white members. Passing on trained hands and minds for at least sixty years, the great-great generation continued this self-education, me reaping a crop cultivated for hundreds of years.
My mother’s side was composed of rancheros and builders. Generally of a balanced Spanish and Meso-American background, the bloodline maintained a common way of life. Not as academically astute as my father’s side, although they possess a focused ethic. A communal outlook quickly forms connections with family and peers. Like my father’s side, the generations have practiced self-education, tending to prioritize a single field. Having adopted this ethic, the paternal jack of skills is reinforced by the maternal fine tuned specialty, even if it is basic manual labor. The best of two worlds have been bestowed to me.
Above all, I inherited a spiritual heritage. The paternity was Protestant of a predominantly Methodist tradition. The maternity is of an extended Catholic line. Regardless of relatives’ personal practices, it was made evident since early childhood how these different forms of Christianity permeated familial ways. It has been of piercing insight to witness what happens when Godly wisdom is embraced or ignored in the relations of kin folk, not to mention their individual well-being. Thus, I find a foundational guidance in direct faith in Christ, desiring to live a natural spirituality indirectly in the public sphere. It can be challenging to be intentional at moments. This intentionality would be unnecessary if one devotedly grew in the God called the Way, Truth, and Life.
Pop Pop & Mom Mom were the elders of dynamic existence. To see them express joy and sorrow, stoicism and frolic, depth and simplicity, was an underlying impact of my youth. Life was of pain and merriment. You can neither walk in excess nor absence or either. When death seems to haunt your home, preying on all you love, mourn then be glad for God being mindful of us mortal creatures. Mom Mom outlasted her husband by a notable number of years. Through it all she prayed. Eventually no longer able to physically care for her loved ones, she poured out a soul of steadfast heart. I fondly remember lasting words she told me in high school: “Those educated and skilled are to help raise others out of the dark.” And “Equality comes from how God created us, different but of the same worth.” Her final prayers were for our prosperity, to continue loving amid suffering. She obeyed the Lord’s command to pour out the last of her heart, so He could personally refill it. “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
Grandpa & Grandma (Abuelo & Abuelita) remain as teachers of their successors. That is whomever takes to heart what they say, along with what has been valued. Far past their prime, they still exhibit a strength that very surely only comes with decades of fortitude in heart. Regardless of imperfections in religious faith, the recognition of God as sovereign has been a constant. The family and neighborly ties hinged on the holy, not wavering human passions. Their legacy is one that has seeded golden fidelity, dearly cared for by their children/grandchildren. Creative work builds not just excellent experience; the heart is nurtured to withstand trial in familial unities. As we are blessed with their presence, may the younger generation not assert our contemporary ignorance superior to their time tested knowledge/wisdom.
In summation, I find myself ever more grateful to the Lord for the father and mother who raised me. The homemaker devoted me in the moonlight to the will of her God. The head of the house desired me, as well as my sister, to be educated on the foundation of His Word. They have both lamented their mistakes, in regret of what may have harmed my upbringing. Who knows what I may have accomplished without the poor decisions? What an irrelevant thing to ponder about. Together we learned, fell, and got back on our feet. All this because they pointed me to the Holy One who faithfully guides our steps. Amid all the knowledge and wisdom imparted to me, a gift several generations in the making, they lovingly made sure I was introduced to Goodness, Beauty, and Truth – in human language He is called Jesus Christ. Indeed, I am a free man within a world of souls in bondage. It is not due to my identity. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.”
“Let not your heart emulate sinners, but be zealous for the fear of the Lord always; For you will surely have a future, and your hope will not be cut off. Hear, my son, and be wise, and guide your heart in the right way. Consort not with winebibbers, not with those who eat meat to excess; for the drunkard and the glutton come to poverty, and torpor clothes a man in rags. Listen to your father who begot you, and despise not your mother when she is old. Get the truth, and sell it not – wisdom, instruction and understanding. The father of a just man will exult with glee; he who begets a wise son will have joy in him. Let your father and mother have joy; let her who bore you exult.”Proverbs 23:17-25