Family in focus

Blood is thicker then water? Our ancestry digs deep down into our family. It’s where we get our genes, our looks, our mannerisms. We were born into a family, a heritage that can mean so much if you are a part of that whole. As you grow older, it’s not where you come from, but who you came from and how they influenced you.

I recently looked back into my family history and found that my family was from Langenselbold, Germany. I looked through the tree and tried to work my way back to my great great great grandfather. I might have missed about 16 greats! We took a recent trip to Germany in hopes of finding something from my past. Whether it be a cemetery with relatives from the past or family members that might still be in the area.

As we made our way up through Frankfurt and traveled into the town of Langenselbold. The town was somewhat deserted and actually reminded me of my home town in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. A small town with very little tourism. Everyone knows everyone and there are two main streets to travel to see the entire village. The people were all extremely friendly as we made our way through the city. Of course, there was a Bundesliga match that night and half of the town left on busses to travel into Frankfurt. We searched for anything at all that would bring some type of history to life. We scrolled through the church, we went to local government offices that were randomly closed. We ended up with nothing. I left feeling somewhat disappointed on my pilgrimage to a city that I had high hopes for.

What I didn’t realize at the time was that it didn’t matter. Where you come from doesn’t make you who you are. The life you live and the family around you is what’s important. Regardless of if I found everything about my heritage that day, or I left with nothing, it wouldn’t have changed my outlook one bit.

We can do one of the various ancestry websites and learn about our DNA, go searching across the world for our family tree, but whats important is clearly in front of you. It doesn’t matter about the past family and where you are from. It’s interesting and can give you incite into what brought you to where you are. It’s not who you are. It’s your father, mother, brothers and sisters. Its your uncles, aunts, nieces and nephews. It’s the close friends that you count as family. These are the people that matter in your life.

I was speaking to my uncle for Father’s Day and we were talking about family history. My uncle is a jovial person that lives his life to make others happy and takes family seriously. We spoke about his travels through Pennsylvania to meet family members and local gatherings that he had to track down long lost relatives. He talked about meeting some of our great grandmothers family and they somewhat rejected him when they first met him. After this initial reaction, they went through the history books and found that he was a part of the family. Their view changed on who he was and what he represented. It’s interesting how quick people at a family reunion can judge others on who they are with no questions asked.

As I spoke to my uncle, we talked about a family that had a winery next to him. The two brothers had such an issue with each other that they split wineries and haven’t spoken since. I’m sad as this is a situation that happens way too much within our world. Families split instead of reconciliation with each other. When it comes down to one person having a health issue, it becomes too late and the opposite family member regrets the situation. It’s so disappointing that a family can be so split, that it takes someone becoming ill or dying for them to finally regret the situation. Don’t ever let a small situation lead you astray. It’s not worth it.

Sadly today, I got the news that my Uncle has passed away. I went longer than I should have before calling him this past Fathers Day. I’m so glad that I took just an hour out of my day to call him and catch up on the little things in life. We had a trip planned back to Michigan in two weeks because of his health. I wanted to see him as he has had heath issues and the future was uncertain. If I had waited until then to speak with him, I never would have heard him speak and laugh again.

We can chase down our ancestry in life, and it’s fine. Don’t let it determine who you are. Be with your family and enjoy the time that you have with them. I went to my family origin and it didn’t bring me any closer to the life I live. You are who you are because of the people around you. Embrace these people. Whether it’s a call, a visit or just a text to say hello. Family is what matters, just make sure you focus on the ones in front of you, not the people you’ve never met.

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I've lived several places in the United States. Born in Michigan, lived several years of my life in Florida and currently in California. I was enticed with travel from an early age. I've traveled around most states in the US and have ventured across Europe. As my love of travel continues, my passion grows deeper with learning about new cultures and what makes them unique. Travel with me as I gather my thoughts on travel and experience the world through my lens.

2 thoughts on “Family in focus

  1. Chris…I read and re-read Family Focus several times last night, each time fingers ready to type the stentorian effect your passage had on me yet, the right words at that moment did not seem complete. YOUR Family Focus needs to be the message to the world today…at least to all who live here in the USA. We are a nation who has lost all compassion and importance of family…as your message says…its not WHERE we come from, its who we are today and the family legacy of TOGETHERNESS. You are wise my dear friend.

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    1. Thank you Margie. It’s tough for this message to stick sometimes, especially when we are young. As I’ve gotten older, I feel like it resonates even more. I think it hits us all a little bit harder with time when we look back on life. Some people just realize it a little too late in life. From the moment I met you, I’ve always seen the significance that friendship and family play in your life. Hopefully we all start shifting our focus to what matters, sooner than later.

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