For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3: 16)
Jesus said unto him, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, with all thy heart and with all thy soul and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. ON THESE TWO COMMANDMENTS HANG ALL THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS." (Matthew 23: 37-40)
To me the above statements of Jesus are probably the most powerful words ever spoken. He told us in these few words what we must do to have eternal life. If we love him and believe in him, we will love each other. Love may be the most used and most misunderstood word in any language and the "Devil is in the details."
Each of us is a unique individual. That is a scientific fact. There is no one else who ever lived who is identical in every way to another person. Even with the latest science of "cloning" there are still differences.
Each of us is a part of our parents, our ancestors, of places we have been, things we have heard, things we have seen, what we have felt. All of these combined is how each of us has become the persons that we are today.
My goal is to become a better person. To become a better person, I can think of no more productive way than to share the gift of Grace that God has given me. God has given me knowledge in a number of areas, genealogy being only one of them. It was not by a magic wand nor a "fairy godmother" that I obtained so much research. It was through years of hard work, persistence and thousands of hours searching records, and old cemeteries and thousands of dollars in expenses. I had always intended to publish my own Steele line and their kin in a book for my own family. I am doing that now.
I was burned out, doing Steele research with very little help from other people. Some took my work and the work of other dedicated people, used it for personal recognition and/or financial gain and gave no credit to the people who did the actual work. This hurt and angered me. God did not tell us it would be easy and even he got angry when he saw his "house" being used by the money changers.
To me, this is not unlike the people who have never seen the inside of a court house nor a roll of microfilm, but boast about the thousands of names in their "data bases." I'm not sure if I even know how a data base is supposed to work. I am interested in PEOPLE, not lists of names and statistics. I left the "genealogy community" for eight years for the above reasons.
I am back now and I know that God is with me every step of the way. Before I could place my hard work and the money spent, out there on the Internet to give to others, many of whom will just take it without even a thank you, I had to learn how to truly forgive. I had "preached" love and forgiveness all my life, both in my private life and in my professional life as a threapist.
My parents and grand parents told me and a few showed me, but most of them did not know how to love either. We only know what we are taught, and I might add, what we CHOOSE to learn. Ministers "preach" it, Psychologists and Clinical Social Workers "teach" it, but I only learned it last January (1998), even though I had been a Christian for most of my life and have several College Degrees, including a Masters Degree in [Clinical] Social Work.
I gave lip service to forgiveness, but did what I was trained to do "Forgive and forget." In January, 1998, I decided to spend some time doing a family "assessment" in my own family.
I did this assessment with my sisters and with my adult children. What a shock when I finally figured out that I had not forgiven myself for not forgiving my Dad! I had always believed (still do) that we can't forgive others until we can forgive ourselves. Forgiveness, like real love can be an illusive "thing."
Until we can FEEL it and act it out, it is just lip service. I am "acting out" what I believe, as we all do whether it be positive or negative, aggressive or passive aggressive. We all "act out" who we are and what we have learned. But I firmly believe that when we stop learning we stop growing and that life as we know it, ends.
I wrote Families of Steel(e) for my father, as a way to show the world that I truly forgive him for neglecting the spiritual and financial needs of my sisters and me and for the physical and emotional abuse that he inflicted on our mother. I thought I had forgiven him but the truth is, I did not want to forgive him, so I just "forgot" it. Thus, the underlying anger being that I was angry with myself for being so "imperfect" that I could not forgive myself for not forgiving Dad.
A few years ago, a friend and I were talking about southern women and the concept of "southern hospitality" and "gracious" southern ladies. I laughingly told her that now that I am older, I want to learn to be "gracious." We both laughed about it. Many people have told me that I am "gracious" but I never believed it. In order to be gracious, we have to understand the root or the origin of the word. As genealogists, we all know the importance of "roots." Or do we?
There are numerous definitions for the word GRACE and all it's synonymns but the root of the word, tracing it back to the known origin is charity/love. Forgiveness and love are synonomous- you can't have one with out the other. We cannot love others and be self centered and selfish. We can not even love ourselves until we can do something outside ourselves, that is "sacrificial."
God sacrificed his only "begotten son" that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but SHALL have everlasting life. I believe what Jesus said and I am working on loving him with all my heart, my soul and my mind, but in reality it is hard to do, just like it is hard to love some of my "neighbors" as myself. Jesus loves me Just as I Am, and he told me (and you too) what to do to have eternal life. He gave us the gift of AMAZING GRACE, which is UNCONDITIONAL LOVE. I am still working on it ("working out" or if you will "acting out" my salvation) which was given freely as a GIFT from my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the best role model that a kid from the sticks could ever have! I am still learning and still growing. I never took typing in school and I "type" with two fingers. I Also have degenerative arthritis, so this website is work, just like my research was work. I chose to do both. I choose to share it with anyone who needs it. I am practicing being "gracious" but it ain't easy! Grace be with you all!