The Tie that Binds

I would like to introduce you to eight gentlemen that I'm certain you have never met. Truthfully, I have never met them myself, but we have been getting acquainted from a distance. So, I would like for you to meet . . .

Theodore Columbus Hill (pictured)
John Hardin Holcomb
George Washington Campbell
William Eagleton Appleby
William Landrum Barnes
Charles Markely Taylor
Matthew Robert Nantz
Joseph A. Kannard

Impressive names, aren't they? Historical and almost presidential sounding. What else do they have in common? Well, they were all born between 1828 and 1865, moving east to west, scattered from Pennsylvania to Missouri. Oh, and they're all dead.

And there's one other common denominator - me. These guys all have me in common (and my siblings, though I'm sure I was their favorite). As you probably guessed, these gentlemen are my eight great great grandfathers. I've been working on our genealogy lately, and I've been able to fill in the blanks and meet some ancestors for the first time.

It's not so remarkable really. Everybody gets four greats, eight great-greats, sixteen three-timers, thirty-two, etc. To infinity and beyond. Whether you know their names or not, you have a great eight yourself, or a crazy eight, whatever fits your family. It wasn't just your Mom and Dad that brought you into this world. Eight couples living in diverse places started their families generations ago and their flesh and blood is part of yours today. Amazing, isn't it?

And here's the part that gets my attention. As long as this earth keeps turning, someday I will be on someone else's list. Will my great great grandchildren fill in my name, Andrew Joseph Hill, my birth and death, and wonder what kind of person I was? What was his story? What did he do that mattered? What made his life worth remembering?

Sobering thoughts as I look back with gratitude. I am part of a larger story, a longer journey, a wider family, and so are you. Makes me want to make the most of my little part in this great play. This is our time to shine, to serve, to share, to make a difference that will last, to tell of God's faithfulness from generation to generation.


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