I’ve been thinking lately about the prophet Malachi, who ended his record with these words: “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.”
These words have been repeated in every dispensation of time, to every people. They are Epic. I love the definition of The Spirit of Elijah given by Russell M. Nelson: “The Spirit of Elijah is the Holy Ghost bearing witness of the divine nature of the family.” We often talk about the Spirit of Elijah in relation to Family History work. I feel it. I feel my heart turning to my fathers and ancestors and I feel that they are aware of me when I notice them.
Today I am thinking about Malachi’s words, repeated in this dispensation, where he concludes: “. . . and he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers. If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming.” (D&C 2)
“Utterly Wasted.” “Leaving neither root nor branch.” “Smitten with a curse.” Hmmm. Yesterday in my Family History class we talked about finding and recording the histories of other family members. Sid Lieberman, a nationally-acclaimed storyteller came to the Roots Tech Conference in Salt Lake last March. He said, “Everyone has a right to exist.” Then he encouraged us to “Be a witness for someone who otherwise would not be known.” To me this means: SAVE A LIFE BY PRESERVING A MEMORY OF SOMEONE. To paraphrase Donald Davis, “If we don’t remember someone, it’s as if they never lived.” (See Nov. 2 post.)
This reminds me of a statement made by Ronald O. Barney, of the Church History Department: If you do not write your story, your name will be obliterated from the human record and you will not speak from the grave. You will not have any influence on those who come after you. Those who write about the things they have done and learned in life have a huge impact on posterity. Write your story. You have overcome things your children need to know about.”
So, today I am stewing on all these thoughts, wondering if the “utter waste” the prophets speak of might be lives lived and not learned from. If I were to live and die, and a generation or two from now, influence no loved one for good, my life would be a waste. I can do something about that every day. I can write and record and preserve my thoughts and experiences. AND I can do the same for others in my family whose lives I’m discovering and learning about. Their lives are not wasted on me.
Another reason for writing my fingers to the bone.