Things That Sustain

Without going all confessional on you, I will report that the last few weeks were personally … trying. In dealing with situations crowding the plate, one by one, the trick has been to avoid pulling back and looking at the plate in its entirety, never a good idea.

And on those insomniac occasions when the plate threatened to overflow, I was surprised (truthfully? a bit shocked) at how instinctively I turned to family history for comfort. As a refuge, it went beyond the typical hard-luck Olympics I find myself playing with my ancestors, listening to their imaginary voices when I’m in a jam. (“You think you have it bad?! I’ll see your gripes and raise you a Famine!”)

Oddly,  the tasks I usually shun as mind-numbingly boring are the ones that came to the rescue. I edited footnotes. I double-checked FHL call numbers. I looked at long-ago, amateurish notes and spruced them up with upgraded data and decent citations.

Something was being set right.

Something looked a little better for my having been there.

Strange to say, it was comforting.

And I realized that this feeling, sometimes, is why I do this. There are other reasons at other times, lots of them. But as the whirlwind time recedes, it’s nice to see the benefits of dull genealogy housekeeping in the warmth of this unexpected light.