Truman Lamb, father of hundreds.
This is the man who chose not to exist, and as a result I have the life I now live. Or more like, he chose to continue existing as the rest of the world accepted a number. A number that he correctly predicted to someday become an identification number.
I never met him, and I really never knew much about him until I decided to embrace my heritage these last couple years. And even then, I still don’t know enough about my great-grandfather. I know that he was by far an imperfect man. His first marriage was a failure. He had sixteen children. He was a hard father. Many knew him, and I’m sure many hated him because of his peculiar stances and beliefs.
I know nothing of the sort of man he was; if he had a sense of humor or if he had hobbies aside from his “eccentric” biblical and political beliefs.
I know that some of his children loved him. And some of them despised him. I do not know if I would have loved or hated him. But … I do know the Lamb family. We are full of difficult individuals, each of us with our own unique, strong, heated personality. And I love all of my relations, so, I’m sure I would have seen past my great-grandfather’s imperfections and loved him, too. And yet, does one ever know?
But know him or not, this I do know. Everything he did has affected hundreds, possibly even thousands, of people. Negatively or positively, that may be the question … except, is it really? It has been up to us, each of his descendants, to react to his actions in ways that blessed or hindered ourselves.
Some hated my great-grandfather, as I have said. They hated him so much that they perceived themselves to be abused by him. They chose to see themselves as victims and they embraced all he hated.
Now, just because Truman Lamb hated it doesn’t mean it ought to have been hated. I’m not saying everything he believe was worthy of preserving for heritage’s sake alone. Every man should be questioned. We must find truth for ourselves and know what should be and shouldn’t be pursued, loved, desired.
There were those that loved nearly everything Truman Lamb stood for. They feared what he feared and hated what he hated. Many of them never left the shadow of who he was. Many never increased their own talents, gifts. Many never lived their own lives, never glorified God in their own beings.
There were those who simply wished to live, and thought that the only way to do so was to forget the man.
There were those who confused by loyalty and desire struggled their entire lives to do more without causing offense to the ghost of the man that said, “Do as I have commanded you to do.”
His command, likened unto the commandment given to the Rechabites by their grandfather in Jeremiah 35.
And then … there was my family. Four generations later, every decision my great-grandfather made in celebrating Saturday Sabbath, eating clean meats, refraining from alcohol, and being wary of the government and their systems still remained with our core beings.
And it all begged for an answer, for each of to decide, “Is your heritage a blessing or a curse?”
For a time I was young and did not care. I loved my wild, large, colorful family. But then desires of my own called to me to find life. I had never met my great-grandfather, but echoes of his words whispered throughout his children and grandchildren. Sometimes his words sounded like hauntings, commanding me to die without having seen God’s world.
But other times I was able to see past the confused crowd of my own searching family members, to the reality of the choice—my choice.
Would I use what I had been given to my advantage, or would I hate this thing? How would I perceive this heritage? Would I be a victim? Or could I be whatever I wanted? Could I embrace my past and my future as one?
My great-grandfather paved a path for me, but God had created the split in the road. My grandparents made sure that I remembered the path, but God is the one that made sure I saw and knew that there were flowers meant for my fingers. My parents birthed me and taught me to walk on the path, but it was I that had to choose how I would walk this path and where I would go on it.
To love the path, or to envy another that was not mine? To see myself as a slave of Truman Lamb’s actions, or to see myself as a free woman able to love my past enough to guard it and create the future of my choosing?
One man made hundreds. One man made decisions. But those hundred who came from him have each found happiness and bitterness according to their own forming. We have been individually responsible for the negative or positive lives we have lived. His choices were mere gifts or tools, but not determinations.
I chose to see my heritage as positive. I decided to love my life. I have never been a victim, but blessed beyond imagination.
Yes, I’ve had to fight for what I’ve desired. But is that not the whole of what it means to be American?
Our dreams are not rights: they are the results of hard earned rights put into practice and pursued whole-heartedly.
So, yes. I did not know Truman Lamb. But without him this blog would not exist. Without him I would not be who I am. Without him many, many people would not be. Without him, and people like him, this world would be a different place.
In a way, he’s almost like a real life Dystopian character. Doesn’t he even look like some boy from a movie or book ready to conquer the corruption around him, though all think him crazy and rebellious?
What about you? Who are you because of your ancestors, and who are you because of your decisions?