You know, I really needed this visual image of "hope" today. I can talk about hope. I can believe in hope. But it is really hard to hang on to hope. I love this image! Because I need hope that is big enough to carry me right now. I am so glad that this friend stepped out and took a chance on a special gift for me. This will be a cherished reminder on my mantel for a long time.
Later in the day, I had an interesting phone call that was the culmination of a few weeks of internet searches. I have blogged before about these people.... My four times great grandparents.
As a matter of fact, when I blogged about them, I found the book with the information that started my recent search. You can read their story in my blog post from September 22, 2014. I actually began looking for the cemetery where Lars Rockne may be buried. Since he died in 1852 it was not an easy find. I ended up at the McHenry County Historical Society. They have volunteer researchers who dig through their records to try to find the information that you need. I gave him all of the information that I had (all contained in the family record book of the Rockne family) and really hoped that we would find something. There is a very old "Scandinavian Cemetery" that dates to around that era, but there was no record of Lars Rockne. My conversation today, sadly confirmed my fears that there is no record of Lars in the township or county records. Considering that there were only several hundred people in the area, and the records were not very well maintained, this is no surprise. The Norwegian Lutheran Church where Lars was buried was gone in the early 1900's. The cemetery that was near the church was "moved" to the Scandinavian Cemetery. However, it is extremely possible that Lars grave was never marked or recorded. And he died of Cholera during an epidemic. So he may have been buried away from the actual cemetery. I will be receiving some pictures and documents from the Historical Society that will show me the location of the old church. I will be visiting that location at some time in the future.
This couple journeyed across an ocean, and half way across a continent in the HOPE of a new and better life for themselves and their children. And even though he only lived 2 years in America and she only lived 7 years, their descendants fill a very large family tree. They trusted that Jesus would take care of them and lead them. They experienced much loss and hardship. But they held on to hope. I love that this reminder came today.
Jesus, thank you for good friends that find the exact right way to touch our heart. Your hope, Jesus, is what sustains us during this time of sadness and grief. Thank you for hope that rises over us and lifts us out of heaviness and darkness. Thank you for volunteers who help us make sense out of our history. What an important reminder that our past generations moved forward with hope. Holy Spirit, thank you for helping me hold on to hope. Amen