#182 A timeline reaching back to the 1800s in Macedonia
Almost a century ago, a young Macedonian couple traveled across the Atlantic to a land of hope and opportunity. They stood in a line on Ellis Island and gave their names as best they could — “Son of Dame” the husband said in his native tongue — and the clerk wrote “Damoff.” They settled in Mansfield, Ohio, where they made a home and raised a family. The mother was illiterate, the father worked a factory job, and neither parent spoke English, but they got what they came for. The children grew up American. Seven of ten survived to adulthood to raise their own families, marrying and giving in marriage. They were fruitful and multiplied and the branches spread across the land.
This past weekend we returned to the roots. From California, Maryland, Texas, Washington, Indiana, Georgia, Florida, and Alabama, we gathered again in Mansfield, including three of the five surviving siblings from that first generation. We ate good food, told stories, laughed, played, and ate some more. But more than anything we simply belonged. To a history. To each other.
I married into this family, was grafted into the tree. But my name is on that timeline, and my children’s names, and grand-children’s names. I think of that young immigrant couple and wonder how they imagined their descendents’ future. Would they have chosen me for their grandson?
Then I remember another tree and another grafting. Another family and another Name. The blood that doesn’t flow through my veins, but makes me His daughter. My name was written in His book before the foundation of the world. He always knew I would be His.
We who bear His Name are family. We belong to His story. We belong to each other. And some day we’ll gather for reunion, from every tribe, nation, and tongue.
The timeline will finally reach its end. And our Father, He will welcome us Home.