The Pastor’s Study
by: Rev. Alex Molozaiy, Pastor
Recently, I asked my mother to send me all of our family’s photo archive so that I could begin the process of scanning the photos and preserving them digitally. When the four large boxes arrived chock full of prints and slides, most without a date or in any discernible order, I was overwhelmed. I glanced through a number of them. Some memories came back like it was yesterday, but a lot more were ‘fuzzy.’ There were people I knew were family, but not sure exactly who they were or how they were related to me. Some photos had specific dates (thank you, Grandma Molozaiy!), but many did not. One thing that was clear: it was going to be a lot of detective work to fill in the blanks and organize my collection. Since starting this project, I can share with you that I’ve become quite handy with a magnifying glass and counting candles on birthday cakes!
In order to better identify people who are now long dead, I’ve been working in parallel on constructing my family tree and it has been truly fascinating. First of all, it’s amazing that so many records even exist and can be found with a little bit of sleuthing on the internet. Second, each one that I’ve discovered fills in a little bit more detail about the story of my family. Some family legends are confirmed, other stories not often told come to light once again. Most significantly, each answer can lead to three or four new questions. In this process it’s most important to remember that there isn’t one definitive answer to the question of “Where did I come from?,” but there are better answers and they lead to better questions. This research into my history is one of degrees – and one that can never be fully complete.
I think that this process of learning about my family is in many ways is similar to a life of faith. Namely, we’re trying to find our place in God’s unfolding story of salvation. There’s not one answer, just degrees of knowledge fueled by curiosity and the desire to understand. In learning the story of our ancestors in the Bible, we can find confirmation of some legends, refutation of others, heroes and a few unsavory characters, bring better definition to those ‘fuzzy’ areas of understanding, and discover that every better answer will lead us to a few more good questions. We go in knowing that we will never have a complete answer to our deepest questions (not in this life, anyway), but that our efforts will help us to have some understanding of where we’ve come from and what direction we ought to go from here. Let your curiosity and questions guide you on an exploration and I know that you will be surprised and empowered with what you find along the way.