ancestral remembrance

The Artist’s Parents by Felix Vallotton

We achieve some measure of adulthood when we recognize our parents as they really were, without sentimentalizing or mythologizing, but also without blaming them unfairly for our imperfections. Maturity entails a readiness, painful and wrenching though it may be, to look squarely into the long dark places, into the fearsome shadows. In this act of ancestral remembrance and acceptance may be found a light by which to see our children safely home.
~ Carl Sagan & Ann Druyan
(Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors)

14 thoughts on “ancestral remembrance”

    1. Funny how that works, isn’t it, Frank? When we’re tiny they seem like perfect gods, then as teens we are disillusioned, and finally with maturity we can love them as the flawed but wonderful people they are.

  1. Thank you, Barbara. I do hear the ring of truth in that quote. Perhaps we can only truly mature when we forgive our ancestors for their failings, learn from them, and refuse to perpetuate them on the next generation.

    1. You’re welcome, Debbie. For the most part, I think our ancestors meant well in spite of those failings. I only hope our descendants will be as forgiving of our failings. Each generation seems to have its own to reckon with.

    1. I often think how great it would be if we could have had our current wisdom and maturity back when we were young and inexperienced, but this is the way it has always been, and probably the way it will continue to play out.

  2. “…this act of ancestral remembrance and acceptance…” So profoundly true. It’s a gift to be able to see your parents as the adults they were through the lens of being an adult yourself.

    1. It is the gift of maturity, isn’t it? I remember when I started to realize that the poor choices I made were my own decisions, and not to be blamed on my parents. Then it was easier to see them as they really were.

Would love to read your thoughts!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Discover more from In the Woods

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading