Monday, November 14, 2016

Re-digging the old wells

A recent sermon at Millisle Baptist was based on a passage from Genesis 26. Verse 18 jumped off the page at me:

'And Isaac dug again the wells of water that had been dug in the days of Abraham his father, which the Philistines had stopped after the death of Abraham. And he gave them the names that his father had given them.'

The recovery and restoration of old things is a endless task, but an important one. They get forgotten or purposely neglected, and with the extraordinary pace of change in the past say 50 years or so a lot has been almost lost.

There remains a lot of really strong oral history among the older generation. It constantly hits me that unless these things are recorded, written down, then to future generations the stories may as well never have existed at all - they will be completely lost. It is hard to do, as with recording stories of older people there is an implicit message to them of their own mortality. It's one of the sensitivities that prevented me from recording my own mother in her latter years, body wrecked but mind pin-sharp. I wish now I had done it, but I knew at the time I just couldn't.

Keep reading old things. Keep bringing the stories back. Keep re-digging the wells.


(ps the sermon was theological, the need to re-visit the old foundational Gospel truths – not about recording local history!)


Etta said...

With you on this- have been recording the elders in the family over the last year or so while they 'mind' the old stories. This week have also been recording similar material for Kist in Ballywalter and Greyabbey - so much that could be lost...