“If love is the treasure, laughter is the key.” ~Yakov Smirnoff
“I’d much rather look for dead people than do all this stuff. They are so much more fun!” I said as Judy watched me struggling with the locked closet door. “This kind of stuff drives me crazy.”
Oops! Did I say that?
“This stuff” that I’m no good at is the keeping track of keys.
Jackie exited the main room and went in search of our savior-in-waiting-key that she thought might be hiding in my desk in my office across the hall.
Someone had locked one of the closets in the Family History Center, probably thinking they were helping. Wouldn’t want anyone to steal those pedigree charts and family groups sheets now, would we? I’m territorial when it comes to the Center. It’s mine. And if I want to leave the closets unlocked, well, I will.
I quickly turned around to see Judy’s reaction for fear I’d offended her somehow. I noticed how sudden my reaction to my own words were. I’d become aware that my humor isn’t for everyone, and I’d started to question everything I said in the past few months.
Nope. She wasn’t offended. She was bent over laughing.
I can’t tell you how refreshing that was. She got it! She kept nodding her head through her laughter, relating to the life of people like us who’ll stay on the computer for hours….LOOKING FOR DEAD PEOPLE!
The more we talked about how we spend our time, the more absurd it sounded, and the harder we laughed. There’s something that happens to a person when they start working in family history. Dealing with death every day (the life and death of ancestors whose life we’re researching) makes a person see the world differently. I don’t know why, but everything gets joyful and problems aren’t so important or impossible to overcome.
I guess I’m talking about perspective. Not everyone sees life with the “don’t sweat the small stuff” perspective. Some people are very scared. I can tell pretty quickly if someone’s easily offended by the unique point of view and sense of humor genealogists / family historians share. But I can’t change them. And I’m done trying.
I’ve spent weeks trying very hard to walk the politically correct, don’t-step-on-anyone’s-toes walk.
I’d locked up my heart and buried the key to it in the “fear of rejection” pile. I don’t like locks or keys. I understand that some things are too valuable to trust others not to steal. But when it comes to my heart, no key is necessary except for the innermost recesses of it. Only some people get access to the depth of me. Over the years I’ve gone from the scared and extremely shy girl I was as a child to someone who (I thought) is comfortable with who she is.
But this staying locked up and scared is really hard work. For days I’ve sat in clouds of depression because, for me, laughter came at a price – a price I was scared to pay. I’ve concluded what I knew years ago to be true:
People who deal with life and death, especially family historians and genealogists, are a rare breed. Thier humor is deeper than most because they deal with reality differently. They don’t side-step it. They look human nature in the face and find the beauty and the chuckle. They are able to see who they are – their weaknesses, and strengths and find meaning and hope because they see patterns in the lives of their ancestors. They don’t get bogged down by being too short, fat, skinny, rich, poor, smart or ignorant because they are engrossed in the art of learning about and accepting people for who they were and what they had to overcome in order to “be”. That’s very freeing.
Family history is a life-changing endeavor. It changes us from the inside out in the best of all possible ways. It’s quite a mystery that I see repeated every time someone starts putting together their family tree. They are brought to life by the dead!
So, to wrap things up, I’ve found my tribe – where I belong and where I feel the most joy. If you want to find me, and the key to my heart, I’ll be at the Family History Center bridging the gap between the living and the dead, and having fun with my friends. And if you want to come, the door’s always open! But be prepared; we laugh about everything.
P.S. The key to the closet door is still missing. Might be taking hinges off or looking for a lock-picker.
P.P.S. Follow this link to see a 12 Most post featuring some awesome social media people whose faces I painted on potatoes! http://12most.com/2013/05/24/potato-portraits-of-social-media-goodness/