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Archive for July 7th, 2021

No one is an island, so says … someone.

Though it is easy to think of ourselves as independent of anyone else, our human race is diversely interconnected. Our lives are the products of those who have gone before us, of those who we do not even know.

I recently read something titled Ancestral Mathematics :

In order to be born, you needed:

  • 2 parents
  • 4 grandparents
  • 8 great-grandparents
  • 16 second great-grandparents
  • 32 third great-grandparents
  • 64 fourth great-grandparents
  • 128 fifth great-grandparents
  • 256 sixth great-grandparents
  • 512 seventh great-grandparents
  • 1,024 eighth great-grandparents
  • 2,048 ninth great-grandparents

For you to be born today from 12 previous generations, you needed a total sum of 4,094 ancestors over the last 400 years.

— Lyrical Zen

Obviously this is just simply the mathematics, the biological numbers that our physical existence is dependent upon. This list says nothing of those who stepped up, or stepped in, who had no familial DNA. Thus increasing the numbers not just to be born, but to survive and even thrive.

What is fascinating about these numbers, to me, is that we are all part of something bigger than ourselves … read that again …

we are all part of something bigger than ourselves

Think of your own ancestral mathematics … how many can you name? As I asked the same of myself, I could only name thirteen!

In Hebrews 11 we read of the heros of the Bible. It is the hall of fame of faithful to God.

The chapter opens with a definition of faith :

“Now faith is the certainty of things hoped for, a proof of things not seen.”

Then, an explanation of what faith does for us in our lives:

“By faith
we understand that the world has been created 
by the word of God
so that what is seen 
has not been made out of things that are visible.”
(v. 3)

We are what is seen. Those who came before us are the unseen, the invisible. Though they no longer walk this Earth, their contribution, if nothing else, is our very existence. We are what comes after the equal sign. And, we will contribute to the existence to others, eventually becoming the unseen.

Think for a moment – How many struggles? How many battles? How many difficulties? How much sadness? How much happiness? How many love stories? How many expressions of hope for the future? – did your ancestors have to undergo for you to exist in this present moment…

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Karla Sullivan

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