When I was a teenager, I often wondered where my ancestors came from? I recall my late Grandfather speaking of the Choctaw Tribes which at one time lived along the banks of the beautiful Chickasawhay River, and to which my GG Grandfather was member. I recall how my Pap, even on a Cottonmill worker’s salary, about once a year used to send a small donation to St. Jospeh Indian School, I suppose it had something to do with his love and respect for the Native American people. He always spoke kindly about them.
As the nation seemed to glory in the “ethnic” diversity of its citizens, I could only guess at my orgins. I wondered what people had carved into my past, a history that had brought me to this day. A people that valued G_d, family, friendship, freedom, work ethics, music, and who from all accounts, were exceptionally law abiding. I figured that a large part of my own self understanding would come from two areas, my spiritual and my physical ancestory. In 1983, I sought the land and the people of my spiritual heritage, and journeyed to Israel. There, I found myself at the Western Wall, while upon my ears fell prayers in the Hebrew tongue. I didn’t realize at the time that this would be a seed that would grow to take root in the fertile soil of my heart, mind, and soul. That day at the Western Wall, I was given a Messianic heart. Years passed and in 1985, there was another area of self understanding that still remained distant and hidden, my bloodline. In August of that year, I attended a family reunion that was to answer that question. My Fathers surname, as well as that of my Grandfather on my Mother’s side, was unmistakenly “Scottish”. In 1986, I was invited to Scotland, to the residence of the Chief of the Clan where I was to give aid in the preparation of a large Clan/family gathering. I flew into Glasgow on one chilly afternoon and for 40 days took my fill of all things Scottish. As I frequented the pubs and byways, I knew these were my people, I could see the face of my grandfathers in many of them. Ancestory is important, understanding it is the key to understanding one’s self. Indeed, we are products of the values of those who went before us. So, if I sometimes shed a tear when I hear Gaelic or Hebrew voices lifted in song, understand there is a reason. It is like the stirring of a distant bagpipe, haunting, calling, bringing me into remembrance of days gone by, and leaves me with a greater appreciation for having come this way. For no one but G_d alone could have given two gifts so enduring, so complete. Perhaps next year in Jerusalem, with my Pipes in hand….. *
Mississppi’s Legendary Bagpipe & Drum Band, friends all… http://www.fatherofwaters.com
USA Based Clan Carmichael Organization http://www.carmichael.org