Monday, September 03, 2012

Ancestors Who Don't Deserve Honoring?

I've been making plans to expand my ancestral altar; it currently is small and only represents general family lines, so I want to honor some of the individuals I know of, such as great-grandparents.

But then I realized: my maternal great-grandmother had 14 children. The first seven, including my grandfather, were by a man who simply got up and left her destitute. The next seven were by her next husband, who refused to raise my grandfather (the eldest) because it was a son that wasn't his. My father wandered between two fathers that didn't want him until he joined the army, underage.

The second husband, I am told, made a very heart-felt apology after my grandfather returned, and amends were somewhat made. He was apparently a very hard worker and a good person, and deeply regretted the mistake. This was from my grandmother, who obviously would know, and apparently felt he was honorable. I would be happy to offer him a place at my altar.

But my actual blood-relative? He was a dishonorable person.

I am sure, of course, that my ancestors are a myriad of good, bad, and ugly, but this has struck me profoundly. I don't ascribe to the Christian concept of forgiveness, but I tend to be a lenient person when I don't have all sides of a story, and I believe that sometimes doing bad things may be necessary. But leaving children destitute in the Depression? I have a hard time justifying that.

Ancestor worshipers: how do you deal with this? Opinions? Options?

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