Be Proud Enough To Stand

Be Proud Enough To Stand

I found this little picture via a tweet early this morning… and it prompted all kinds of thoughts. Be proud of who I am was the thought that loomed large!

Be proud of who you are – we are a combination of our genetic value, and a representation of all historical pieces that make you who you are today. I’m proud to be my parents child. I’m proud to be born a Texan. I’m literally thrilled to look deep in the family tree and track who I am by where we have all come from.

I’m proud to have had a career in IT, pastor a church, be called a church planter, and very proud of my Christian roots. I’m more than proud of my wife and all she means to me. I’m proud of my children and the mate choices. I’m proud to be a granmpa….

I’m proud to have my age shared at the drop of a hat… 62! And still aging just fine, thank you very much! I’m proud to have a marriage that has lasted, when many see it as an unusual thing. 43 years this July!

I’m proud to have good siblings that I know will be there the day I need them the most, as they know the same of me. Equally, I’m proud of all my extended family, even if you sometimes feel like you’re the black sheep of some family dynamic.

We should be proud of who we are today, and knowing that life isn’t over and there’s plenty of time to accomplish even more accolades, awards, and achievements.

My son asked a question of me. Yesterday. I’m not sure of the answer, and pointed him to some others that may know more. I know that (supposedly) on one side of the family tree there are Choctaw roots, and on the other are Cherokee roots, and way back further than any of us know, someone came over from the old country to plant the family tree on this continent. On my bride’s side of the family there is supposedly a connection back to Davy Crockett, and even all the way back to Napoleon Bonaparte.

But here’s the thought for today. Although my legal last name may say “Gurley”, I know that the roots of my personal tree include last names like Simmons, Walters, and Parrish. I have relatives with these last names and they are part of an even differently varied set of roots than I.

I’m proud to have a unique name that almost comes in the category of Johnny Cash’s song, “A Boy Named Sue.” I do not remember much ribbing in my younger days, but there are some who make fun of just about anything and Gurley is one such word. In fact, I often see the name spelled “Girlie”… Just saying. I’m proud of my heritage that penned this name on my frame.

My family is spread far and wide, and many of them are total unknowns. I know I have family an hour or two north of me, and I remember one of them from my youth – but we’ve been over 50 years separated and I could not point him out in a crowd. Over in Idaho there is a branch of the tree that comes from my paternal grandmother’s side of the family. I think. Mom and dad have met them and pointed out the cemetery where some are buried, but I have not yet met that branch.

Track the name Gurley and you find little towns and hollows all across the nation. From Nebraska to Alabama, and yes, even in Texas. I think it may have been absorbed by Waco. [Source] I’ve been to each of these places… including Gurley Hollow, Tennessee… I’m still hoping to make it to Gurley, Australia, about 2 hours north of Sydney…

We all understand that our past may include some history that we are not proud of, and in today’s world we are more enlightened than prior generations. But when you realize that it is simply part of your past, and not your present or future, then my mind tells me to accept that none of us were, or even now are, perfect. All kinds of mistakes were made, and are being made today, and will be made tomorrow. That’s life.

Through the years I’ve collected Gurley memorabilia… My first was a ball cap from Gurley Motors, Gallup, NM… We were driving through on vacation when my son was barely a year old. About 1979, I suspect. An interesting trip that included Las Vegas, the Hoover Dam, and the Grand Canyon. (1977 GMC Pickup, Sea Mist Green, 305 v8… bench seats)

And everywhere I go I’m quick to take pictures of the places and things with my namesake attached…

Since then, I’ve added memorabilia of objects, history, music and books to my collection. Some are from current family members with the same last name as mine, others I picked up in my travels, or via eBay. I even have some artifacts from my Uncle Alton Gurley from his time in the service. He was a Pearl Harbor the day it was attacked.

I’m proud of where I was born… Baytown, Texas. And this morning, the Houston Chronicle published a photo essay of the town where my parents, sibling, and son were born. [Source] There was an oil boom back in the early 1900’s and the sleepy village became a booming oil town. Much of it’s economy still revolves around this boom that has been over 100 years in the making.

Maybe part of why I write today relates to the moments of thought as I woke, but the main reason is that we should be proud of who we are, who we have become, or who we are working at becoming. A thought from a tweet yesterday sort of paints the picture I hope to leave you with today.

“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

You may not stand on the shoulders of a great history of people that you can identify, or identify with, but you do have the opportunity to work at becoming the person you want to be.

Be proud of who you are!