By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector
In January of 2010 I wrote a column for Sanctity of Human Life Sunday about my mother Ruth. I shared how she gave birth to me out of wedlock when she possibly could have had an abortion. Remember that in the late 1950s there was a stigma towards women who had babies outside marriage.
Abortion was never an option for her. She gave birth to me and, with the help of her parents, raised me to the best of her ability. Over the years I wondered about my biological father, but she would never discuss him. It was taboo. I honored her wishes as best as I could but after I became an adult and had to fill out medical history forms I realized that I knew nothing about one side of my family tree. I usually just put my father was deceased and I had no information. For no other reason, I wanted to know if there was a genetic disease we might need to be aware of one day.
My mother died without ever telling me my biological father’s real name. I came to grips with that. She did what she felt was best for both of us. It doesn’t take away the love we had for each other.
My mother has been deceased for 24 years. My daughter, Joanna, who was only 9 when her grandmother died, is now grown and is a university librarian with a deep love for history. She is extremely interested in genealogy and has done extensive research on our family history.
With advances in technology (specifically DNA) and companies that deal in genealogy research, my daughter informed me (reluctantly because she didn’t know how I would react) that she probably has discovered who my biological father was. He was a “name” I had never heard before. He’s now deceased, but I have learned I have six half-brothers and sisters who live in the Midwest. For a boy who grew up as an only child, that was quite a shock.
I have done a lot of reflecting over the past few weeks and, to be honest, I’m still processing it in my mind. I have not made contact with them. They know (through one of their cousins) that I exist. I will let them decide if they want to contact me. I am sure they are as shocked as I was. I really don’t know at this point if we will ever make contact.
Though we are biologically related, they are not and never can be my “family.” Perhaps one day we may meet and even become friends, but, we can never be family in the truest sense of the word.
Family goes beyond bloodlines. The family on my mother’s side is the family that cared for me and loved me through the years. Many other people have become “family” to me over the years. We may not be related by blood, but we are family in every sense of the word.
More than ever, this experience has helped me understand in a new way what Easter represents.
Human bloodlines, though important and help define who we are, really do not matter when all is said and done. The only blood that matters is the blood Jesus Christ shed on the cross so that “whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but shall have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
The bloodline of Jesus Christ is the only one that will matter in eternity. In heaven we all will be “kinfolk” because we’re all related to Jesus through His blood.
As Easter Sunday approaches on April 1, be grateful for the family God has given you — blood related or not. But more importantly, make sure you and the people you love are covered by the blood of Jesus Christ. And, then share that good news with others so they can be “relatives” in heaven one day. Have a blessed Easter!