They came looking for their ancestors.

They didn’t find them here.

Instead they ended up leaving gifts: their fascinating conversation in our living room, the adventures of their search… and a copy of the diary.

They promised it that day, and sent it soon after, with accompanying photos of characters within. What a treasure trove of 19th century life! One young woman’s daily duties and experiences, joys and hand-wringing angsts and sorrows.

What drama unfolded as I read!  So much, in fact, that the ancestor-seeker questioned sharing on a genealogy site.  It held family secrets, ugly and hard.

I read accounts of rugged daily life…

of teaching alone in a one-room school way out in nowhere—at surprising seasons of the year, of unruly pupils—and one scary parent!…

of tragedy, and villainous in-laws, and continual toilsome duties within her own parents’ household (evidently a stage coach stop on a road well-traveled for the time),

of having to keep going, working, working, even when so miserably sick (with what proved serious dental abscess, long undetected—which the dentist struggled to locate, thus pulling tooth after tooth mistakenly, quite altering her beautiful face).

But a light ray beamed through all the sad and broken and weary and worn. A weekly joy. Her words echo and re-echo for me. When Sunday arrived, her diary sighed huge:

“Oh, the blessed Sabbath!”

I could feel her relief and release.

There she found rest, and restoration, and Christian companionship in worship, the times they could make the trip to church, and lovely hours of quiet, unhurried and unburdened.

“Oh, the blessed Sabbath!”

May we savor it ourselves.


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20 thoughts on ““Oh, the Blessed…!” (Treasure in an Antique Diary)

    1. Yes, “Firefly,” I love the beauty and wisdom we can often get through these glimpses into the past. Thanks for visiting and commenting.

  1. That is so wonderful to receive a gift like that and be reminded how we’ve been blessed and should to cherish our Father’s day of rest…

    1. Yes, Floyd, her appreciation of it helped me appreciate it more. (She never knew when she wrote that!)

  2. Dear Sylvia
    I can just imagine how interesting this diary has been for you. And I agree; there is nowhere else I would rather be than in Jesus, our eternal Sabbath.
    Blessings XX

    1. It was fascinating, Mia. Many surprising things in it. And yes, I agree, no better place to be than in Him, our Sabbath in a bigger sense. Blessings to you!

  3. Yes, the good bad and worse could be discovered in all our genealogies, as it was in the line of Christ as well. Thanks for sharing this delightful story of search for ancestors.

    1. Is that ever true, Hazel! Just like there’s the same mix in ourselves. All in need of grace and redemption!

    1. Yes, Shelly, this very weekend, I hope! A very blessed Sabbath to you!

    1. Thank you much, Shelly. Hope others are blessed by it as those words in that diary blessed me.

  4. Rest is a consistent theme in the words I am reading today.
    Peace and good to you in all you do, particularly as the Sabbath draws nigh.
    So grateful to have found you at Janis’ Sunday Stillness.
    Peace and good to you in Jesus’ name.

    1. I was just reading about fatigue as a major reason we women blow our top, Chelle, and that is reminding me how important rest is and how little we value it today. We think we can get more done without it, I guess, but I think we really accomplish less. Fatigue makes me drop and lose things, get confused, and sometimes make a major mess. Not only does all that make a lot of catch up work, but without enough rest, I/we are more likely to get sick, and then we get enforced rest—and farther behind. 24/7 just doesn’t work! I’m with the diary writer when she says, “Oh, the blessed Sabbath!” What a great gift it is from a loving Father! Blessings on yours!

  5. I’ve done some ancestral digging and found two letters that were written by an ancestor in the 1850’s to his nephew. In the letters, he’s telling his nephew what he knows of their family’s genealogy, ironically! It’s always so fascinating to read the words and life-experiences of people who lived in such a long-ago time. Life must have been so hard for them, like the woman you tell us about above, Sylvia. I’m grateful that dentists know how to find an abscess these days! I’m thankful for that and so much more that we all have now in our modern world.

  6. Beth, that was one of the biggest things that I came to appreciate, reading this diary: dental xrays! My, it did seem like a rugged life, and not that long ago. We don’t know how good we have it most of the time, do we? Thanks for stopping to comment.

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