From Thomas C. Goodhart
History can sometimes seem like it was so long ago. Yet, it is often more present and real in the here and now than we realize. I said something to this effect in an earlier entry here at The Twelve and I’m pondering it once again this week. Mulling over in particular, our immigrant history. With extremely few exceptions, our history—truly, our story—is an immigrant story. To me this seems to be a reoccurring theme here on this blog every time we encounter those aspects that bring us back to our “Dutch Reformed” roots, touching upon not only theology, but culture and history as well, speaking to inform our identity and who we are. And I appreciate that! We have also spoken directly about our immigrant history, Jason’s reflections on “America” most recently, among others.
For myself, I don’t often think of my personal story as that infused with that of the immigrant. Most obviously because I was born in this country and so were most of my family members. Much of my family tree goes back some centuries before we took-off from Europe. And with a name like Goodhart, it’s hard not to imagine there may have been an ancestor or two somewhere even in Puritan New England. (Although, as far as I’m aware, there wasn’t…) So I often think of myself in terms of the pretty average, nondescript, from middle America type. And I’d venture to guess that I’m not alone in that way of thinking, that it has probably become rather commonplace to assimilate—I use that verb intentionally—one’s own family story without necessarily thinking in terms of the immigrant narrative. Whether your name is Smith, Jones, or Schmidt, or Ramirez, Hassan, Patel, or Lin, many of us especially after a few generations in the US or Canada, do not quickly identify our story as an immigrant story.