Lessons May 9, 2017

Ancestry Lottery Sweepstakes

It’s easy to become intoxicated with the exotic, even where it concerns ancestral heritage.  Never is this more apparent than when observing people’s reactions to discovering how “ordinary” they are, as revealed by DNA tests.  Upon noticing the absence of Native American, Scandinavian (Viking) or some similarly trendy DNA artifacts; or the presence of evidence supporting genealogical links to cultures less valued by the individuals in question, the reactions I have witnessed range from rejection of scientific results (without countervailing evidence) to explosive anger.

Our powerlessness to choose the family, heritage, or era in which we are born is obvious and I look at it like a mandatory lottery, with one critical distinction:  the regular lottery is a zero sum game and the odds are most unfavorable for the desperate player.  In the ancestry sweepstakes, I don’t think of the Great Lottery Custodian as some sadistic entity, picking winners and losers according to her fickle fancy, but gifting all of us uniquely for the fulfillment of a specific purpose.  If we all get winning tickets, the question we must answer for ourselves is: what is our purpose?

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