Being Open-Minded & Not Making Assumptions
WEEKLY ORACLE CARD READING
Why being a know-it-all prevents miracles, and why DNA tests don’t tell the whole story
This week I learned an important lesson that pertains to this timely topic. If you’ve been reading my blog, you’ve been following a lot of my personal story as I’ve shared more than usual in the past few months. We’ve had a lot of requests for me to share more, so here goes. To bring you up to speed, if you didn’t read the one about me and getting my DNA test done, you would have learned that my DNA test shocked me because it appeared that the lack of a certain Ashkenazi marker meant my mom wasn’t actually Jewish. Or, so I concluded. I mean DNA doesn’t lie, right?
Although I was raised Christian, my mom dropped a doozy of a surprise on us when our family lost everything and after a few cocktails told me we were actually Jewish, (or she was) which meant that from now on we were, which was very confusing. After a whole lifetime of hiding secrets of what happened to her in WW2, although we did get snippets, she decided to finally tell us all of it. Apparently, her father was separated from her mom when the Nazis began their racist campaign in Germany and had escaped from Berlin to Paris. He joined the resistance movement and came back to rescue my mom one day to take her back to France with him. Her mom had been killed by a bomb and she had been adopted by a family who worked for her grandfather. Unfortunately, the rescue went wrong and he was picked up by the SS at their door and was sent to the death camps and killed in Dachau. I had dreams about the Holocaust when I was little and saw in detail things that happened in the camps. It all made sense when she told me 20 years later the truth of what I saw.
When I took the DNA test I expected to see a major percentage of Ashkenazi and was so shocked to see I got 0%, which coupled with some genetic research I began 11 years ago around her family threw me for a loop. Could her birth father be someone else? Who was the man in my dreams? It made me question so much of the story that held so much sway over mine and made me want to dive in deeper. It was disturbing but fascinating to learn all this.
What happens when you make assumptions when you think you know something? You come to conclusions that may be wrong. It made me think of how people say anything these days without really knowing what they’re talking about. Nowadays people have a hard time distinguishing between fact and opinion. When some or all of the facts are missing you may very well come to a conclusion about something or someone that turns out to be wrong.
My sister had not yet done her test. I had told her about what I discovered and bewildered she went and did hers. There it was—Sephardic not Ashkenazi! My grandfather was part Spanish/Jewish. I had no idea two siblings from the same parents could have different results. Of course, doing more research now we see clearly that this is true. A DNA test is not a complete picture of ancestry unless other people in your family take theirs too.
I had spent a few months in an identity crisis because of information that was incomplete. I’ve wanted to understand where I come from and who are my ancestors. Science doesn’t lie, right? But then it’s not the complete picture, in the end, is it? You can’t scientifically measure the love and the blood, sweat, and tears that run through your roots. You can’t scientifically know the suffering and the loss, nor the joy and the awe of the lives that have shaped your own, and in some cases given up so yours can survive. Science can’t show you a marker to measure hatred or racism or community and connection. Can DNA show meaning? No, but it can point to its possibilities.
I am so glad we did this test for, in the end, we both concluded that our family roots are sacred to us. Our stories are rich and sacred and true as we know them and also we will never know everything because we can only find pieces of the puzzle in our search for identity and meaning. But the life force of our parents, and theirs and so on, the spirits of our ancestors call us to remember not only what was good, but remember other things we never want to see repeated in the world. Today, like it or not, we’re in a world where we dare not fall asleep for too long nor ever take the good for granted. We must choose it daily with awareness and refuse to participate in what we know is wrong.
You may not have a DNA story but you might have read a gossip magazine or listened to someone complain about someone else and decided, well if they said it, it must be true! Don’t believe everything you read or hear. One of my favorite chapters in The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz is about not making assumptions.
Today I commit to humbly keeping open, staying in beginner mind and continuing to educate myself so I keep doing better. I’m living eyes wide open and listening to others and I’m committed to changing things as I understand them better. We really are in this messy hairball of life together. (I know I said something similar last week.) And, remember that opinions are not facts, and even facts might be incomplete. Stay learning. Stay open. Keep learning.
Ok, now it’s your turn! Tell us a story of family discovery or, just let us all know how you are and perhaps share a reminder of goodness you may have witnessed this week.