Faith, Family

Fallen Branches

I will utter hidden things, things from of old… things our ancestors have told us.
We will not hide them from their descendants;

we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord,
his power, and the wonders he has done…
so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born,
and they in turn would tell their children. Then they would put their trust in God…

Psalm 78:2-7

My mom called this morning to let me know that my Great-Uncle Calvin passed away last night. At 95 years of age it was hardly an unexpected event, not earth shattering, sorrowful for only a handful of close family members and friends.

From what I understand it was a gentle death. Like the winding down of an old grandfather clock he just sort of slowed to a stop — life and then silence.

But for me the news resounded like the cracking of a limb from a mighty oak tree as it separates from the trunk without warning and crashes to the forest floor.


Calvin Scharer was the youngest and last surviving of eight children born to Swiss immigrant farmers. Born in the early 1900’s, he experienced a life now only seen in movies. Growing up milking cows, fishing in clear creeks and walking miles to a one-room schoolhouse, he and his peers saw, within the space of one lifetime, the advent of the both the automobile and the internet.

A family of larger than life characters and amazing story tellers, their legacy to us is laughter, resilience, fortitude, love and most of all… faith.

When all is said and done, all else fades: ashes to ashes, dust to dust. The old farmhouse no longer stands. Sports records have long since been broken. Even their stories will be forgotten in time. Faith however, is eternal.

I am a recipient of that legacy of faith. I am the great-great granddaughter of those Swiss immigrants who tilled the soil that would become my heritage. Love planted a seed that would become the Frank Christian Scharer family – now a mighty oak whose branches stretch across this great Land from New York to California.

As Calvin took his final breath and passed into glory, a mighty branch fell to the ground. The love will continue I have no doubt. But will the heritage of faith? Will we pass on the eternal legacy with which we have been blessed?

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