I want to begin with a little history lesson. In fact, I want to begin with quite the history lesson! This lesson is about the Matthews Family and where it very well may be traced back. So, the first and original spelling of Matthews is Mathew, obviously stemming from the Gospel of St. Mathew (spelled today as Matthew) of the New Testament in the Christian Bible. They were said to have been written in the Doomsday Book, where those who migrated with William the Conqueror and the rest of the Normans were recorded. Over three hundred years later, in what would later become Wales, in the region of Llandaff, a man named Sir Daffyd ap Mathew would gain fame. In modern day spelling, Sir David Mathew became a very prominent knight for his time. David Mathew was always described of being a man of great physical stature, which was a rare feat for someone of his time, and he saved King Henry…can’t remember exactly which King Henry off the top of my head but saved a King Henry at the Battle of Towton in 1464 at the very unusual age of sixty-four. Sir David Mathew’s descendants, or a line of descendants for that matter, ended up in what would be known as the New World. After many different spelling variations (Mathew, Matthew, Mathews, Matthews, Mattheus, Mathis, Matheus, Mattheas, and even a Greek translation known as Mattheos), the Family Name had spread far and wide from sea to shining sea. Of course, many lineages undoubtedly died out, lost prominence, or simply became lost in the melting pot known as the United States of America. For myself, I honestly have no idea whether or not I am indeed descended from Sir David Mathew, but the odds do point very well into my favor, as he possessed the same name, has descendants who to this very day continue to dwell over here in the New World, is Welsh and I am of Welsh descent, and the most common Family Crest of Matthews is the lion rampant, which was the symbol of Sir David. For that, I strongly believe I am very likely a descendant.
So what exactly came of my own family line? Well, a line of the Matthews (or soon to be Matthews) Family migrated from Wales, up north through England, and finally far north into Scotland, the last place was rumored to have been Glasgow, and set forth to the New World. This Matthews couple (names unknown) gave birth to George Matthews in 1764 near Baltimore, Maryland. It is believed George was once the owner of a small plantation in Maryland before migrating west with his family, which was rumored to have up to nineteen kids from two different wives with his first wife dying shortly after giving birth to what I believe would have been their tenth child. So, George remarried and had nine more children, and of these children, had a son named Alexander Caldwell in 1818. By this time my lineage of the Matthews Family settled in Ohio County, Virginia (West Virginia didn’t become a state until 1863). Alexander then had a son named William Morgan Matthews in 1862. William Morgan Matthews moved his family to what is now New Alexandria, Ohio. In 1912, William Morgan had a son named William Wilson, the youngest of at least eight children, as far as I know. After William Morgan died in 1938 after a freak accident in which a school bell struck him in the skull, William Wilson Matthews then had seven children and the Matthews Family settled in what is now a very small town known as Bloomingdale, Ohio. Two more generations passed and in 1991, yours truly was born in Canton, Ohio.
What a story, as we went from an eleventh century migration to a fifteenth century knight to, well, me. And here we are, in 2017, working towards my goal of becoming a prominent personal trainer who looks to leave his mark on the industry when it is all said and done. This was literally one-thousand years in the making. Think about that for a second: one-thousand years in the making! That number is incredible, yet here I am, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, looking to make this dream become a reality. If you think this one-thousand years in the making thing is amazing, think about this: Medieval Normandy, to Wales, to England, to Scotland, to the American Colonies, to the United States of America, from Baltimore, to Virginia, to West Virginia, to Ohio, now back to Pennsylvania. How about that? None of my fathers ever died young. From those who presumably fought in the Battle of Hastings in 1066, to Sir David Mathew in the 1400’s, (assuming he is an ancestor), to surviving emigration from their homeland and into the New World in the eighteenth century, to myself, writing this very post, tonight, on January 30th, 2017. Now think of all of the hundreds of millions of different combinations of potential people not only my own DNA, but the DNA of all of the great men listed in all of the centuries ahead of mine could have possibly created. The number is astounding, quite astounding. We are looking at billions of people at the very least. Yet here I am, typing this article.
Yesterday, I talked about how the goal had chosen you, exactly as you were, when that goal decided to choose you. Today, I want to talk about how so very unlikely the odds are of our own very existence, yet here we are. Every single one of us is literally thousands of years in the making. I went back one-thousand years into my family history! William’s men (some of whom are my very own ancestors), in 1066, fought a battle in order to overthrow the British Crown. In 1066. Now think of what would have happened had that one ancestor in my own direct lineage had been killed. Or better yet, what if Sir David had been killed before producing offspring in my own direct lineage? David was a knight, and he was eventually killed according to the record books at age eighty-four. An unusual age for the fifteenth century, but this man was described as being very prominent in physical stature and since the Matthews Family tends to be on the shorter side, I’m pretty sure David was a muscular man. It just fits. Or what if George had gotten sick as a kid and died? Infant mortality was high and birth control was low. Notice that Alexander Caldwell Matthews was forty-four when he had William Morgan. William Morgan was fifty when William Wilson was born. Oh, and by the way, when I was born, my head was dented and my family literally freaked about this…you can ask any of them. Trust me on this one. I am lucky as hell to be alive these days, and so are you! We are all lucky to be alive.
And science tells us that our very existence is an accident? Let me reiterate something, which would be the top four paragraphs. Read them one more time if you hadn’t fully absorbed them the first time around. Because I am lucky to be alive, and so are you. Lucky, lucky, lucky…..not lucky? Not luck? No luck. Why no luck? Because there is a purpose. Purpose? What purpose? A purpose for me being here, that’s what purpose. What purpose is that? I left my life in the Ohio Valley to move to Pittsburgh to find my fortune in something I love and in these beginning stages I’m living on a prayer because I have no idea how it’s going to work, but I know it’s going to work, because God placed a goal in front of me that chose me and according to Jeremiah 23:11, the goal is going to be achieved as long as I have faith in the way that God sees even if I don’t see it. So for that matter, it is not luck, when indeed it is a purpose that I am currently here right now as an experienced Personal Trainer in Pittsburgh who is trying to achieve a lifelong goal of being a Personal Trainer in a large city, and that large city being Pittsburgh. Is it all coming together now? Why would I not believe in God and His Plan and His Will? Look at everything I had written down and read this post for a third time if need be! This is one heck of a plan and it had been planned for the past one-thousand years when my ancestors followed William the Conqueror from Normandy to England, fought a battle, won the battle, presumably became noblemen, which eventually led to the birth of Sir David, which led to the birth of George, which led after two more centuries to my own birth. That is freaking amazing and for you, it should be amazing because you and I both share the same story! We are here for a purpose! None of our fathers ever died young for a purpose and that, my friends, is amazing!
So what does this have to do with fitness? It has everything to do with fitness! I couldn’t have helped all of the people I helped down in Weirton had one thing went wrong over the past ten centuries! The people I had an impact on couldn’t have had an impact on others from a fitness standpoint had I not helped them out first. For that, here I am and here they are! They never would have been helped and they could have never helped others realize their own potential in fitness. Do we not see a domino effect here? There is a grand plan that was designed very intelligently by God, who is the greatest mathematician of all time. Because that has a lot of math involved. So much it hurts my head to think about it but I do know it’s so amazing when I think of it in these terms because I know for a fact I’m up here in Pittsburgh for a good reason and that good reason is to make something out of myself from a fitness training standpoint so others can do the same. This is the absolute greatest blessing anyone can receive. We were chosen by a goal but before we were chosen by that goal we were chosen by God to live. And that, my friends, is amazing.