On their shoulders – A 2015 reflection

The year 2015 gave birth to a new chapter in my life.

One of the highlights of 2015 was my discovery of time travel. Strangely enough, I always thought it would be in the form of a “Back to the Future” movie, but it was more powerful than going 88 miles an hour and disappearing in a flash of light.

It was an ethereal feeling – one that was nothing short of infectious.

My conduit to traversing time were two figures on an aged picture from the mid 1800’s. A man and his wife – who were both slaves in their not too recent past, but who found themselves cloaked in the robes of freedom – burning with an inexhaustible fire that would enable them to determine their own destiny.

They had a regal bearing that left me entranced. Their countenance exuded an air of indefatigable confidence – aspirations of what they knew was at their disposal flowed freely through the screen and it was this power that pulled me in.

I saw the the hopes, expectations and uncertainty that the future promised them etched on their faces.

And this reality was juxtaposed against a stifling environment in the aftermath of the Civil War that promised African-American’s nothing, but a struggle to procure what was their right. To do more than just exist, to be consequential – as being the architects to the bridges of their future was a power long denied to them.

My gaze was locked into theirs, despite thinking and convincing myself otherwise – I couldn’t shake the feeling of knowing that they were looking back at me.

I stand as a representation of those hopes and expectations that they held dear. Humility informs me that I can only hope to be worthy of standing on the shoulders of these noble people.

This couple were more than indiscriminate faces on a computer screen – they are my Great Great Great Grandparents and the joy that coursed through my veins upon finding them eludes explanation.

A couple of days had elapsed after finding the portrait of my ancestors, when I had a dream about the two of them where they implored me to:

“Find our children.”

They locked their arms with mine and lead me over to an embankment, pointing down towards a group of people waving enthusiastically in our direction. After surveying the crowd, we made our way back from the embankment and onto a path where they released their grip and repeated:

“Find our children.”

The most powerful messages are those that are unspoken or those that come to us in our dreams.

It wasn’t until the waning days of this month than I realized what they were trying to impart.

Since the Spring of 2015, I have traced seven generations of my family from across the United States, accounting for more than 200 people – who are descendants of those two people on the aged photo from the mid 1800’s.

Letting them down isn’t an option.

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Copyright © 2015 ShunPwrites. All Rights Reserved

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