When I started the process of tugging at my roots more than 2 years ago, I had some preconceived notions tucked away in the back of mind, that I was forced to wrestle mightily against.
In retrospect, had I known the twists that this genealogical endeavor would take on, I would not have believed it.
I started on this journey enveloped in the dark confines of disaffection, having recently extracted myself from an organization where I had spent nearly a third of my life.
I had lost myself in a myopic effort to scale the corporate monolith and my foundation was shaken to a degree, as I began to realize that my attempts to merge with the “organization” left me badly discombobulated.
Going through a mental detox of sorts was sorely needed, it was through the process of piecing together stories told to me by my Grandmother, Aunts, Uncles and parents during my youth and reconciling them with historical nuance was essential in my detoxification.
My grandmother who is 94 at the time of this writing, possesses some of the most amazing powers of recollection that I’ve ever born witness to, her narratives of her and my Aunt’s leaving small town Alabama to find independence in Chicago in the early 1940’s is a story that I always listen to in rapt attention.
It was a leisurely conversation with my Grandmother a couple years ago that served as the spark that supercharged my genealogy efforts.
The past 2 years has taught me a lot and shown me more than I could have bargained for…
I see the intestinal fortitude that has defined and guided my Grandmother through 9 decades on this planet in the faces, words and deeds of – hundreds of the extended members of my family.
For example, the admiration that I have for my cousin A’Esha is part and parcel of the foundational element that I see in the women in my family:
Stubbornness in the face of uncertainity, secures victory.
I see this same resolve in A’Esha as she compels obstacles to become bridges for her to traverse – and bearing witness to it infuses me with a pride and reorienting of purpose that defies description.
Her advocacy for innovations in healthcare, her mentorship efforts in helping others to build their business and reach their goals speaks to a genetic predisposition of doing what is hard.
Most importantly, I see the selflessness that seems to be short supply among our fellow human beings and I am reminded.
Love of family is purposefully redemptive.
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