Becoming an amateur genealogist was not an endeavor that I was looking to add or cross off of my proverbial bucket list, truth be told I hadn’t given it so much of a second thought.
A little more than 4 years ago I was involved in a severe car accident and crisis of conscience which reminded me that my existence was fleeting and that I was a man wandering, lost to himself.
It was an epiphany of sorts as I slowly came to the realization that the repetition of lifting myself from the confines of my burdens, was not unlike the bodybuilder, utilizing free weights in the act of crafting muscle.
In retrospect, I’ve come to find that angst and the assorted travails of life, is making me stronger rather than breaking me down.
I am encouraged, but tempered by weariness, knowing that the words from Marvin Gaye’s prescient song, “Trouble Man” would always manifest themselves on the horizon(s) of my life:
“There’s only three things
That’s for sure
Taxes, death and trouble…”
Being swept into the caverns of humility – coupled with the necessity of finding my way out, back into confines of the light, proved to be transformative.
My faith was brittle and coming to terms with the fragility of my spirit was difficult at best.
Realizing that I was guilty…
Of neglect, a wholesale abdication of speaking the hard truths to myself, was damning.
Strangely enough, it was those shoulders that I stood on which served as a jury of sorts. A chance for redemption offered through the power of Ancestral healing, echoes from those that came before me was compelling.
The concept of love in the form of family always defined and saved me more times than I care to admit.
That prospect of tapping into the confines of legacy, the stories of those that came before me, was equal parts surreal and improbable.
The who, how, what, where and why served to be palpable obstacles. Coupling this with the dubious history of African-American’s beginnings in the United States lead me to believe that my efforts would be a fools errand, a contention that was shattered into a million pieces.
Powered by the oral histories of my Grandmother, Aunt’s, Uncle’s, cousins and my parents and the potent networks of social media, I was able to find large segments of my family, separated by time, distance, but linked via memories and enduring oral histories. Even more telling, was that as each link was reconnected to the family collective, it was as if we had known each other our entire lives.
From Illinois, Ohio, Arkansas, Tennessee, California to our ancestral roots in Alabama, the rolling stone of family has failed to gather any moss.
The plodding gait of genealogy lent me wisdom and patience that was not at my disposal in years past.
And, I am glad to report that grace has helped me to avoid an ignominious death by drowning in a salty ocean of tears, one of my own making.
Linking over 500 members of my family on both the paternal and maternal sides has been a irrefutable indicator of the majesty and the “I am” of God.
I, and my family members by extension are made powerful by the acknowledgement of the sacrifice, selflessness and love that was freely given by our ancestors and the power that lives on through us.
Love is truly a conduit to immortality – and I know this through their whispers of my ancestors, as we stand as living testaments of those who refused to die.
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