My sisters and I were able to give my father the gift of his ancestral beginnings this year. I gave him a DNA test, through http://www.africanancestry.com, that determined which African country his paternal DNA is from and solved the mystery of where a portion of my family was taken from during the slave trade.
As I grew into an adult, I craved my ancestral roots. It was painful not knowing where my family came from and even more painful knowing that their identities were stripped away. But with the knowledge I now have about my father, I feel more connected and confident that I will bridge the gap between slavery and my rich African history.
Recently, I discovered the miracle, that is, my life. Through my ancestry searches, I’ve come across so many stories and documentation about life during slavery. If you’ve never read the slave narratives, I’d recommend them. It’s heart-breaking to read what some people had to endure but it makes you appreciate the life you have.
Violence is threaded throughout our history. Sadly, there have been so many wars and the mass destruction of whole cultures. The saddest truth is, to this day, there are people who still don’t see value in every person’s life. It’s a miracle that we are here today but not an accident (remember that).
Everything that we are and have is because of the perfect combination of events. Call it what you will but know that although the past is laced with regretful events, we have been given the precious gift of life. No one has exactly what they want but we should appreciate what we have.
Live your life gratefully. This Christmas, marvel, because you are the greatest gift given. Christmas is not about buying the latest and greatest toys and gadgets but coming together and showing your loved ones that they are the gifts in your life. So sit under the tree, because there is no greater gift than you!