…my family.

“In every conceivable manner, the family is link to our past, bridge to our future.”–Alex Haley

Fact: Alex Haley was also born on August 11, and his most famous works were stories about his family. So it feel apropos that I should quote him today. How awe-inspiring is it through his stories, he was not only able to keep the memory of his family alive, but he was also able to provide a history to so many of us whose stories were erased?

The story of my family is typical of an African American family, and typical of a Southern one, too. There are gaps in our narrative, things that have been erased as well as things that have been intentionally forgotten. But there is enough there to make me feel solid–I know the story of the people who came immediately before me. They’ve instilled in me strength, pride and dignity, but most importantly, kindness–kindness to each other, and kindness to others. I have encountered people who come from different kinds of families, families that aren’t loving toward each other. Some of them come out with a spirit that seeks kindness; others, with hurting hearts that are set on causing misery. The latter make me even more grateful for the people who shaped me.

The months between this birthday and my last have been long ones, with lovely pinnacles and torturous nadirs, but the constant has been my family. I thank God for them every day.