My wife and I have had this periodic discussion about getting older. Not so much about aging but more so about GROWING older. Especially with the toll the pandemic has had on our communities and families, us, like so many of you, are finding ourselves suddenly at the front lines of leadership for our families and communities. Wether it's in the context of family, culture, or spirituality, here we are. Standing in places and stepping into roles that we thought were much further down the road.
In younger years we looked up to see these timeless figures, the adults and elders in our lives, exuding a steadfastness and wisdom that we relied upon unquestionably. Now as we step into these spaces, we ask ourselves if we are capable. “Did I pay close enough attention?”, “Do I have what it takes?”, “Who’s going to take the weight?”, so many questions driven by apprehension and self doubt. Regardless, duty calls and we must answer. It is in these moments that we realize just how much of our parents and elders have become ingrained within us.
Often times we feel ourselves walking effortlessly in the examples set by them and realize that they weren’t so different from us. Even as adults and elders, they were continuously learning life lessons, still figuring it all out. It wasn’t necessarily all of the knowledge and protocol that made them powerful in their leadership, but more so, their character. It was them understanding humility, being teachable, responding resiliently, knowing when to ask for help and accept it, recognizing that they were integral pieces of something greater. These are the steps we learned to follow and dance with the communities around us.
This is a powerful place to be, because the determination of the potency and quality of our culture rests in us, AS US. The way we live and carry these responsibilities becomes our culture as the culmination of the values exemplified in our choices and actions. All of the beautiful colors and songs and flavors and such are the tangible expressions of culture, but it’s the way that we love and support one another, the way we raise our children, the ways that we contribute to community that give life and breath to our culture.
This new stage in our lives is a beautiful creative space. A place to be bold and willing. A chance to contribute to the prayers and intentions put forth over the generations. This is not a space to approach with apprehension or doubt, but a golden opportunity to pour love, power, stability, and prosperity into our people. I share these thoughts because without awareness we blindly feel and stumble our way through, settling for whatever results from the scramble. When we recognize what’s before us, we can be intentional and move with stability and grace. Don’t our ancestors’ prayers and our children’s futures deserve our best efforts? We’ve received all that we need and have entered into OUR time of contribution. Some food for thought relatives…