As an African-American, much of my history and heritage have been lost. I call myself African-American, but Africa is A CONTINENT, not a country.
I don’t know the songs, the dances, the celebrations, the food, the languages or the land of my ancestors. This is so for most Black people living in the United States of America. Our known history begins with the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, in which we arrived to America as slaves.
This is tragic because everyone wants to know from where and from whom they come.
History matters. Culture matters. These things serve a vital role in terms of a sense of self, connection to others and the feeling of relevance and importance in the world.
Everyone wants to know that they come from something beautiful and great.
I often ponder about my roots. My mother tells me that some of our ancestors came from Madagascar, a large African island country at the southern end of the continent. Sometimes to feel closer to the Malagasy people, I do online image searches of them.
I study their faces on the computer screen, and then I look at myself in the mirror.
I know that peoples of Asia often intermarried with the African people of that Island, as it was a common trade route. Because of this, many of the inhabitants of Madagascar have slanted eyes. I wonder to myself if this is why my eyes are somewhat slanted. Many people have commented on the almond-shaped eyes of my mother’s side of the family.
Then again, I do image searches of people from other African countries, as well as South America and the Caribbean Islands, as they too have direct ties to Africa. I look at their dark complexions, bright smiles and course hair, and I can’t help but to think that we are all somehow related.
I mourn the loss of my heritage and the ripping apart of my African family. I realize that there are some things that will never be known on this side of heaven. Yet, I still find myself being hit with the pain of this generational trauma.
It is in these moments that the Holy Spirit guides my disoriented heart all the way back to Genesis, the first book of the Bible. I read that God created humankind in His image.
The Holy Spirit reminds me that my history begins with God. God is my heritage. God is beautiful and great. This is Whom I come from!
I am then led like a pilgrim to the end of the Bible, to the book of Revelation, where the Apostle John is recording a vision of Heaven. There he sees a great multitude of people before the throne of God. They give praises to Jesus, the One who has redeemed them. They are too numerous to count and they are from “every nation, tribe, people and language.” At this I rejoice…
I realize that my ancestral heritage is not lost with God!
He has kept track the entire time, and one day I will be united with all of God’s family, which includes people from my lost nation and tribe.
I imagine that on that day we will embrace one another, singing and dancing together in our native language.
We will join in the Heavenly celebration, where there are no lost people. Everyone there will be found.
Even so come LORD Jesus!
Leah Ross loves Jesus and is an evangelist at heart. She is passionate about healing the wounds of sexism and racism within the Church. When she’s not actively loving on her five children or enjoying a date night with her high school sweetheart husband, she can be found volunteering with her school board, running in a race, or performing at ‘open mic’ Poetry Night. Her life goal is to hear Jesus say, “Well done!”