Was I Even Here?

I love history. I love the past because of the lessons that can be learned, the experiences that can be shared and the power of inspiration that transcends time, touching our hearts and making us all witnesses to the greatness and the blessedness and sadly even the horror of being human. I hate history. I hate the past because of the events that we hold on to and that we believe will not let go of us, that molds us and mar us. We don’t want to let go of the past because we fear that our present is no match. Still, we will never be able to see what the present holds if we do not. The past is our predecessor. The present must be allowed to rule or no one will know that we were even here.

History is our elder. It has its place among us and we must respect it. But, history has had its time. Celebrate it for what it is and don’t try to make it something that it is not. Let history be history. All it knows is what has been and can only remind us of what was. History’s stereotypes and prejudices, I heard them the first time. My life doesn’t need to repeat them.

History only possesses experience; it is we who gain wisdom in retrospect. History only repeats itself if we do. History is not a prophet, a seer. It can only tell you what has been done; it can only tell you what you will do if you have no ideas. History is a collection of things that have already been done not for our choosing but to be checked off as accomplished, finished.

We are enamored by and possess such great respect for the past that we are unable to look at our own time. We are so invested in the mark of history that we are afraid to make our own.  And when we color- code history or segregate time according to cultures, it divides time in such a way that we forget that we are to live not label the days. We are not to color the days; there is not black or white or red or yellow or brown history. Time is not prejudiced; it is here for us all. We have our own. We don’t have to share it and we don’t have to fear anyone else’s.

Being a colored person, black/white/red/yellow/brown/beige, is to live with scraps of an identity, piecing together time scrounged from history books and stories of the cruelest expressions that human beings can imagine. It is to take what is handed down to us no questions asked, claiming it as our own though we’ve never seen it before. It is to relive the life of another and to have our life’s conclusions drawn for us. I am not Aunt Jemima, a Venus Hottentot, an angry black woman. I am a new creature in Christ Jesus and and I want my own time, to make my mark, to impress upon the world my life. I want the world to know that I was here so I will take my time. I will not fade into blackness. I am here to stay.

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