Recall, Recollect and Remember
I’m going to let you in on a secret, it’s a big one, so brace yourself. I try to live each day to be able to say, “I can die now.” Don’t stop reading, this is not, nor will it ever be morbid.
I am not trying to die, nor am I planning to do so in the near future. My proclamation is one of readiness, not desire. You see, I try to live each day so fully and meaningfully that I can change someone’s heart and mind so completely that they can see their true and full potential. I seek to see my life come full circle and I strive to make a difference. When I have, I say joyfully, “Whew, I can die now.”
In that moment, I am declaring that my purpose is being fulfilled.
Recently, I had one of those moments and it connected me with the spirit of one of my ancestors. If you’ve been reading these posts lately, you know that I have taken up design and sewing. I am also designing the fabric that I make the clothing from.
A few days ago, I made a dress from fabric made from a painting my sister Myrna created. The painting is so old, that I posed for the features of the baby.
I’d made my dress and had enough fabric left to make another one, but before I did, I decided to make a top for one of my “sisters.” I could see the pattern in my mind and so I made the top without making a pattern. She marveled at my skill and I laughed and said, I have no idea where this is coming from. The top was such a success that I decided to make a longer version for my dress.
That same evening, I started on my dress, and as I did, a memory flowed in like a river. As I cut the fabric made from the image of my sister’s painting, I remembered where that design had first come from, and when I did, I remembered so much more.
Back when I was about 14 or 15, I sang with my church choir. We were singing for Easter and everyone had to wear white. I desperately wanted to sing, but we had no money for a new dress. My sister Myrna was between assignments, so she could not contribute financially, but she remembered that she had some white fabric and declared that we could make the dress.
Without measuring or making a pattern, Myrna not only made my dress and taught me how to hand stitch, she gave me something more. That day, on the floor of her apartment, Myrna told me that if I could think and learn and keep learning, I would never ever be poor. She said that ideas and creativity were the real wealth and that as long as I was willing to keep learning, I would never ever be destitute.
I was focused on getting that dress and being able to sing. I was focused on not having to sit on the sidelines while the choir was singing and not looking poor in the process. There were so many “nots” in my negative thinking, that I didn’t consciously hear Myrna’s powerful lesson, and until this summer, I didn’t ever attempt to make another dress.
We have a trove of buried treasure, but we have focused on the loss, the lack, the pain and the injustices of life; so much so, that we have forgotten their gifts.
We have forgotten the legacies that were left when a loved one passed away. We have forgotten their prophecies of a better time and we have failed to remember the work that they have already done on our behalf.
Memories, like the ancestors, are a powerful thing; if you call on them, they come back.
Recall, Recollect and Remember YOURSELF
Bertice Berry, PhD.