Last weekend, I had the privilege of hanging out with two of my three nephews, spending time with a civil rights legend, and witnessing the harvest moon usher in a new season. Although distinctly different, each experience reminded me of the gift and ever-present reality that it’s never just about you.
I was reminded that although the pursuit of sacred purpose obviously is about me, it’s never just about me. It is about the generations that are coming behind me and those that have gone before me. Indeed, it is about something greater than myself and more potent than the singularity of my sacred purpose.
But what exactly does my sacred purpose have to do with my nephew weekend? Well, although I never received the call to motherhood, I am called to be an aunt, a coach, a strategist who nurtures God-given potential.
So, the weekend presented the perfect set of circumstances, because I was already scheduled to spend the weekend with 9 year old Miles. On Friday morning, however, he wasn’t feeling well, and I had to pick him up from school early. Being sick had slowed him down only a little bit, but nothing steals that child’s joy. In fact, by the time we reached the house he was fully recovered and back to his high-energy self.
Now, Keyshawn–the 17 year old–had made some poor choices the week before and needed some auntie time. So, I picked him up from school to at least spend the afternoon with him, but had no plans beyond that. The fact, however, that his poor choices had resulted in consequences that essentially cleared his weekend calendar and left him without his phone, made spending the weekend with Miles and me sound like a teenager’s dream weekend.
Honestly, I had forgotten how much Keyshawn could talk, because he was usually glued to the screen of his cell phone. But without his phone, he still wanted to communicate, and he showed me no mercy! Seriously, I am grateful that we had an opportunity to talk about life, choices, and, of course, Tupac. We talked about all manner of things that had peaked his curiosity, but I mostly listened, and sometimes chimed in “Google it.” I am not the walking encyclopedia…that would be his other aunt. I am “stalker auntie” who might show up at his school unannounced just to make sure he’s on his P’s and Q’s and to keep the school in check. Don’t miss the fact that schools are systems designed to leave certain children that look like him behind. Well, that’s a topic for another time.
Anyway, Miles is more of a homebody but after Keyshawn and I coaxed him to leave the house Saturday night to grab a bite to eat, we witnessed something wonderful. On the drive back to the house, we saw the massive harvest moon in all its majesty. We marveled at how big it was and how close it seemed, and I contemplated what might be ushered in by this harvest season, this final quarter of 2017.
Then, at the close of nephew weekend, I had the honor of spending time with a civil rights legend on Sunday. I got to know her as a person, to better understand her struggles, and to discover where our experiences, passions, and interests intersect. We had both recently returned home to Charleston and were experiencing some similar challenges associated with that. We had come back to a place that has an outer image of progress, but in mindsets and in lived reality, it remains stuck in time and a particular historical pattern.
After a tumultuous year, the first weekend of the last quarter of 2017, which also ushered in the harvest moon, was providing a sign post. You see, the harvest is much bigger and a lot closer when we approach it with the understanding that it’s never just about us. This past weekend was about connecting with sacred purpose as a family member and a global citizen.
As a Black auntie, my sacred purpose this weekend was to love on and allow two Black boys to just be children in a white world that has already deemed them dangerous and set a precedent for treating them as adults. It’s never just about you and yours, but it is also about those beyond your circle. It is about the generations behind us that we have been entrusted to nurture into wholeness and the fullness of who they be.
As a conscious Black womanist, my sacred purpose is to connect with the generations that have gone before me, and to carry on their work of liberation. For me, that work begins with the liberation of Black and Brown people from the racial oppression that is in the very DNA of this country, its systems, institutions, and structures. So, it’s never just about you, but it is also about the greater harvest that comes from collaboration with those on the front lines. It is about having the capacity to harvest by drawing on the strength of the ancestors on whose shoulders we stand.
It’s never just about you. It’s about planting the seeds of individual, communal, and global wholeness to harvest crops of radical redemptive love. Depending on where you sit, stand, or kneel in the existing system, you may be required to give up power, privilege, comfort, and convenience to make others whole. After all, that is what Jesus did when he gave up the comforts of heaven and the convenience of his power and privilege as the Son of God.
It’s never just about you. Others who may have been relegated to receive only crumbs from the table may need to re-position themselves and reclaim their power in order to recover their wholeness.
It’s never just about you. It’s about the web of interconnection and interdependence that we all share with each other and with all creation.
No, it’s never just about you…it’s about them, it’s about me, it’s about you, and ultimately, it’s about us.