The title of this piece isn’t being used rhetorically. I’ve chosen it because I invite you to ask yourself that same question. I’ve had many from what I might call minor in scope to music-in-the-background, Hollywood dramatic. This question recalls getting my driver’s license at age 16, graduating high school, going to college, and graduating, being diagnosed with cancer, and surviving these past 22 years, accepting Jesus as my savior, and last but certainly not least, taking a journey to Ghana West Africa.
I’ve been a strange child all my life. That assessment isn’t mine alone. I’ve attended more than one family reunion, where we sit around and talk about days of old, and my cousins would talk about how I was strange coming up as a kid. I wouldn’t participate in many of the childhood shenanigans many of them did. I would correct them whenever they exhibited behavior that didn’t seem appropriate. One thing I felt as a child was the need to assist my mom as much as I could. Being the oldest child, left with a mother and siblings, after my father died, what else was I supposed to do?
One thing I do remember experiencing at a very young age was the emotional and mental rumbling from the big question the haunts a lot of us: Whom am I? Of course, there was a second part to that question that came much later in life, after I graduated high school. That second part was why am I here? Now at seventy-two years of age, I’m still asking myself these questions, even though there has been a plethora of answers presented to me throughout the years. I think there’s been a certain fluidity to my existence that forces me to reexamine answers and solutions that may have been sufficient from time gone by. Sometimes these questions cause me to pause for what seems like inordinate amounts of time. For example, I’ve been quite for a while. It’s not that there hasn’t been plenty to write about; it’s been me overthinking, starting, and stopping in my mind until I convince myself that I have nothing to write about.
It’s been two years since I made the trip to Ghana with Chris, my cousin Hansel, his wife Martha, and my oldest child Felicia. I’ve written before about that trip. It was sole stirring at a level like nothing that has come across my life’s path. Hansel died early December 2022, two years after we made our trip. Martha told me recently that he was glad he made that trip. It meant a lot to him. It meant a lot to me, too. Our little delegation from our extended family made a “trip of return” to our Motherland. A trip that was thought never to be made at the time our ancestors were kidnapped and shipped across the Atlantic Ocean. I recall looking out of the “Door of no Return” in Cape Coast Castle/Dungeon in Elmina, Ghana and thinking, “Oh yeah, here I am I’m back.” It’s always good to be back home, especially if the journey took four hundred years to make. It’s also good to have a since of being reconnected to a place you never thought you would be able to see.
Certainly, the experience of connecting with my God, was life-changing with hope and promises of a peaceful eternity. I also think my God wants me to experience all that I can during this leg of my journey to feel connected. Returning to Africa was a Godly blessing that affirmed that for me; a life-changing event that has changed my way of thinking about the world and my place in it.
I’m old and blessed…hope you will be too.