"I was once told that a star in the night sky could have died out long ago but since the light it generated takes years to travel to the earth, we see the star as if it is still there. In short, the star may be dead but its light goes on forever. We too are light and energy. While we live, we generate - through our actions, service, and love - our own glow. Some of us burn brightly; through our passion, deeds, goodness and love, we enlighten the world of others. Some of us play small, dimming our truth through fear, negativity, cynicism or apathy. This world needs our brilliance now for there is far too much darkness - it yearns for us to ignite our being in both small acts and spectacular displays. And when we are eventually gone, if we have been determined in our way, like the stars afar, the light of our lives will continue, it will go on forever, illuminating and inspiring generations to come. (For my ancestors of blood and spirit, I may not even know all your names but I walk in your light.)"
Mayor Booker's assertion that we all walk in the light put forth by those who've paved the way for us, whether blood related or not, really spoke to me. I've been researching my genealogy over the past few months. It began without any real intention because I doubted there would be much beyond what I already knew. For years I didn't think I wouldn't be able to patch together some pieces of my paternal ancestry. My dad didn't talk much about some members of his family due to a misunderstanding years before I was even a thought in my parent's minds. Depending on who I'd ask about, he'd either give a tad bit of info or get irritated and change the subject. I didn't prod much and just accepted it for what it was in abstract terms -- empty branches on that side of the family tree.
Much to my surprise, so far I've found a plethora of information dating back to 1830. One relative after another, almost as if they were yelling "hey, what took you so long to find us!" Initially, it touched my heart to just to see the names and birth dates. I recall some of the names being mentioned by other family members, but seeing the info in black and white helped me gain a clearer understanding of the relationships on a basic level. Why my dad chose to estrange himself from some members of his family is a long story. It was a deeply personal choice that I think he may have regretted to some degree later in life, but was too stubborn to admit. Despite this, uncovering these connections has allowed those branches to flourish and paint a rich history. Happily, their light shines on :-)!