Heritage is the setting that surrounds your existence.

It consists of the stories of our grandmothers and socio/political tales that trickled down to communities and shaped generations.

It’s the soul food that can be traced back to the kitchen scraps gathered by house slaves.

Heritage cannot be outrun – we must learn to acquaint ourselves with the depths of who we are – the good and the bad.

Two years ago, I published my first book, Soul Cry.

This book was an exploration of my heritage – both biological and spiritual.

I was adopted by Pastors into a spiritual heritage of blessings, love and God’s safety. I honestly believe God preserved me for a purpose.

Many times, we search for the answers in our current environment only to discover that we simply need to adjust our perspective and learn from our own personal history.

For my birth mother, trauma was her home.  Her way was fear. Her goal was survival.

She was born in 1956.

In the public housing projects of Washington, D.C., the precious gem of women’s minds and bodies were routinely reduced to a simple product, so men rich with desire could use them to make money, to be entertained and to find escape.

Her home was unsafe.

Trauma had become the norm in my birth mother, Brenda’s community—from shootings to robberies to overdoses.

And if the perpetrator wasn’t some disgruntled neighbor, it was an unjust system that told her that her place was among the lowest ranks of society.

Brenda lived with her seven brothers and sisters. Her Mommy and Daddy had them all back to back. Like “stair steps”, as the old folks used to say.

The standards for public housing were different for blacks back then…they were low.

No one checked to make sure houses were being maintained or kept clean. They didn’t have to work or make a certain amount of income, like whites did, because the widespread perception was still that black people were incapable of living at humane standards.

A subculture of degradation and desperation seeped into impoverished communities and into homes.

This was the setting of my conception.

Little did I know as I fought depression, doubt, insecurity and fear over the years, that the spiritual seeds had been planted and perpetuated long before I was even born.

If alcoholism, high blood pressure or mental illness can be hereditary, why can’t spiritual cycles be?

What are the cultural settings that have impacted your heritage?

Reflection: Consider the stories of your parents and ancestors and how they influence you today. What cycles have you repeated? What patterns do you desire to end?

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