February is Black History Month – a time set aside to pay homage to those individuals whose shoulders we stand on. It’s also a time to reflect on who we are and from whence we came. And, while there is an ongoing debate about setting aside just ONE month each year to honor Black history makers, each of us has the opportunity and privilege to delve deeper into our history as often as we like. Surely, we don’t need to set aside a month to reflect on our history, but we can and should regard February as an opportunity to share our many and significant contributions to history with people of other races and ethnicities.
This month we also celebrate Valentine’s Day, which, coincidentally, happens to be my birthday! So, during this time each year I find myself not only reflecting upon Black History Month, but taking time to reflect upon my own life as I celebrate the grace, mercy and love that God has and continues to bestow upon me. As I reflect upon my personal journey, I am not ashamed to say that with each passing year, I continue to grow closer and closer to Christ, and fall deeper in love with Him.
During Black History Month, as we honor those who have made significant contributions to history, poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist Langston Hughes’ poem, “Life Ain’t Been No Crystal Stair” comes to mind. An old adage many of us grew up hearing from our grandparents, also rings true for me – ‘I wouldn’t take nothing for my journey.’ Over these past 55 years, I’ve experienced the lowest of valleys and the highest of heights, yet I know that God is not finished with me yet.
My journey – though unique to me – is no more or less significant or difficult than yours. As with our ancestors – sometimes under the most harsh, degrading and inhumane circumstances – with perseverance, prayer and patience, each of us can pursue our dreams, discover and fulfill our purpose in life, and live our lives to the fullest. Most times this pursuit comes at great cost – not just economically – but mentally, physically and spiritually. Life, the pursuit of our dreams, living up to the expectations of others, and achieving our goals can take their toll on us – if we let them!
”Peace and power
© Dr. Melvin O. Marriner,