Our guide, an African warrior.
He said we could ask for something
First he said that he had a gift for us. I wanted this gift, whatever it was. Maybe he looked at everyone but I felt and look at me when he said it. Maybe because I was staring.
We went to this water called “the last bath“ where the captives were scrubbed before their purchase.
It turned out that we could ask for something of the river and the ancients.
I want something from Africa. From the heavy earth there and the bloodshed and sweat that seeps into the earth and makes it human. Alive. Life producing and fertile.
I told the river and the heavy sodden earth of Africa, “I want what you have“.
What he said you have.
What I know you have.
You have a song and a dance in the drum beat in your soul you have joy and love. It’s what makes you able to live in community. He said that slavery takes that away.
He said you were hunters and farmers and artisans. And you can sing and you can dance.
But slavery makes you run and hide and enter the caves in deep forest Because when you go to carry water and do your chores, you were ambushed and carried into captivity.
Africa. African ancestors of humanity. I want your song and dance and drum beat in my soul so that I can live in community with joy. Trust without fear of ambush.
Reverend Ruth Pattison
The Rev. Ruth Pattison was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the third of four children, to Bill and Lucille Lindberg. Although young Ruth was raised in the Baptist church, her father was an organist and choirmaster in the Episcopal Church, which is where she discovered her love for liturgy and music.