The show was 'Finding Your Roots,' a PBS show about discovering your genetic and genealogical roots. Two noted people (celebrities, athletes, politicians, etc.) are featured each episode and it's usually full of interesting twists and turns and occasionally some dodgy hidden family surprises.
I am not sure when the episode we watched was first aired. . .we virtually never watch live TV, and some things languish in the depths of our dvr for months. . .but it featured politicians Cory Booker and John Lewis.
Both stories were fascinating and put several historical events and situations into a unique personal context. . .from the Emancipation Proclamation through to the Civil Rights movement. It was fascinating to hear their personal stories and to see how it fit into their genealogical history.
But what caught my attention was a something Cory Booker recounted his father having drilled into him as he was growing up. It was something like this:
You drink deep from wells of privileges and freedoms that you did not dig.
Wow. Let that sink in a bit.
I felt such a mix of shame and gratefulness and resolve when I heard those words. It made me think of Church Reformers and Pilgrims and the scrappy forefathers who fought for our Independence. I thought of Suffragettes and Civil Rights workers and endless generations of soldiers who have and continue to risk their lives for our safety.
I felt the weight of all who have gone before to have suffered and sacrificed and challenged and fought. . .so that I may live in peace, able to openly enjoy my faith, my right to vote and pursue my own brand of happiness.
I hope I never forget what had to go on before me in order for me to live as I do. I hope I never forget to teach my own children how blessed they are. I hope I can add at least one drop to that well by leaving something as lasting and important behind.
Thank you, all who have fought and reformed and challenged and defended.
I will remember.
And I. Am. Grateful.
(photo courtesy of publicdomainpictures.net and can be found here)