Interesting word which has different tones of meaning. In this instance, I am using it in reference to the Latin word, sanctum … set apart. Yesterday I witnessed something set apart, sacred; something that was inspiring, moving, touched me deep in my soul … but it was sacred, set apart from me, not my own.
We attended a Pops performance at the Peace Center of Soul Steps, a touring step company.
if you watch the video, you will hear them talk about the origins of stepping … about how it originated in South African gold mines, where the miners were not allowed to speak so they developed a way to communicate tapping and thumping the boots that they wore to protect themselves in the mines. They go on to talk about the heritage continuing in slavery traditions and then becoming a part of black fraternities and sororities.
There I was, a southern white girl, wanting to move like that, wanting to take the rhythm into my soul and translate it somehow in my language. But it is not my story. It is not my sacred story.
I can witness it, hear it, listen to it, be moved by it, honor it but I cannot own it. It is not mine.
If I could say anything to each of the steppers who brought their story, their art to me yesterday, it would be this. Thank you. Namaste. I honor your sacredness.
But I left feeling a little off kilter. What is my story? Not just my individual story … but what is the story of my heritage, of my people, of southern textile mill village people? What is the language of that story?
I’ve never wanted to embrace it. I’ve tried to understand it so that I could get far away from it. There is a mindset there that I want to be free of but now I find myself wanting to find an honor, a dignity, a respect that I never saw some of my family members embrace for themselves.
The idea of sacred stories is captivating me right now. My Christian faith is part of my sacred story, individually, corporately, generationally. I fear it will stop or change so radically with me and the generation I have produced. I haven’t passed down the same faith that I inherited. Mainly because I cannot. But I am formulating a different sacred story. I hope I find the language to communicate it will to my maturing children and grandchildren. I hope that they can see it not only in my words but in my actions.
What about you? Do you have a sacred story? How are you telling it?