Growing up, I’ve always been surrounded by people. Good people. Christian people. Educators. Pastors. Military members. Family. I always had a village. As time went by and people moved, things changed and we just got older, that village formed itself. Sure, some people from the past still remained, but its never the same. Which is good, and bad.
Before my father and mother split, I grew up at True Vine, a black C.O.G.I.C. church. We have a song in the church that says: this is the church of God in Christ, this is the church of God in Chriiiiist. You can’t just join in.. Ya Got to be Boooorrrnnn In, this is the Church of God in Christ. I was born in. That means my god parents, family friends and (parents) colleagues were heavily connected and “blessed”. That blessing didnt stop my parents divorce.
When my mama was in school, single parenting 4 children and working 2 jobs I was 11. She would give me the “responsibility” of waiting for her on the couch with the remote. We would practice blocking the door. She trusted me though. Sometimes when she would get off her night shift, she would swing by the food bank and come home with buckets of food. From her work in the social services field, our village changed dramatically. We were friends with kids who parents were in school for social services. Lets just say we all knew the I statement.
We first were at one of my sisters god parents church and then moved to Uncle Chuckies church. It was small but we had a great group of people. We were all poor working families who had a heart for the community. I remember the other single parents, the kids who were all around the same age, shouting and praising God. We had bowling nights and sleep overs. We babysat for one another, then Chuckie had a brain aneurysm. He was a vegetable. The church split up.
I went to college. After 8 years, I can truly say that my village changed contingent on whether I was in or out of school, who graduated, where I worked, where I drank, where I lived, what classes I took and what extra-curriculars I was involved in. The crazy thing is that through it all, I found people who loved me and I loved them back. My mentors, day care teachers, professors, even the President at times comprised of a village of people who supported me through some of my hardest days, motherhood and the path to graduation.
No matter how much my village changed, I can still look back and be grateful. The people who were present during each stage were there for a reason. I’m glad I was close to my parents family as children, for my foundation is strong and I know I have a huge family who’s down to ride. My church family from my conception to the present, remind me of the legacy of the black church and how it directly affects me as a representative of the church. My school support team have no clue how much I appreciate the soft smiles, the closed doors so I could cry, letting me slide on an assignment, hugging me when I failed and when I rocked out.
Now I think about my son. What is his village going to look like? Do I have enough people in his village? Even with his father, I am well aware that my childs village is my responsibility. The loved ones in my sons life, the family, the friends, the therapists, the teachers and the countless neighbors and peers who are rooting for me and my son. As I grow, I am pushing every day to strengthen my village and strengthen my sons village.
Coldplay has a song called Everglow that truly nails the feeling of a village…how important it is. The ending lyric says
so if you love someone, you should let them know
oh the light that you left me will everglow
My thoughts exactly