Have you ever seen a photograph or work of art that was able to evoke so many feelings that you were mesmerized and overwhelmed at the same time? This piece did it for me. Several years ago my husband and I were wandering through the small hill town of Mijas on the Costa del Sol in southern Spain. This image hanging in a gallery stopped me and almost took my breath away – I could not help but be mesmerized. It is a beautiful image captured by the photographer Jesús Jaime Mota titled “Dassanech Woman and Boat on Omo River” in South Ethiopia.
It hangs proudly in our home and every time I walk by it, I have to stop, think, and be inspired. I see a strong, proud black woman on a journey who is sure of her direction despite the foggy path ahead. Perhaps it is a trip she has made before or perhaps not. Either way, she shows no fear only determination to reach her destination.
That is how I feel – sure and determined, proud and strong, certain yet open to where the journey will take me. With everything we are facing in our country today including navigating through the pandemic, dealing with social and economic upheavals, searching for justice and respect, being apart but still connected – it is not easy to keep our focus on the future. Sometimes the way is smooth as glass. Sometimes there are ripples and sudden waves that toss us about and threaten our very existence. We can still hold our heads high with dignity and respect for ourselves and others learning as we go because we are all perfectly imperfect. Once we do that, as Mya Angelou said, “We can learn to see each other and see ourselves in each other and recognize that human beings are more alike than we are unalike.” I feel that and only that will see us through.