Yesterday marked my late grandmother’s birthday in heaven, and every October, I reflect on the greatness she embodied- I even personally decided to coin this month the one of October Greats because of her! She was an extraordinary woman, and this year, I received a heartwarming gift from God this very month – a rare and unique chance to spend time with her only surviving sibling, the wonderful Mbuya Mai Dougie.
As we gathered, laughter filled the air, and my stomach felt like it was about to develop an instant six-pack. Mbuya Mai Dougie regaled us with the funniest stories – from a rat’s escapade into her wardrobe to Sekuru’s daring fight with a hyena attempting to steal one of their cattle. She is an enigmatic storyteller, leaving me wondering what careers she might have pursued if her career had been in our time. She would have been the author of a bestseller titled The Rat and the Grandpa’s Little Pinky and probably would have worked in media and entertainment. Gozho gozho! A rat’s name in her Karanga dialect from the people of Masvingo. It dawned on me that this gift of storytelling and laughter was one of the generational blessings flowing within our family.
It was a beautiful time of fellowship, a stark reminder of the magic that happens when families unite. In those moments, God commands a special blessing, and we felt it resonate with us. The blessing of the Lord in the form of family, which makes rich and adds no sorrow, was felt in abundance this weekend. We were later graced with the presence of Mbuya Mai Jenny’s (their other late siblings) grandchildren, creating an atmosphere of joy, love and unity.
I fondly recollect my childhood days when the three sisters – my late grandmother and her siblings – would visit our house. If one thing was certain, it was that they loved each other. I would bake them cupcakes, and in return, they shared stories, ‘ngano’s’ in my native Shona dialect from Zimbabwe. They told these folktales that were a treasure trove of wisdom and laughter. Our meetings always ended with worship and spirit-filled prayer for each of our family members, and I know at the time I felt the prayers were too long, but I find myself praying similarly today. I used to think they would always be there, but life has taught me to cherish every moment, knowing that some of our loved ones will depart sooner than we’d like. Decades later, even in their absence, the strong bonds they nurtured while alive continue to flow through the generations, reminding us that we are one family.
In reality, as is with most families, we are flawed as human beings. So many things work to separate us: hurts, jealousy, frustrations and hardships all play their part in inviting us to harbour bad thoughts about each other, say unkind words towards each other and sometimes even spread malicious lies about one another. We are subjected and subject each other to terrible disappointments and heartbreaking deceptions that keep us holding onto unforgiveness and separation. We, in reality, simply do not have that much time left on the earthly side of existence to miss out on the precious positive treasure that we each carry inside of us during the limited time that we get to live on this side of eternity. Even if the perpetrator or victim parties that caused division are not ready, release yourself from the trespasses made against you and seek forgiveness from God for the trespasses you have committed. Your ability to create a sweeter family life will get sweeter that way!
May unity and love reign in your families, and may your hearts be woven together in a tapestry of precious memories. As time marches on, we all hold these memories dear, and they become the bridges to our past and the legacies we pass on. May the generational blessings of love, health, laughter, and all the other treasures your ancestors cultivated continue to enrich the next generation’s lives. May we hold on to the things that bind us together more we hold on to the thinks that keep us apart.