Egypt. That’s “my place”. You know the one place you have to see before you die? Well, that place for me is Egypt. It’s the pyramids, the desert, the Nile River. So for my 30th birthday I booked a flight. Yup, I just booked it because I knew that I had to get there. I knew that it was time to go to “my place”.
And I must say that my trip to Egypt was the most amazing experience of my life. I’ve travelled the world and have seen many awesome, breath taking places. But Egypt – Kemet - was completely different. It was different because it meant something to me on just about every level possible. It was a physical journey, an emotional journey and a deeply deeply spiritual journey. I guess it was the equivalent of a trip to Mecca for a Muslim, or Jerusalem for a Christian. Egypt is my place, it’s my Mecca, my Jerusalem. It is the culmination of everything that I believe to be great about my ancestors. For me, it represents the pinnacle of African spirituality, creativity, intelligence and greatness…and to make it there literally meant the world to me.
I had dreamed of visiting these Pyramids for decades. So it was surreal to watch myself get closer and closer to them, all while riding on the back of a camel named Ramses! After I dismounted my trusted new friend and actually started walking towards the Pyramids my heart was overcome with emotion. Sadly, I can’t really explain it (which is incredibly rare for an overly verbal person like me) because the experience truly left me speechless. When I stood at the feet of the Great Pyramids of Giza, I knew that I stood on Holy Land. I stood in the place of my ancestors. In the place of Kings and Queens. And as I rushed to the Pyramid of Khafre tears welled in my eyes. When I reached it, I kissed it. Yup, I kissed the Pyramid.
Right there in the dusty desert of the Sahara I found the greatest inspiration I have ever felt in my whole entire life. See, when you are standing next to a Pyramid that was built over four thousand years ago by your ancestors, it forces you to take a pause. When you see bricks that are half your size but probably three times your weight, stacked one on top of the other for 136 meters…it causes you to take pause. When you look at the top of the structure and see remains of its granite casing it you cannot help but pause. Because there is no way one can witness such greatness, without being absolutely mesmerized.
And that’s what I was. Absolutely mesmerized. Mesmerized by its architectural genius. Mesmerized by its fortitude. Mesmerized by its size and shape. Just mesmerized by its sheer existence. I stood there in awe and I soaked in centuries of greatness.
There is so much that a person like myself could learn from these Pyramids. See, I over think and over analyse everything. So when I see and experience things I completely internalize them. I think about more than just what I’m looking at. I think about the process. I think about the sacrifice. As I’m standing in front of this Pyramid my mind is racing. I’m thinking about the people who built it. The people whose lives were dedicated to realizing the dream of their Pharaoh. The people who toiled in the Egyptian heat, cutting, moving, polishing and then stacking the stones. One after the other. Day in, day out. These amazing people stacked the stones…
And then it hit me! Days, now weeks later, the thing that still stands out the most to me are the people who stacked the stones. One after the other. Day in and day out. People stacked the stones. Huge, heavy stones. Stacked one on top of the other. They stacked the stones every single day.
Most of us who find the Pyramids fascinating are captivated by its finished product. Captivated by the fact that it still stands. Captivated by their astrological significance. Captivated by their representation of the afterlife. I’m not sure how many people are actually captivated by the stones.
But I am. The stones make that pyramid amazing. And if just one of them were to have been removed, perhaps the entire structure would have turned out different. Perhaps it would have crumbled.
I know your reading thinking “get to the point sis”…and I am, I promise you that I am. But I need you to understand exactly what I’m getting at. These stones, the stones that laid the foundation of the pyramid weighed approximately 2.5 tons each. THESE ARE SOME BIG ASS STONES! And it is calculated that approximately 500 stones were laid each day. (Yeah read that again and let sink in!)
Can you imagine what those people went through? Physically. Mentally. And…SPIRITUALLY. These people laid those stones every day for years because they believed. They believed in a cause greater then themselves. They believed in the afterlife. And so I believe that building these Pyramids was so much more than a physical exercise for them. So much more than mere construction. It was a spiritual process. A deeply deeply spiritual process.
From a distance I gazed at the Pyramids and smiled. I was like WOW! those things are freaking awesome. But it wasn’t until I reached them and saw the stones that I truly understood their magnificence. The stones are the most important part of the Pyramid. They are the Pyramid. Each one is significant. Each one plays an integral part to its existence. They aren’t all the same size or shape or weight, but they are all so important.
And here comes my point…the greatest metaphor I could ever apply to my life…
I’ve been laying some stones for a while now. And they have been pretty damn heavy too. Disappointments. Failure. Low Self Esteem. Fear. Heartbreak. Failed relationships. Loss. Those stones are freaking heavy. I may have acted like it was easy, but the experiences that I’ve been through have been difficult. Each of my stones look and feel different. They include a childhood wrapped up in a dysfunctional marriage. Having to visit my brother in prison for five years. At age 21 having to face a potential prison sentence of my own. Spending years caught up in a cycle of drugs and emotional abuse. Dropping out of graduate school. Three years of unemployment. An unplanned (and to be honest unwanted) pregnancy. Marriage to a man I barely knew. Divorcing that same man three years later. Single motherhood. These are my stones. They are big and they are heavy.
For years I’ve carried these stones, not truly understanding the magnitude of what they were in my life. I hardly even realized that in carrying all of this stuff I was building something amazing. I had no idea that piled one on top of the other, these stones transformed into the foundation of greatness. That what I was really doing was building my very own metaphorical pyramid. I wasn’t just carrying stones all these years. I was building a life. And the stones I’ve been carrying are testimonies. They built character. Those stones were magical.
The only thing I have to do is keep carrying them. Keep laying them, one lesson on top of the other. One experience on top of the other. And over time, lots of time, I’ll have my very own magnificent Pyramid of experience, strength and hope. I’ll have my own legacy that people can sit in awe of. They can wonder how I built it. And then, hopefully, they’ll read my story and see that it was all in carrying the stones…
I had long anticipated seeing the Pyramids but I never dreamed I would walk away from them feeling so inspired. Feeling so encouraged. Feeling so amazing. I had no idea that those Pyramids would change my life.
Whatever stones 2017 place on your path, all I ask is that you carry them. Use them to build something strong, something courageous and something GREAT!