In 1999, a movie premiered—The 13th Warrior—based on the writings of Ibn Fadlan, an Arab, who traveled in the 900s AD with Scandinavian traders in Russia. In the movie, a Viking chieftain recites a prayer with all his men, just before he dies in battle:
Lo, there do I see my father.
Lo, there do I see my mother, my sisters and my brothers.
Lo, there do I see the line of my people back to the beginning.
Lo, they do call to me.
They bid me take my place on Asgard in the halls of Valhalla,
Where the brave may live forever.
Although the references to Asgard and Valhalla are colored with a specific culture, this man beautifully describes the eternal connection we all have to our forefathers and mothers. We are a product of their blood, their pain, their cultures, their times, and their individual decisions.
And now, as we grow in the power that can come only from love, they know what we have done and are proud of us. They rejoice that we have found the joy that eluded so many of them. We need never condemn them for their failures, but instead, we can benefit most from a deep and overwhelming gratitude for all they did to make our present experiences possible.
We stand on their shoulders and experience a sense of loving peace that few of them knew. They are enriched by the elevation of our gaze. And many of the line of our people knew—and helped to forge—the lines of the people around us. We are all connected more than we could know.
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