Voices Beneath the Water: Arthenia Bates Millican (1920-2012)
Listen. Be still and listen. Be still and listen and learn something for everyday use. Our ancestors are stern, purposeful and dignified, impatient with foibles, adamant that memory shall be. During her ninety-two years of navigating life on Earth, Arthenia Jackson Bates Millican listened faithfully. She translated the sounds of ancestral text-messages into the gestures that bespeak profound humanity and enviable modesty, into the works that one might argue leave this world somewhat better than when we arrived. She produced seeds beneath the snow, the life-kernels we are obliged to cultivate as proof that we are worthy holding her legacy in our minds, our ears, and our hands. Having given us a model of how to live and make contributions to humanity without pretense, having given us many lessons in altruism or the best habits of the heart, she is now speaking with the millions of voices beneath the water. Listen to her. Be still and listen to her. Be still, listen, and learn how best to use the gifts she gave us to do the work that is always there to be done.
Jerry W. Ward, Jr.
December 14, 2012