Recently one of our native Islanders was featured in “O” magazine, the monthly publication put out by Oprah Winfrey. To call this an honor would be an incredible understatement, as it means being seen by millions of people who regularly read the publication in print or online. For Sallie Ann Robinson, it marks another step in her lifelong effort to shine the spotlight on her home, it’s history, and the unique Gullah culture that she represents.
Sallie was born here on Daufuskie, in her grandmother’s house. Her mother was here visiting, and had no intention of giving birth to her child while on the island, but evidently Sallie had other plans. She would grow up here, attending school here while Pat Conroy taught alongside Frances Jones, and ultimately spend her early adult life on the mainland as so many of the kids from here would do. Yet she always wanted to come home, and she always wanted to tell the world about this special place.
I’ve known Sallie for probably twenty years, and what attracted me to her back then was her passion for her history and culture. Back then, she was living in Savannah, working as a nursing assistant and working on her first book, “Gullah Home Cooking the Daufuskie Way.” Sallie wasn’t content just to dream about what could be. Instead, she was willing to carve out the time from her already busy schedule to write and talk about the uniqueness of her upbringing. And always, as we spoke over the years, there was a desire to come back home to the land where she was born. For the last few years, she has lived back on Daufuskie and is now a trustee at the church.
The publicity that is coming her way now is the result of a lifetime of dreaming, and two decades of hard work and dedication to making her dreams come true. It is important to point that out, because sometimes we look at someone else’s success and we fail to appreciate what they did to get there. Many have dreamed about writing a book, but Sallie actually did it (several times over). Many have dreamed about starting their own business, but Sallie actually did it. Living on a bridgeless island isn’t easy, but Sallie made the commitment to do it, and here she is. She worked hard to fulfill her dreams, and therefore we should celebrate her success with her. Being featured in “O” magazine is indeed a tremendous honor that we should all celebrate with her.
We need inspiration in our lives today. God gave each one of us a unique purpose, and it will likely take years of hard work and dedication to fulfill our own purpose, but simply getting through each day can be exhausting. Jesus said that he came so that we could have abundant life, but he didn’t say that getting there would be easy. In fact, Jesus told his disciples that it would be quite difficult. Sallie can testify to that fact, but she will also tell you that it has been worth it. So congratulate her, celebrate alongside her, and be inspired by her example to do the hard work that you need to do to fulfill your own unique purpose.
Peace and blessings – Pastor Aaron