Monthly Archives: December 2011
The sixth day of Kwanzaa is a celebration of Kuumba, the creativity of the community. We look at the uplifting of the community through various forms of creative expression. Some have gatherings today and share food, dance and son.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
These are the principles that I have missed for day two, three and four:
Kujichagulia – Self Determination, Ujima – Collective Work & Responsibility, Ujamaa – Cooperative Economics
Today’s principle is Nia which means purpose in Swahili. This principle is about,our collective wish to build our community and restore our community to its historic greatness.
Kwanzaa is a celebration created by Maulana Karenga to honor African-American culture and heritage. It is not religious but begins on December 26th and some confuse it with an alternative religious celebration to Christmas. Not true. Kwanzaa is about family. It’s a time to get together and have a good time. One of the seven principles are read every night and a candle is lit on the kinara which is a candle holder. The last night results in a feast shared by friends and family.
First Night – Umoja (Unity) – promotes the maintenance of family community, nation and race
It’s Christmas today to all who celebrate it. A quiet day at my house. Started out the day in church which was good for me. Waiting for the grands to come this evening so that we can watch them open gifts. We (Mother & Husband) don’t exchange. The gift thing is for the kids. The sentiment is for everyone. The reason for the season isn’t about spending money that you don’t have or could use in a better way.
A man dressed in a Santa suit is giving out envelopes with a $100.00 bill in it. Inside the envelope is a note that says pay it forward. Someone else is paying off toy lay aways at KMart for families, no questions asked.
That’s the spirit. So Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah and to all a good night.
This morning I woke up thinking about music. There hasn’t been a time in my life when music hasn’t been important. One of my earliest memories is taking some money I had saved and buying a 45 (if you don’t know what this is, I’m too old and tired to explain) to play on my record player. I must have been around seven or eight and the store was next door to the building I grew up in. Another favorite memory is an audio memory of the sounds of summer in Manhattan which included the sound of congas and other drums in the playground. There isn’t a period of my life that I can’t describe in terms of music. Lately my music is tied to my Zumba classes. If I’m feeling down, I listen to music. In my car, listen to music. Doing school work, listen to music. I like it all, classical, a little country, lots of R&B, lots of Latin (old school) gospel, lots of Beatles (have all my original albums), major closet Eagles fan and even a little hip hop.
So I felt right on target this morning when Reverend Harris preached on music and praise. So if you are having a challenging time, turn on that music and crank up the volume. The neighbors will get over it or join in!
Believe it or not this morning I attended a funeral and this afternoon a memorial service for two friends who died this week. Both in their fifties and both ill for a long time. The first, my friend Larry apparently suffered from a life long illness that eventually led to his death. The second my friend Jerry was like a brother to me and he succumbed to cancer after a twelve year battle. So I am not writing this to talk about how sad it is that they died. But rather to talk about how well they lived.
I knew Larry for over twenty years professionally and to some degree personally (we shared personal friends) and I never knew that he was ill. He was always cheerful, had a laugh that could cheer up anyone and never complained although he was probably not feeling well often. He seemed to enjoy life and probably had an appreciation for the good times that we all should have. The church was full of friends, former co-workers and church members all paying tribute to a well loved man.
Jerry was diagnosed with cancer twelve years ago and was told that he had two to three years to live. He too was in almost constant pain but never complained. Today a gentleman got up to speak and said that he has cancer and that in 2004 he was defeated, depressed and ready to give up and then into the Chemo room walked Jerry. He said that Jerry came into the room and announced that he was told that he should have been dead already and that he was a fighter and that everybody that had chemo with him needed to be a fighter. The man said it changed his attitude. Wow!
So I will miss my two friends. But they will always be in my mind and when I get up with my aches and pains I’ll remember that sometimes we have to put a smile on our face and keep it moving.