Today my friend, who happens to be a sixty-eight  year old Jewish man with a refurbished heart, sent me an email letting me know what he intends to leave for me (to continue our work together) if anything should happen to him. 

As you have witnessed by my silence lately, I have not been writing. In part, due to mourning. In part, due to having a busy schedule, but not really. In part, because I haven’t known which words to use in these, to be frank, difficult times since 2020 made herself known.

Not long after the New Year’s fireworks, the United States used drone strikes that killed an Iranian General and brought us to the brink of war. The World Health Organization told us about a potential (now actual) coronavirus pandemic in January as well. We witnessed volcanic eruptions and record-breaking earthquakes around the world in addition to the fires that we were already monitoring.

Sign Up for Paterson Newsletter
Our newsletter delivers the local news that you can trust.

Locally, we mourned deaths due to violence and those times were not easier than the times before it. No matter how many funerals we go to, we never get better at mourning. We mourned for the death of Kobe Bryant, his daughter and all the precious people who died in a helicopter crash. In my household, January ended with a crippling loss when my significant other started his mourning of dear friend and business partner.

Honestly, I had no idea what I could possibly write about that would matter and decided that February would be better.

In February, Donald Trump was acquitted, but knew that would happen. The important thing about the impeachment trial was that our Congress refused to hear witnesses or review evidence and some of us knew that politicians wanted to protect the president’s legacy by not entering the testimony and articles into evidence and, therefore, history.

We had mass shootings (pay attention to the plural). The Boy Scouts filed for bankruptcy which is symbolically important because the Boy Scouts have been the icon for “goodness” in the United States.

My father died. Honestly, I’ve been mourning for him my whole life and didn’t feel qualified though I have had real pain and real tears for what is loss for me.

I needed to keep living and working, I needed to be mindful about my aunts, cousins and my sister. I felt like I could walk faithful in victory, but that embarrassed me. Pastor Lassiter told me that God is sometimes that way: allows us to feel victorious in faith and embarrassed about it at the same time.  I have so much to be thankful for: this platform, the ways that you all honor me, health and breath, and abundant love. I won’t complain. 

In March 2020, where we currently stand, with our schools, city, and state operating under emergency conditions due to the coronavirus, COVID- 19, I have pondered the possibility that I may have seen my children and grandson for the last time. My faith tells me that we all, inclusive of you, will make it through this night and arrive at our morning with joy in our hearts. I don’t know how long this night will last, but I do know that morning is coming.

To my readers, friends, and family: thank you for being you. I am especially grateful to my friend who, during his “night” thought to leave something for me to continue our work. I suspect that his age and heart condition put him in the mind to write such an email during the current viral pandemic, but what his gesture actually did was refurbish my willingness to write an in doing so restored me to my purpose. 


Joy Comes in the Morning

Night time doesn’t last always

Joy comes in the morning

We don’t know what time, 

But we know that joy

 arrives in morning

For those who are mourning,

For those who are uncertain

For those who are in disbelief

For those who are in in grief

For those who are in need of relief,

You only need to look to the windows

The cherry blossoms are new

You only need to listen to the sounds

The sparrow is singing

You only need to be still

Your heart still knows His voice

Joy is near