Comforting Words: Dinner of Herbs

Friday, February 02, 2007

Dinner of Herbs

What a difference twelve months can make!

It’s February again and twelve months ago, what a different life I was living. As the saying goes, the only thing that stays constant is change and I can testify to that.

Last year February, as we embarked on the “celebration of Black History Month,” I wrote several pieces:

  1. The situation of people of African Heritage in the Diaspora with an article titled “Black History Month: Some Thoughts”

  2. On mental slavery with an article titled “Emancipate Yourself First!”

  3. I shared my personal story (at least part of it) in “Black, Woman and Gay”

  4. I celebrated my 41st birthday with an article titled “Happy Birthday To Me”

  5. I told you about a little Asian boy and how he caused me to think about multiculturalism in “Universal Language: Pain and Hope”

  6. I spoke of my understanding of the word “surrender,” in an article titled “Bittersweet”

Throughout all these articles, I made mentioned things that have been important pieces of my life: open friendships, food and service to others.

As I look back on these articles, I feel a deep sense of sorrow wading over me. However, as my spiritual guide and director have been teaching me – I am “staying awake,” to this feeling, allowing it to sweep over me and letting the tears fall as they will.

“To resist is to persist” is another teaching and since I have no desire to remain in pain forever, I am not resisting any of the feelings that have become my more recent companions.

And so it is Black History month again. This year, however, it will not find me beside women-friends (or so I thought) making a Afro-Caribbean lunch for the congregation of my church. Neither will this year find me preaching at my Church or in any other place – as I did last year.

This Black History Month will not find me celebrating my 42nd birthday on this Earth plane in the company of women-friends (again so I thought in the case of at least one) and with a partner who I loves me as no one else ever could (what a joke that has turned out to be).

Black History Month this year has arrived and found me in solitude – by desire. I have become somewhat of a recluse, leaving my house only for the necessities, such as going to my part-time job to pay what I can and to the grocery for maintenance food.

Black History Month has arrived and it has found me in deep reflection – this time not on world or community issues but on ME – this Black Woman of Strength. No, I would no longer lay claim to the title of “Strong Woman,” as that I have not been for going on four months now and you know what – I thank God!

As I reflect on ME and the past year, particularly Black History Month, this passage from Proverbs 7 (v 15) comes to mind (and I prefer the King James Version):

“Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a fatted calf with hatred.”

When I read this on February 1, 2007 it bowled me over and I thought to myself, how many times in the past twelve months have I sat at tables with fatted calves (or fish, jambalaya, pork, etc.) only to have it now revealed that the table was made of hatred, resentment, deceit and manipulation? Who knows, maybe for sixteen years I have sat at many such tables in Jamaica, the USA and now Canada?

This will be a fairly short post as my concentration level is not what it was twelve months ago. The Claudette who was able to churn out articles and be philosophical is away for a while.

However, I wanted to share this passage and thought with you as a reminder and maybe a warning to check the table you sit at – particularly as a person or a woman of colour. A man that I grew to respect, in spite of his shortcomings, used to say "don't look a gift horse in the mouth," and then he wouldlaugh heartily. I believe that laugh meant you really should!

Make sure your host or hostess – whoever that may be (it could be your partner or dear ‘friend’) – has prepared a dinner of herbs, otherwise you might need a referral to my medical team next Black History Month. What a difference twelve months can make!!

Better yet, you take the lead and say you only eat herbs!




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