Sunday, April 27, 2008
(L-R) Libra Finley (my oldest daughter)and my oldest sister, Betty Holmes
Betty Holmes served as MC at our mother's 85th birthday celebration.
L-R Natalie and her three boys. She is married to my nephew Ranu who is my sister, Gwen's son.
L-R Part of Reggie's family - He is in the middle and is my brother. He is with his two daughters Tynisha and ______ and his girlfriend to his right
L-R my brother Jerome and his youngest daughter, Tasheka Vaughn on the left and his friend Gwen Powell on right. His older daughter, Takara Tuff also attended but is not featured in this picture.
L-R My nephew Ranu and his wife, Natalie and their three sons.
My oldest sister Betty and her grand daughter on left and step grand daughter on the right and new infant grandson in his mothers arms. We all prayed for him because he was having a surgical procedure to relieve a blockage. We are knowing him to be in perfect health and wholeness! My nephew, Keith, father to two children and son of my sister Betty.
L-R Brenda (my sister); Gwen (my sister); Corlissa (my niece); and Shavonda (my niece) and her son Demetrius. Shavonda will soon be returning for a 3rd tour to Afghanistan. We hold her in prayer.
As I get older I seem to get wiser. What I know for sure is that life is all about a sense of being connected, relationships with family, and friends, ones sense of self, work that has meaning and purpose, nurturing an ongoing relationship with that which is sacred and divine in life and leaving something that says, “I passed this way.”
Attending my mothers 85th birthday with my nine siblings, our children and our children’s children in Detroit the weekend of April 26 was an experience that I will carry in my heart for a life time. We laughed and cried and celebrated and acknowledged one another and drew from our rich and deep well of religion and spirituality. We are far from being the Huxtables. However, we have come a mighty long way over our life time. And it was good to be able to see and experience the fruits of our efforts. If I felt that way as a sibling, I can only guess a my mother’s feelings of gratitude and amazement at having come from far with so much.
Like any family we have had our ups and downs, our feuds and falling outs. But we are still standing. And for that I am eternally grateful to Spirit. I am grateful for a mother and father that taught us right from wrong. I am grateful that they cared enough to stick around. They were both far from perfect and we were less than perfect children. But they showed their love in their own ways while wrestling with their demons.
My mama was a praying woman, a church going woman and a staunch Christian. She is the source of my spirituality. She was a devoted mother while we were growing up and determined that we would “make something of ourselves.” Having raised three children through three marriages I know the perils and challenges of raising children. One of the most important responsibilities in society does not come with an instructional manual. Yet, as hard as it sometimes was being a single parent it never occurred to me to walk away from my children. That was simply never an option.
Yet my mama paid a price for choosing her children over a life that included her dreams for herself. She did not get to live her own life. So her life after my daddy’s death and once all my siblings grew up and left home is even a sweeter time. Because she finally gets to do with her life what she wants to do. Serving the Lord and serving her children is what she derives so much pleasure from. I hope in the twilight of her life she knows that she has been an inspiration to her children and others. I hope she knows that her life matters and that she has made a difference. And that the things that she was not able to teach me that I managed to learn the on my own because of the foundation she provided. And that were I not so absorbed in my own woundedness that I would have been able to see that.
Blessed Be! Rev. Dr. Qiyamah
Detroit: The Beauty Shines Through in a City in Crisis
The spring unlike winter time makes me more generous of spirit and more inclined to seek the high road in matters. Such was the case recently when I traveled to Detroit the weekend of April 26 for my mother’s 85th birthday. Walking along the waterfront with my older daughter Libra, I took the preceeding pictures. Spring is evident in the blooming dogwoods, daffodils and tulips everywhere. The shimmering and rolling waves of the sky blue Detroit River played host to the fishermen and boaters seduced by a combination of the weather and beckoning water. Momentarily, I forgot about the serious fiscal and moral challenges that plague the City of Detroit. Instead, I luxuriated in the beauty and history of Detroit where I spent the first twenty-three years of my life. Like feuding lovers, I am ready to bury the hatchet, claim this friendship and remember the good times we shared together over the years. The pictures taken along the waterfront and Jefferson Avenue capture a fragment of what makes Detroit so beautiful. Yet, I cannot help adding that for every such scene there are dozens that portray the devastation of Detroit and its people. I only hope and pray that the tide of progress can turn around things for the citizens of Detroit who deserve so much better.
Blessings! Rev. Dr. Qiyamah