Thursday, October 05, 2006

When it's all said and done...

Peace and Blessings,

Recently, many people who are close to me have been experiencing the lost of life-long friends to cancer. Before I get into the purpose of this piece, I want to emphasize the importance of living and eating healthy, as cancer is constantly taking lives irrespective of age, race, gender, etc... So make sure you get regular check-ups and take care of your body, as it is a temple for God. While driving to campus yesterday morning, I was listening to the album "Crossroads" by Deitrick Haddon. I was thinking about the recent lost that my loved ones have recently experienced and I started to think about how I still struggle with the idea of people dying, especially when I feel like it was "before their time." God quickly reminded me, however, of something that as a believer I often forget...


Regardless of what ethnicity and culture you represent, I'm pretty sure that within every family there is that older cousin who often serves as the "nucleus" holding all the younger cousins together. For me, it was my oldest cousin on my father's side of the family. As a child I remember going over his house playing football, staying up all night playing video games, and so forth. On top of being one of the coolest people to spend time with, he was also one of the most gifted. He ran track, played football, and was an exceptional honor student. During his senior year of high school he got a scholarship (I think a full ride) to go to UCLA. So as you can see, it was not difficult to view him as a mentor and strive to be like him. After all. as young men we are always looking for guidance from an older male figure.


One day, however, everything changed in a blink of an eye. A few days before his graduation, he was walking home and was approached by a couple of people who tried to take his cd player. Realizing they were outmatched (like I said, my cousin was a football player so he was considerable bigger than them), they left. However, they shortly returned in a car and shot and killed him. I was in the third grade when this happened, and ever since then, I have always felt that my educational pursuits are not just for me, but they are for him and his parents as well. Actually, his passing was the reason why I wanted to go to UCLA as a youth. Not because I knew anything about the school, but because that's where he was going.


Fastforward about fourteen years and now i'm at Harvard's Graduate School of Education. While having a long conversation with with a young woman who went to the same undergrad as I did and it now at MIT, we found out that we were both from california and had plenty of similarities. When she asked me about what motivated my educational pursuits and I told her that the loss of my cousin plays a significant part, she told me that she remembered hearing about my cousin's passing on the news, and was talking to her friends about it when it happened. Now I figure by now that I had "dealed" with the loss of my cousin, but that conversation reminded me that I hadn't. There was still this weight that I carried around because I still could not understand why God allowed for my cousin, whose future and spirit was about as bright as can be, to go be with Him at such a young age. Till this day, I still think about where my cousin would be and what he would be doing right now if he were still alive.

These thoughts continued to resonate within me until one day, I was listening to a track called "After While" off of Deitrick Haddon's album "Lost and Found," and it is about dealing with the loss of a loved one. In short, the song basically says that although I cannot understand why you are no longer here, I know that I will see you again. It was at that point that I felt God ministering to my spirit, and finally giving me some "piece" about the situation. While I'm still living, I will never know why got took my cousin at 17, but what I do know is that I will see him again when God calls me home. When I think about the afterlife, I tend to view it like this. Just as we (belivers or not) are unable to fully explain where we come from (meaning we know how babies are made, but we don't know the full extent of God's reasoning behind it, or behind creation for that matter), the same goes for the afterlife. We cannot fully explain what happens to us when we die, therefore we are in no position to assume that once we die, that's it. As believers, however, that's where our faith comes in. As scripture says it is the "evidence of things not seen," thus we must trust that God has everthing in control, especially those things that surpass human reason and understanding, like what happens to us once we die. I pray that this is able to bless whoever reads it, but it sure does a number on me, lol. Also, although it doesn't include the song "afterwhile," below is a clip of D. Haddon performing live. Until next time, speekonit...



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