NORMSKI’S ARTICLE

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Eternal Life

© 2010 Norman Samuda-Smith

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Eternal life was always the subject of debate back in the day when I attended Sunday school; whether it exists and what happens to us when we die and go to heaven. A person can only receive eternal life as long as they follow certain rules and regulations: don’t live in sin, don’t tell lies, be good to one another etc, etc. We were taught to believe: you live, you die, you’re buried and then your soul rises out of your body-shell, ascends and knocks on the gates of heaven where God judges whether you’re worthy to enter heaven, or be doomed to hell – Frightening!  So I put the subject of eternal life to the back of my mind for it to be perhaps processed later. Then around ten years ago, the subject resurfaced under bizarre circumstances.

I was at work one day when I received a phone call from my son and daughter’s school teacher. In a solemn voice, she informed me she had to suspend my children from school for a day for them to cool off; that their suspensions stemmed from completely separate incidents.

            “Ok, thanks for letting me know.” I said. “Bye.” I placed the receiver back in its cradle and calmly drifted out the office to take a break and breathe some fresh air. I won’t go into the details about what they did, all I’m gonna say is they were minor incidents, but they were worthy of a cool-off period.

So I’m at work, outside, puffing a cigarette, vex first and foremost and cussing under my breath. Venting over, cigarette stubbed out, I began thinking logically. How do I sort out this problem in a firm but reasonable way and explain to my teenagers that being suspended from school ain’t cool? I returned to the office and phoned them and said we’ll discuss the issue when I come home from work.

When I got home that evening, my children were perched on the sofa waiting for me. They had a look of anticipation in their eyes and were ready for me to dive in hollering with all guns blazing. To their surprise I asked them to explain what happened. The second they opened their mouths, I knew I was in for a long evening. They immediately went on the defensive tip. It was everybody else’s fault why they got in trouble.

What seems completely trivial to an adult, for example something that might be said or done, (we can just brush it off); can be a big deal or the end of the world to a teenager. It soon became apparent to me while my children were beating off their gums; I was not going to get the truth.

            “ENOUGH!” I yelled; there was an immediate silence. “I send you to school to learn and not for me to receive a phone call from yuh teacher tellin’ me y’all been suspended. What’s the matter wid unnu?”

            “Sorry dad.”

            “Sorry?  Sorry is a comfort to a fool. Your grandparents never have the privileges you have right yah now and I’m sure they never come ah dis country fe sit back and watch unnu mess up yuh education. Y’all takin’ dis free education ting fe a joke. Your grandmother used to tell me: In the abundance of water, the fool is thirsty!” and: The greatest ting is to know what you don’t know.”

Usually at this point in a conversation in the past, this is where I would have stopped myself in mid sentence, taken a step back and said something like: “Oh-oh, I sound just like my mom and dad, scary!” – C’mon, we’ve all been there and dreaded the thought we’re transforming into our parents…

So while I was aware that thought was rolling around in my head, I continued to reprimand my children with words I wouldn’t have originally voiced and for the first time I embraced it. Here is where the mystic came into the mix. I became aware of a presence in the room while I was in full verbal flow and then I heard different voices whispering in my ears saying: “Yes son, tell dem.” – “I used to tell yuh great grandmother dat yuh nuh.” – “Me tell yuh father the same ting when he was twelve.” – “Lord, what a way yuh daughter favour yuh mother.” – It felt like my fore-parents were in the room, revolving around me and advising me what to express.  Then a final voice whispered: “Alright son, I think you make your point.”

I ended the lecture: “Do I make myself clear?”

            “Yes dad,” they replied.

            “Now disappear! I’m sick of the sight of unnu right now!”

Later that evening I sat and reflected on what I experienced and confronted the debate of eternal life. We are born of the seeds of our parents. The minute we’re first seen we look like our moms and dads, aunts and uncles and our grandparents. When we speak, we sound like them. We take on the way they walk, smile and frown. What they teach us when we are children; we process it and store their information in our minds, until one day we voice the wisdom of our elders when the need arises. Genetically, they are we, as we are they. One-ness. So when we leave Mother Earth in the physical, we continue to live in the hearts, minds and actions of our off-spring; and all that to me equals eternal life.

Til next month – Everyting Bless.

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*All rights reserved.  No part of this article may be reproduced in any form or by any means without prior written permission of the writer Norman Samuda-Smith.*

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