Diversity and Unity

Happy Kwanza!  For those not clear about it, Kwanza was created in 1966 by a professor of African Studies, Dr. Maulana Karenga, who stressed the need to preserve, revitalize and promote African American culture.  It is not a religious holiday but a cultural one and thus available to Africans of all religious faiths who are brought together through the rich, ancient and varied common ground of Africa.

While I admit that the blood that pulses in my veins, at least in this current life, would at first appear to be “Caucasian,” before Russia and Czechoslovakia, there was probably Spain and Provence, and before that Israel, but before that… undoubtedly it was Africa.  We all come from Africa if we take a wide enough and long-term-enough perspective.  As a human family we are tasked with respecting and celebrating differences and at the same time also finding unity.

There was a recent book about a real-life search for the ark built to hold the tablets of the ten commandments (the same ark sought by Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark) by Tudor Parfitt, “The Lost Ark of the Covenant,” where the intrepid Parfitt traces the lost tribe of Israel back into Africa where he finds the Lemba—dark pigmentation and a virtual genetic match with the Hassidic Rabbis in Israel.  Parfitt recognizes Jewish rituals mixed into their African rituals and a stated history connected with Israel.  Parfitt doesn’t go into it, but his book left me wondering if the Lemba were prone to have Chinese food on Christmas night.

I am also an ardent fan of synchronicity, and I tend to pay attention to what’s going on in the here and now—looking for clues about what the universe might be whispering.  And thus on Boxing Day, which was also the first day of Kwanza this year, it also happened to be my niece’s 15th Birthday.  And so I realized that Kayla, with her beautiful African-American blood and spirit, was the one in our family best positioned to represent for Kwanza.

Our family, with all its issues and all its strengths, may be an apt microcosm for our world.  Thus seeing my nephew Gabe, with his beautiful Latino-American spirit and my neice Emma with her beautiful Celtic-Welsh-Scotts-American spirit all mingled up with their you-tube, texting Facebook love for Kayla and the love that lives, supports and nourishes each other across time-zones and state lines reminded me, that with 25 people for Christmas Eve, 25 more for Christmas morning, another shift of 25 for Christmas night and a full house on Kwanza/Boxing Day right on through the final poker game to honor my departed father-in-law and his beloved (and much used) poker table, and even though I’m still functioning on “kitty brain,” a picture is worth a thousand blog post words.

So, let’s dedicate today to seeing the love and the beauty in each other’s traditions as well as in our own, and to finding perspective that widens to see that we here on planet earth, across cultures and continents, are truly all family—a family with a lot of issues, but with a lot of love too—a family in which every child is one of our collective children.

Namaste & Ubuntu (meaning “I am because you are”), Bruce

p.s. For more on Kwanza see: http://tiny.cc/oekI4


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One Response to “Diversity and Unity”

  1. krk Says:

    Ubuntu Bruce,
    Thank you. These are beautiful children. Our world is full of beauty. I am
    grateful this year for that beauty. May all of our hearts be warmed.

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