____By: Patricia Jabbeh Wesley
Let your days ahead be sprinkled with laughter
and with laughter, peace.
May all you touch spring forth with freshness.
Find time to giggle and dance and jump,
and watch the setting of the sun.
When you wake up, wonder out loud
about the sun’s rays, about the darkening
of the morning, about the fog over the hills,
about your babies down the hall,
about the neighbor and her dog. Wonder
at the stars; wonder and wonder why
you are so blessed and why is it you are
among those of the earth who have
more than their allotted air for breathing.
Wonder why the cat meows and why
the dog wags its tail.
Wonder and wonder why dew falls
at night and about the squirrel’s fleeting stare.
Make laughter come alive in your home.
And when you touch someone, let that touch
be real, and I mean, real, my friend.
Walk gently on soft ground, and when
you walk on a bare rock, step hard, this
life is precious. May your year follow only
through a clear path, and please, when you walk,
let it be with God, my love, let it be with God.
— Patricia Jabbeh Wesley (Copyright: from new manuscript of poetry)
New Year’s Day is celebrated all around the world with grandeur, pomp and pride. No matter where you are, New Year’s Day is recognized as a significant bridge between the old present and the future, between the past and the future, between the new and old generation. Today, 2010 is no different. This however, is the end of a decade, a major bridge into a new era. In Liberia, New Year’s Day is celebrated by huge cooking and neighborly well wishing, visitation of relatives and open doors for children to roam in their dressy outfits just as much as they did at Christmas. In fact, when I was a child, our parents bought us two holiday outfits, one for Christmas and one for New Year’s Day. Today, however, many of us now live abroad, in the US, in Europe and around the world where our children can be assured of lots of eating and watching of football at home after watching the ball drop at Times Square or for some, after partying all night.
But why is the New Year significant to us Africans? In many African traditions, the New Year is a time when there is much hope and expectation that the old year’s troubles will be past and the new year will bring better times, goodness and happiness, prosperity and greatness. In many traditions, our people sacrifice animals in order to assure a good future. Here, today, many of us who are immigrants pause for a better year, for prosperity just as much as our forefathers.
Last night, I called home at about 8:30 Eastern time here, 1 am, in Liberia, and wished my father a Happy New Year. He, at 83, was already in the new decade, already in the New Year, and I, living across the ocean was still in 2009.
This is the serious question however: what do you expect of this New Year? What was the last year like for you? Many will say that the last year was a difficult year for them. For many, there was the loss of good jobs, of relatives losing their jobs, and yet despite all, many of us for the first time saw the Presidency of the first black president in the United States. So, maybe, it was a mixed year for you. For some, their heartache was not just professional, but emotional, social, marital, etc. Whatever the year was for you, you are at this new beginning, hoping for a better year. I wish you the best. I wish you will receive all that is good and wonderful, that your home will be healed, and that you will draw closer to God. I am grateful for the thousands of hits this blog has got since its founding a less than three years ago. I am grateful for the hundreds of comments from my readers, and wish that we together can one day bring peace to refugees, immigrants, and all of the downtrodden of our world. May the sun go before you and the moon be upon your path in 2010.