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One Thing Missing

By Jamila Bailey

Like many of you, I am trying hard to make it in this life. As a single mother, I am challenged to find adequate day care and receive consistent child support payments; as a black woman I sometimes struggle to accept the me in the mirror; as an employee I often feel underappreciated and know that I am   under-compensated.   (Fortunately, I'm not struggling with my man, there is sanctuary in that space.) But ya'll, I'm tired.


It's not the kind of tired that a long night of neither rest nor a hot bath in oils will remedy.   Now, don't get me wrong, a bath and those eight hours can do wonders, but on an everyday basis, I know I need a little more.  


I do find some relief in being able to connect with you though.     We party, dine, and take advantage of happy hour excursions together; we build on global politics, popular culture, and the state of our community.   We educate, advocate, and inform one another.   We shop!


In our "me time" many of us read, watch movies, surf the internet, write, draw, etc. We worry too, about the genocides taking place all over the world; fear the changes coming our way in the US as a result of the Iraq War.   As twenty- and thirty-something's, many of us are studying for the bar exam, medical school, getting licensed to teach, become social workers and all of that.   But ya'll, I'm tired, and I know that some of you are too.  


There's a tiredness that centuries of struggle, exploitation, greed, and oppression have caused to permeate the cultural and spiritual fabric of our society and there's only one thing that can ultimately release it.     On soul-weary days, like my foremothers I hum, I weep, and I pray.   In a heartbeat I'll put on a WOW Gospel compilation CD; I'll recite a healing prayer; in a moment I'll drop to my knees and appeal to the Universe to just "Fix Me."  


And yet, sometimes I want to talk with you, beyond that, I want to make sure that in the midst of our conversation is the Creator, by whatever name or identifier you give it/him/her.   I long to pray with you, to enter that space where when more than two are gathered there is peace, assuredness, and possibility.   I'm missing a space where I can come to you and know that you won't mind if I say grace before eating or offer a prayer before a meeting.   I need a moment of silence and reflection with you about the beauty of the world, the joys of love, the fulfillment found in faith.  

I believe that life can be lived as prayer when we remember that "service is prayer; prayer is worship; worship is love; love is action; action is work; and that work is service." [1]    How about it ya'll?   Amongst all the things we do, can we pray together?   Can we invoke the Universe to respond to our collective plea for happiness, healing, joy, sustenance, peace, unity, prosperity, and whatever else our souls desire?   I hope so.   The next time we meet, let's bow our heads.

[1] Abdul Baha




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