By Hakim Abdul-Ali
A very close and dear friend from New Jersey, who I hadn’t seen or heard from in decades, died sometime last month. I was made aware of his passing by another mutual friend of the both the departed soul and yours truly.
Also, I was informed that my friend who died was in bad shape and suffering with illness towards the later years of his life on Earth. I was saddened to hear that especially since I hadn’t heard from, nor seen, him in too, too many years to count or remember.
Thinking back on our wonderful friendship made me reflect on the the good times we shared in New York discussing relevant matters of the day, going to different cultural events, playing one-on-one basketball and the thousands of other special vibes we enjoyed when hanging out in the City. Those were great times for me to now recall, even at this juncture in my own life’s episodic journey thus far.
My friend’s passing is obviously having a penetrating spiritual wake up call affect on me presently. And, for some unknown reason, I see how the arenas of life and death are seemingly interwoven for me in my mind’s eye and thinking equilibrium as I bring myself back to writing this week’s message.
I know that sometimes the life that many folks in the world experience is complex to say the least. From hectic upheavals to chaotic distresses, the day-to-day dilemmas of the predictable unpredictable scenarios which many ethnicities in “hue-manity” face can leave some of them with skepticism, hopeless, uncertainty and despair. I sense that life is trying for a lot of folks, just as I am sure that it was for my dearly departed friend. So, if I’ve learned anything from the notification of his death, it’s that you never know what an individual is going through, and that includes me, you and anyone else in “hue-manity.”
Life is a constant test. The living experience is and can brutally overbearing at times if you let it be, and society-at-large, including so-called family and friends, oftentimes, are nowhere to be found when the living process throws one a new hassle or two.
If you’re without strong faith in the Supreme Force Alone, you can get caught up into disillusionment and faithlessness. Honestly, I used to be that way a long time ago, but now I view the happenings of life a little bit differently.
Quite frankly, in my very own spiritual ways of thinking, I view the prodigious occurrences in life, including my friend’s death, as learning signs. In many faithful norms, there’s a reason for and behind everything. I sense that nothing happens just to be happening. I firmly believe that there are messages behind all of the occurrences and happenings in life, and there’s much to be learned from them all if we step back and look at what they are (actually) telling us. Of course, that requires doing so with patience and understanding, qualities very few of us in “hue-manity” truly exhibit on a regular basis.
When I make a bold statement like that at this time, I am including myself in that category also because I’ve been guilty of being impatient and have lacked understanding about many things that were going on around and about me. This includes thinking about my absence from being in contact with my late friend for so many years.
Life is full of continual learning lessons from the cradle to the grave, and I say that ever-so-humbly. I’m only a student in the game of life, and there are so many lessons from life’s experiences that were before me in the past which I couldn’t understand, but I clearly wasn’t on top my learning game then to decipher them. Are you like that too now, or maybe you were or had been like that in your past worlds of existences? Think before you reply because for some folk it may be a difficult question to answer, especially if you, or they, don’t know that life is more than a casual preoccupation as some ethnic folk tend to view it as.
The current living process is all that we have in this phase of existence, so let’s make the very best of it. My friend’s death is helping me learn another valuable lesson in life, and that is that you can’t make up for yesterday’s absences of “I should haves”.
My friend was the type of good-natured being who I remembered as one who loved life to the fullest. He was a God-fearing soul, and he believed that doing positive things for the benefits of God, self, family, country and “hue-manity”-at-large was where we all should be.
We spoke during our friendship about the Oneness of the Most High Alone, and he abhorred the very scent of apartheid, bigotry and racism. These were the excellent qualities about this brother that are shooting across my mind waves as I try to complete this article.This brother had such a pure decency about him that, on many occasions, we’d go out and talk to the homeless folk in the Big Apple with comfort and ease. He’d always tell me that he was no better than the next man or woman, so he felt it was a humble duty of his to show love and respect to one and all. He was real.
My late friend would remind that life is short in so many levels of understanding. He’d always tell me, “Remember, Brother, that the next moment in functional time and extended space is not promised to me, you or anyone else, no matter how you or they view life and living from moment-to-moment.” Those words of his have helped guide me for decades, and I’ve come to sensibly know that life is really too short to be playing mind games of witless idiosyncrasies as some unenlightened beings do. On this occasion of my friend’s passing, I’m forced to remind you that some folk who may be lost in negligent limbo may not realize that death is only a heartbeat away.
Please think about that because, again, death is only a heartbeat away. My friend’s passing and all that goes with what I’ve been alluding to surrounding our relationship is part of my message to you today, if you follow my drift.
In mentioning this point once more, I’m only doing so to remind me, you and others that the living process is a privileged voyage, and we mustn’t “play” with this experience that’s given to us by the Creator Alone of everyone and everything. My friend’s death once more is reminding me of the frankness of that last sentence big time.
Sometimes, through ignorance or just plain old forgetfulness, some of us in the living process act as though the next breath is a guarantee. I hope that you’re not like that because it’s definitely not to the spiritually aware among us because, on this occasion, they know that the next breath isn’t a sure thing for them.
When we understand the fragility of the sacred moment we’re in and Who it is who is extending it to us, then we’ll appreciate and value each moment in life even more so. Knowing and fully comprehending this is what my friend’s death is saying to me now, and it’s also saying that we acknowledge and must “Respect Living as a Blessed Sign.”
Understand that life is a gift from God. Enjoy it in submitting to the Most High Alone while it lasts. Rest in peace my friend. Thanks for the memories. A Brighter Upside of Yourself. For today and always, that’s, “As I See It.”