Kundalini Splendor

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Friday, November 11, 2005

Patricia's Transformation 

Here is a recent entry from Patricia's Journal (see www.windchimewalker.com) describing her journey from a racist cultural background to full love and support of the Afro American community.

Patricia, by the way, is now in Lebanon, visiting Rabih Haddad and his family, all of whom she befriended when he was incarcerated and then departed by the U. S. government. (No charges were ever filed--he was taken out of the house suddently in front of his wife and frightened children, held without bail or legal counsel--for quite some time his family did not even know what had happened to him.) He is very much a man of peace, and wrote Patricia a very loving, tender letter of thanks afterwards.

Once again, Patricia demonstrated her courage in the face of injustice. I'm sure she will describe this latest "adventure" in her journal when she returns.


I literally pinched myself (Ouch!) in the night to see if I was dreaming yesterday's mountaintop experience at Rosa Parks' funeral. I still can't believe it.

How have I, a white woman whose southern ancesters owned slaves, managed to find myself not only accepted but often loved like a sister by descendents of the very people my people treated so cruelly and unjustly? And it isn't just my ancesters either; I still have extended relatives in the south whom I understand use the "n" word and think nothing of it. I've not heard it myself but the daughter of one of my cousins told me her Dad is like that.

I myself was part of the oppression--not by choice, but nonetheless--by being raised from the age of six months to two years (1942-44) by a black woman we called "Mammy." When I think of her, as I often have of late, I cringe at the realization that I don't even know her last name--her given name was Fanny--or if she had children of her own that she had had to leave in order to come north to Virginia to raise me and my older sister. This is my shame. But, paradoxically, it is a shame mixed with gratitude, for I can never think of this dark-skinned woman with her bandana-wrapped head without recalling the love that she lavished on me, much more love than my own mother was capable of giving. I can't help but think it is because of her that I grew up to feel more at home in the black community than the white, and to be a natural gospel singer without knowing why.

So when the magnificent gospel choir yesterday sang of healing, I felt it in my cells, bones and being. It was as if Mother Parks herself were holding me, forgiving and healing me. I wonder how many of the 4000 people in that huge room, the 1000 who were watching it on closed circuit TV in the church community hall, and the 100s more who waited outside the church and on the route to the cemetery until after 7:30 PM that night also experienced her healing, forgiveness and love? I sensed Rosa was busier in death than she'd been in life, and that's really saying something!

Her hand also was seen in what came out of the mouths of our federal elected officials, two planeloads of whom had traveled to Greater Grace Temple on Detroit's northwest side from their positions of power in the U.S. Congress. Former President Bill Clinton, his wife NY Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, Michigan Senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow, the sole African-American U.S. Senator, Barack Obama, Congressional Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, former presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry, Detroit area Congresspersons John Conyers, Jr. (a former employer and close friend of Rosa Parks), Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick and John Dingell each spoke directly from the heart and with such profound reverence for Rosa Parks' contribution to our world that my political cynicism was replaced by a more balanced view of the humanity of these people. Another healing.

I also underwent a change of attitude towards religion, its place in people's lives and the power of those who truly live its creeds. Rosa Parks was such a person but so were some of the women and men who preached at this celebration of the triumph of life over death. They even had me screaming and waving my hands overhead at different times during those seven and a half hours...especially the Rev. Charles Adams, pastor of Hartford Memorial Church in Detroit, whose preaching/prayer/call to action also had the usually-sedate Jesse Jackson on his feet, bouncing around, grinning and nodding his head energetically. This was church at its best!

I'd say the theme of the day was don't stop now, don't eulogize Mother Parks in words without commemorating her life in action. As the Rev. Al Sharpton, another empassioned preacher, cried, "You need to make a Rosa resolution to correct what you see." An idea came into my head that has been cropping up regularly of late. I intend to pursue it when I return home from Lebanon. By the way, it is not a work I want to do, but know I NEED to do. That, for me, is often the sign that I'm on the right track.

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