Saturday, December 15, 2012

When a thought of war comes, oppose it by a stronger thought of peace

Around noon yesterday I saw an offhanded post about 'another school shooting,' a few down, a friend from my early childhood posted 'Oh my God...Lord please be with Sandy Hook Elementary. I can't even fathom the severity of this tragedy.' It was at this point that I turned on CNN and the tears started rolling down my cheeks. If the tragedy alone wasn't bad enough, it happened 15 minutes away from where I lived as a small child. I called my mom and bawled on the phone with her, asking how anyone could commit such an act of evil.

Weeks ago I had planned to go down to DC to see a concert featuring Munirih Sparrow and Gustav Besungu. The tour is called from Canada to Cameroon, and features this amazing mix of traditional Cameroon drumming and song, with Munirih's soulful folksy voice. Gustav is an incredible drum player, I could listen all day. I can't wait to break out his CD I bought.

More than a year ago I randomly clicked on an ad on Facebook advertising a 'Baha'i musician.' From there I found Munirih, and started listening to her music, which I just loved. Her voice is just incredible! I also loved that I was able to talk to her on Facebook, and when she was touring last year, emailed people trying to get her locations for house parties. Sadly, I had what I will refer to as 'the plague' and couldn't go. This year, I didn't want to let the somber mood prevent me from going to the concert, and when Munirih posted a message that said that it was, 'all the more reason to gather with strangers and be peaceful,' I knew I was going. Not knowing anything about the musician or the Baha'i faith, one of my college buddies who lives in the area agreed to meet me there.

The Coffy Cafe, where the concert was held is this adorable cafe in the hugely renovated area of Columbia Heights. I used to tutor around the corner, before the entire area exploded with growth, and gentrification. It was a surreal experience stepping off of the metro and being surrounded by all of these new buildings. The cafe was adorable decorated in 60's 'mod' style motif, offering coffee and crepes of all things. When I got there, Munirih and Gustav were there with open arms, and we chatted as I inhaled a crepe. It was good, I was hungry. I stopped inhaling long enough for a quick photo op. I'm not sure why I look so terrified in this picture though...

One of the first songs that she played was this heartbreaking song of prayer. "I am not of the Lost" is a song written from the perspective of a child that has died and gone to heaven and is comforting it's mother. She recorded this video yesterday, either before or after the concert, actually.

The night was incredible, and as much as I wanted to write some glowing review last night, I needed time to process the experience. The concert was a group of people singing, and gathering together with the shared goal of peace and faith. What a powerful way to combat the fate and divisiveness that we see every day. After the concert, and the necessary CD signings, my friend and I went in search of dinner (for me) and tennis shoes (for her). Luckily, thanks to all of the new construction we found both a sports store, and an IHOP within half a block of each other.
From Canada to Cameroon
IHOP seems to be the restaurant of choice to pour your heart out over sub-par pancakes and coffee. My friend, Rasa and I talked for a long time. I told her about all of the growth and discovery I've made over the last few years, and how I'd love to write about it, but it's hard to write down. We talked about our loves, our fears, our dreams, who we are and who we want to be. We talked about racism, prejudice, faith and religion. It was open, honest and powerful. It was a conversation without ego and facades, and it was inspiring. It was a reminder that friendship isn't about seeing someone every day, but about having a true, open and honest connection with them. 

I was reminded of the hope and love in the world. I was reminded of the peace that so many people want and consciously live with the goal of achieving that peace. My spirit was refreshed and my burden lightened. On the way home, I listened to my CD and cried for the victims and the loss their family's are experiencing. I prayed for them, for all of us. Then I got home, crawled into bed with my husband and hugged him just a little closer because I was once again reminded of the fragility of human life, and how fleeting it really is.

If you are interested in more of Munirih's music, check it out here.

1 comment:

  1. Ugh, I posted a comment on my phone, but it didn't go through I guess.

    Very beautifully written blog. Taking the pain of yesterday and turning it into something else is not an easy task by any means.


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