This past weekend I was fulfilling my coordinator duties for Soul Science Lab at Weeksville Heritage Center’s Garden Concert Series. The weather called for thunderstorms throughout the day but Al-Hamdulilah it didn’t rain until after the show. That meant it was HOT. Probably the first really hot day this Ramadan. Not only did I have on a black shirt, but I didn’t drink enough water during and after iftar (meal to break the fast) the night before or during suhoor (meal before starting the fast) the morning of. Needless to say, I was dehydrated. I had cotton mouth, I was sweating and I was loosing energy. But I was blessed to make it to Maghrib time and I took an entire liter of water to the head. Demolished it. As I swallowed my last swig of water I had a reflection:
Reflection 1: Your actions have reactions. Be prepared.
This is a concept my father taught me as a child. Truthfully, the night before I had some water. Just not enough. And to add insult to injury, I had a pop. Carbonated beverages actually strip your body of water due to the high sugar content, leaving you thirsty even after your drink it. I knew better and I drank it anyway. I didn’t follow it up with the amount of water I should have. When I got up that morning, I didn’t drink the amount of water I should have because I figured “it won’t be that hot today.”
So after I got home, I was sitting under my fan drinking my 2nd liter of water and my 2nd reflection hit me like a ton of bricks:
Reflection 2: Your ancestors didn’t have this.
Our foremothers and forefathers who built this country worked on those field from sun up to sun set everyday. They had no fans and could not drink liters of water at their disposal.
And they survived.
We come from a mighty people. This country would have us believe that to be the descendants of slave is a terrible lineage to be inheritors of. On the contrary, we should be proud of our ancestors who survived the devilish brutality of the Transatlantic Slave Trade. Be proud of those who fought back on those ships before they even reached the Americas. Be proud of those who rebelled once we got here. Be proud of those who fought for us even after we were legally freed. Be proud of those who stood up as black men and black women and demanded respect. Those who marched and protested. Those who created rebellious art.
Not only should we be proud of them, but we should honor their memories and legacies by continuing the work they started. They sacrificed so that we may have the leisure we have today. They fought for rights they knew they wouldn’t see in their lifetime, but they knew we, their future, would. It is our responsibility to ensure that the generations after us also have the things we don’t I.e. our own communities, our own schools, property, etc.
So the next time you enjoy that tall glass of water, or that juicy watermelon, or that cool A/C, stop and say a quick prayer for your ancestors. Then get up and get to work.