Sunday, May 31, 2009

Pentecost and Other Celebrations

Our parents taught us to always write thank-you notes. At Mom's graveside service last weekend, we celebrated a life well-lived and well-loved. I read aloud a Mother's Day litany of thanks I'd sent to her in 1965. It had been tucked inside the family Bible for safekeeping.

Today is Whitsunday, or Pentecost, traditionally celebrated as the birthday of the church. "Birthday gifts" abound, and my thank-you note to God is almost a carbon copy (remember those?) of my thank-you note to Mom. It's been tucked inside my heart forever. Whether in self-conscious script or computerized calligraphy, in adolescent angst or geriatric joy, in Kiswahili/English or any other other tongue, the message is simple and very much the same:

Thank you for loving us, the world over, just as we are, often in spite of ourselves. Thank you for teaching us to try to do the same.

Birthday Njema/Happy Birthday today, Church. Madaraka Njema /Happy Self-Governing Day tomorrow, Kenya. Amani/Peace every day, World. Asante Sana/Thank You forever, Mama/Mom and Mungu/God.

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