Upon This Rock . . .
Knowing and Building Upon Your History
It is “that time of year again,” when many of us move from an often over-
indulgent and celebratory Holiday Season, into and through the Martin Luther
King Holiday, and Black History Month. It is very tempting to use some of the
shortest days of the year and the shortest month of the year to recuperate and
hibernate. Except for the listing of resolutions, many of which we can recite and
record from the memory of promises made many times before and not kept,
January and February often become missed opportunities for renewal and
revival. We cannot afford for it to continue that way.
Competing for our attention, and our ability to become knowledgeable about our
history includes but not necessarily limited to, news about Brittany Spears, news
about Paris Hilton, which movie or television star can drink the most liquor while
driving, etc. etc. Other things that can keep us from being engaged in
education, career advancement, networking or community service, include
dozens of television programs about getting something for nothing. We are
bombarded and captivated with unending ways in which someone we don’t even
know might win several million dollars in an hour (and lose it in two seconds!).
We watch and sympathize as twenty-five potential brides chase one bachelor,
and twenty-four of them cannot understand why they aren’t the one. Ironically, I
understand that during the last episode ”The Bachelor” rejected all the potential
brides. We have the time to spend on all this drama, yet do not have the time to
learn and build upon our proud history! The above scenario proves my often
stated belief that a winner is not necessarily the last one standing, but often the
one who gets back up the most times.
Several years ago, when Dianne and I cruised through the Panama Canal, one
of our highlights was a brief visit to the San Blas Islands, home of the Cuni
Indians. The Cuni Indians, while native to Panama, are an autonomous people
who are granted relative independence by the government of Panama. While
their existence is simple, they are a proud people who know their history.
While visiting the island, I approached a large, well kept hut that housed the
Cuni Museum. The young man at the door suggested in no uncertain terms to
me that “You need to see this,” referring to the well documented and organized
interior. It was the “hardest” sales pitch I received during that visit. The island
contained numerous souvenirs, photo opts, and more, yet the item which the
Cuni Indians held in highest esteem was their history. What a wonderful lesson
to learn from natives on a remote island located several thousand miles from
most of our institutions of “higher learning.”
For a place located so far away, inhabited by people some would consider
primitive, on an island with no rest facilities, and in a region where time nearly
stopped, history is important. So my question is, how can it not be important to
a society that is so “progressive”?
As you go about your January and February activities, hopefully you will reflect
upon what I’ve shared here. Hopefully you will find some time to acknowledge
and celebrate your past, constructively participate in your present
circumstances, and plan and prepare for your future. You should not have to
look far to find something to be thankful for, or something to participate in, or
someone to share your knowledge and inspiration with, or some worthy goal to
set and pursue. Do these things, and it will almost certainly become a Happy