Anywhere in the world, the sound that binds us is the laughter of children playing.
We, as a species of human beings, need to figure out how to extend the grace and the optimism of a child – the ability to retain a melody in our minds and make it harmonize with the melody of our counterparts.
I am watching four children play a game in Malabo on a warm Saturday evening in July. They play enthusiastically, as children will, under the light provided by just the moon and the setting sun. They are playing a game of “catch” with a rag filled with sand tied and knotted closed with a piece of string. The player who drops the prize the least gets to wear the “medal” – the sign of victory. The “medal” in this game of catch is an aged white robe with a pattern of red roses, which glistens like rare silk under the light of the moon.
And now, the sun has finally set and just my memories of so many Saturday nights in
Mount Airy, the neighborhood where I grew up in Philadelphia, somebody’s mother has rustled the kids home and under one roof with family – away from the complications that nightfall brings.
I don’t know what the drill is once the little ones get inside, but I would bet that the roles that we each took in my childhood home, and that of my friends, are the same in theirs.
Even without walls, once the mother declares the day is done; the day is done. Even without indoor plumbing, a bath is had. Even without electricity, there is a time when Mother says, “that’s enough…go to bed…”
Even without a doorbell or a phone, there is a time when playtime is over and your friends go home; no more calls, no more visits to the door requesting “playtime”. Get in the bed… Now…
The family of Man, a species of too many tribes and dialects, operates the same, regardless of how we adorn our lives.
I have experienced love for people who speak a language I cannot understand. But what I have learned from my complete lack of knowing what they are saying to me is that joy is joy, laughter is laughter, love is love, and family is family.