The year 2016, an annus horribilis – That’s Latin for a “horrible year.” It’s what Queen Elizabeth II called the year 1992 when both her princely sons divorced their princesses and her main residence, Windsor Castle, almost burned to the ground.
Seems that 2016 was also an annus horribilis with so many deaths, both personal and in popular culture.
Four of my Morehouse College schoolmates died just after they turned 60 years old this year.
Ironically, two of them were medical doctors. Dr. Frederick V. Miller, who I knew for 42 years, died in April in a hospital bed as I held his hand.
My South Florida homeboy and classmate, Dr. Elton Gaddy, died in August. Then another classmate, Daniel “Philly Dap” Baldwin, then actor Bill “Radio Raheem” Nunn, who attended Morehouse during my time there. None of them lived long enough even to begin collecting Social Security.
On the professional side, outstanding Black journalists George Curry and Gwen Ifill died. In pop culture, Muhammad Ali, Prince, Tommy Ford of the “Martin” sitcom, David Bowie, Maurice White of Earth, Wind & Fire, Carrie Fisher of “Star Wars,” and Gene Wilder are all gone.
Don’t forget Harambe the gorilla. He’s gone, too! Then there’s Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. DEAD.
As of this writing, there are still a few days left in 2016. I know that time is an artificial human construct based on the earth’s rotation on its axis and the time it takes our glorious planet to orbit the sun. But still, I’ll be glad to turn the page to 2017, as arbitrary as that number is…
Black church clichés – During my occasional forays to Sunday church services, I’ve heard preachers come up with nonsensical sayings that good God-fearing church people repeat without thinking.
Some of these ‘proverbs’ sound good, but don’t make sense to me.
One is, “God is good all the time.” The truth? God is GOD all the time, and the single letter in “good “vs. “God” makes all the difference. How? Because being a “god” means being in complete and absolute control. Clearly God allows inexplicably bad things to happen to good people. Rationalize it all you want, but bad WILL happen. Just read any newspaper obituary page and you’ll know what I mean.
Another popular saying now is, “Favor ain’t fair.” That’s a half-truth. FAILURE ain’t fair either, but good people fail all the time due to uncontrollable circumstances.
My point? You have to acknowledge the good with the bad. I like the Apostle Paul’s attitude in Philippians 4: “…I have learned to be content regardless of my circumstances. I know how to live humbly, and I know how to abound. I am accustomed to any and every situation to being filled and being hungry, to having plenty and having need. I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”
Happy New Year!
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