"Exhibiting You" - Story

Die Empty

By: Leading Ladies' Network
Submitted: 06/07/2010

By the time you read this, my dearest grandchild, I would have long since joined our ancestors and would be to you, just a distant memory. But I leave you these words because I have watched you closely since your birth—and was convinced the day you declared Numbers 271 as your favorite Scripture passage that destiny was calling you to fight for the future of our Africa. I leave you counsel for your fight summed up in these two words: die empty.

And I leave for you a picture—not of my face, but of my hands. These hands have tilled the earth and sold produce to those unwilling to pay what they are worth. Hands like these have produced over 70% of Africa’s agricultural produce but own less than 1% of the productive resources. These hands endured great hardship and suffered under chains of inequality, giving up everything to the hope that one day; such toil would count for something—perhaps through you my child. These hands died empty.

Know that I have never believed in this modern Jehovah God but I do concede that Numbers 27 was a great blessing to you. The daughters of Zelophehad in the story challenged the system at a time when women were considered second-class citizens. In spite of this, they chose to speak up for their rights and got what they fought for in the process. My first counsel to you my Child is this: never be afraid to fight and when you do-- trust that fate will be on your side as long as you fight for the right.

Our ancestors always taught that the one who increases in knowledge increases in power—but know now my child that with increased knowledge comes increased responsibility. You cannot know about the political instabilities in Guinea Bissau and Niger and feel nothing; to see the carnage in Sudan and look the other way; or be unperturbed by Somalia where terrorism and piracy are coupled with famine and everyday human suffering; do not be untroubled by female genital mutilation or child trafficking in Northern Ghana nor undisturbed by the use of rape as a weapon of war in D.R. Congo. If there is any weakness that you entertain, let it be this: the inability to stand aside, to look the other way when duty calls and destiny beckons.

I pray you will answer the call to serve Africa. But know for certain that you cannot serve an Africa you do not know. Your interest in progressing Africa must be backed by a willingness to experience it. Explore, question and engage-- fill yourself with knowledge and skill that will prepare you—knowing that one must first be filled in order to empty.

Die empty my child. Share all your knowledge, gain wealth through honest means and spend what you have with those less fortunate; try when others will not dare, and share what others seek to hoard. Have the fortitude to press on regardless of the brutality of our governments and the discomfort of opposition. Hold on to nothing. Recognize that your world may despise you in your giving and the very people to whom you may be sent may reject your efforts. But my child, hold nothing back. When presented with fears, respond with faith in self and faith in the sanctity of the human spirit. And at your end, look back knowing that you fought for causes worth sacrificing for.

Love deeply. Give freely. Die empty.

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