Wednesday, April 17, 2024

IN THE CANDID CORNER – Touched by an angel


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t is not the length of one’s life but the quality of it.
– Unknown
Nature seemed to have provided a backdrop of brilliance that created the ambiance for ushering our late Prime Minister David Thompson to a higher calling. On Friday, October 22 the moon shone with a brightness that arrested my attention and literally compelled me to take a nocturnal walk through the neighbourhood of my birth and early years.
The memories were refreshingly nostalgic.
The full moon has long had an aura of mystery and magic and has been tied to the ebbs and flows of the tide. ( In astrology it symbolizes maturing, home, family and encourages unity. Interestingly the full moon is a time of culmination for things to reach fullness. In fiction it is often portrayed as the subject of inspiration.
As a Christian I distance myself from superstition and hold firmly to the promises of God, through His son Christ Jesus. Clearly, it was a full moon on October, 23 that illuminated as the news of our dear Prime Minister’s passing spread across the island’s nightscape, piercing its way as it sent shock waves that awoke the nation from its slumber.
The life that was first celebrated on December 25, 1961 was taken from its loved ones like a “thief in the night” and at the tender age of 48 a full moon signalled the end of his earthly sojourn.
To reflect on the short life span of our late
Prime Minister is to confront not just the brevity of life but the extent to which in a short 48 years he could have achieved so much.
From at secondary school David bestrode this earth like a colossus. Unlike many of his fellow politicians there seemed to have been genuine sincerity that saw him literally giving his life
for his country.
But this was no accident, for from the age of 14 years David Thompson knew that he wanted to be the Prime Minister of Barbados. To his eternal credit it was not the Shakespeare’s Macbeth kind of ambition, but one that was selflessly sacrificial, the ultimate price he paid.
We have lost leaders before. The late Tom Adams died in office. As John King in his song dedicated to the Skipper said “his passing was sudden and strange”.  We lost our Father of Independence in 1987 after a wind of miraculous rejuvenation saw him return to the helm of leadership of Barbados. His ashes remain scattered across the Caribbean sea.  
The circumstances surrounding the illness and the subsequent passing of the late Prime Minister David Thompson were unprecedented. We have never had to endure the prolonged pain and agony of an ailing Prime Minister.
Indeed no one could have taught us how to cope with such debilitating pain that cut deeper than any loss we have experienced.
This period of mourning has cut deeper into the core of our hearts and has sapped our spirit and soul to a degree that many remain numbed by it. There is the sense in which by his life and passing Barbados and the world might have been “touched by an angel” without knowing it.  To look on David seemed somehow as if one were looking at “an angel” lent to us but only for a short period.
For who else but “David” would have employed an ex-convict, who spent 16 years behind bars, to prune his plants and shrubs without being wise of the threat he might pose to his daughters and wife.
Who else but someone with a vision that transcended that of the average man? Time has proven the accuracy of his judgement and confirmation came from ‘the gardener himself who in true testimonial style declared his assets out front in his interview after the passing of his boss: “I am an ex-convict . . . he gave me a job.”  
On reflection, I watched this young citizen of the world as he moved among crowds, as he sat with legs crossed at press conferences, as he mingled among the people, towering tall, like a guiding light, a star if you will, a source of inspiration.
Perhaps had we looked closer, we might have seen a halo hovering above his head and we might have concluded that Barbados and its people have indeed been “toughed by an angel”.
His compassion, his humility, his concern for others, his vision and his selfless and sacrificial love all render the late Prime Minister David Thompson fit to “enter in the joys of his Lord!”.
•Matthew D. Farley is a secondary school principal, chairman of the National Forum On Education, and a social commentator.


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