Hey, Jihmye, I send these words directly to you because I know based on your Baha’i faith that although you’re no longer here carrying on with us physically your journey has not come to an end.
But, oh, what an existence your earth bound life has been, my friend. From the beginning to the end. Dropping out of school early, fleeing Dixie in Uncle Sam’s army, blessing all within your reach with your art and your poetry and your very presence. To me you were like a breath of fresh air in a world that can, without reason or rhyme, be so suffocating and crushing at times.
Most of our moments together were on the fly, arising seemingly out of nowhere, as we would run into each other here and there, but every time I was in your company you energized me with your brilliance, your eloquence, your love for all of human kind. I always felt validated by you, because in our sharing we were doing so many similar things, trying to correct things, trying to nudge the world into singing songs of love. Around you I knew that it was okay to be me, because you saw the world so much like I perceive it to be. Our conversations always assured me that I was on the right path in life based on what you’d share about what was going on in your life. What a gift. Thank you, my brother.
Now you exist in another place, still embarking on a spiritual journey, having honored your love for God, through your beliefs, through how you lived, through how absolutely dedicated you were to humanity.
And I’m glad there is such a reality as spirituality, because I will hold on to your love and energy and continue what we had in common: actively pursuing issues of peace and justice and human understanding, generally, and tending to the needs of the children of the world, particularly.
I remember how you loved the young ones, how they raised hope deep down in your soul. I can hear you now, as I’ve heard you before, encouraging our youth to honor the privileges of living in a democracy, to ask questions, to seek understanding, to challenge authority, to look at matters intelligently, critically, to read and talk and share ideas with those around you who want to build communities that recognize the needs of all people whoever they might be.
Hey, Jihmye. We who love you dearly know that you lived what you believed and we believe what you believed, so believe me we’ll, in your loving spirit, carry on with changing the world for the better. Our eyes will be fixed on the prize for you always encouraged us to listen closely to each other, to our cries, to our hopes and dreams, ever mindful of seeking the truth, along the way – and we’ll do just that for there’s so much of you in us and because of that we know no other way. Peace on the journey.
Photo of Jihmye Collins by Jianda Monique