But a-a! Jus’ So?!!

‘But a-a! Jus’ so?!’ – a term my Trini-folk use to express surprise, shock, consternation. Sometimes, it expresses indignation, outrage, incredulity. Yet other times, it connotes reproof. Let me share a few examples:

  1. Picture this: a child is walking along the smooth, even ground and suddenly trips and falls. An adult observer remarks in surprise, ‘But a-a! Jus’ so de chile fall!’
  2. Or, imagine this: two adults are engaged in conversation, when another person, approaches them and without seeking permission, interrupts the conversation to speak with one of the adults. The other adult (the one who was not addressed), disapprovingly comments, ‘But a-a! Jus’ so!’
  3. You’re working on your desktop computer when there’s a power outage in your area. Your computer loses power. You lose all your work because you had not been saving all along. Alternatively, you were in the middle of a transaction online. Now, when the power returns, you need to begin all over again. In annoyance, you remark, ‘But a-a! Jus’ so current gone!’
  4. Finally, you receive word of the passing of a friend or a relative. In disbelief, denial and pain, you exclaim, ‘But a-a! Jus so dey gone?’

Friends, I’m in a ‘jus’ so’ moment. In the space of one month, I’ve lost two relatives – an aunt and godmother of mine (the second and final one to go) and an uncle (the twin brother of my father). Yeah…jus’ so!

At this point, I let out, ‘What is man, eh? What is life?’ Instantly, I’m taken to a verse in one of the readings for today in my church’s lectionary:

But someone has testified somewhere, ‘What are human beings that you are mindful of them, or mortals, that you care for them?’

Hebrews 2:6

These words bring me solace. They bring me comfort. They do, for I know that my aunt/godmother and my uncle are suffering no more. They have found peace. They have found healing. I pray that the loved ones they have left behind can also find comfort in these words. It is in God’s mindfulness that we find healing. As painful as it is for the bereaved to believe, it is God’s mindfulness of mortals that leads to the healing that is in the best interest of all.

As I close, I leave you David Rudder’s Dedication. Neither of them was a pannist, but there is much in the chorus seen below that celebrates what we have enjoyed and what we now enjoy because of them:

This praise song was written for the panman
To all those who've shown their dedication
Out of yesterday's rejection, onward to a new perfection
From a hunger came a feel
From that feel we shaped the steel
So we sing this song of praise for those who
Helped to clear the path that we could see through
So now we children they have a source
So very Trinbagonian, of course
Out of a muddy pond, ten thousand flowers bloom!

With this week’s piece, I celebrate their dedication in their respective ministries and callings. I celebrate the hunger that shaped their lives, so that their children and loved ones can sing this song of praise for them who ‘helped to clear the path that we could see through’.

Until next time: love, peace and joy.

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