ONE of my favourite singersâ€” bless his soulâ€” is Jim Reeves, the country musician whose music is rightly classified among the timeless classics, a reference to music whose shelf life is eternal.
As I was going through my collection a few days before Christmas I fell upon one of James Travis Reevesâ€™ (for that was his full name, thank you) all-time classics, "We thank thee". Just one of those songs that once you hear it blare in the morning, its lyrics resonate constantly through your head all day long, no matter how hard you try to ignore itâ€” and it uplifts your soul.
Like his wife, my namesake Mary said: "Jim Reeves my husband is gone; but Jim Reeves the artist lives on".
As matter of fact, ironically too, he made more money dead than when he was alive. "We thank Thee every morning for the new born day," Reeves goes. "We thank Thee everyday for the air that we breathe, the birds that sing, the fish that swim and the light of the moon.â€˜We thank thee everyday as we kneel and pray that we were born to see these things."
Strip this song bare of tune, vocals and everything else and you are still left with plenty of power; for it is a song that builds an attitude of gratitude in almost everyone who pays attention to its lyrics. We learn not to take anything for granted and more importantly we appreciate that the Lord gives us far more than we give Him credit for.
And come to think of it; some of what we ignore because they are â€˜smallâ€™ things, like the air we breathe for instance, are in fact the most critical because although we pay nothing to get that air everyday, it is far more important than the food we eat or the cars we drive. You can miss a meal for a week and miss a car for a lifetime and still stay alive; miss air for a minute and you are dead meat.
As we look back at the year gone by, and look to enter the new year 2011, as a nation we have plenty to thank the Lord for. On the whole 2010 has not been that bad, save for our darkest moment the 7/11the day of the World Cup final which will be remembered as the day the terrorist group Al Shabaab paid us a visit; killing nearly 90 football fans at Lugogo and Kabalagala in Kampala and injuring scores of others as they celebrated the climax of Africaâ€™s hosting of the World Cup for the first time ever. It was also a day that changed Kampala and indeed Uganda as a whole, because even in upcountry towns, several places cannot be accessed without the inconvenience of being checked all over. We thank the Police for this vigilance, because we need it. Special accolades to Police boss Maj.
Gen. Kale Kayihura and his team for introducing these tight security checks.
Child sacrifice and violence against women showed no sign of abating.
In the latter case, just when we thought that following the passing of legislation against Female Genital Mutilation things would get better, Uganda was shell-shocked when 120 Sabiny girls fell victim to the knife. Corruption in public office also proved it is still rife with several scandals rocking the country. But as President Museveni said, we must all be involved in the fight against corruption. And in football, we failed to win our customary CECAFA Cup, narrowly losing to Tanzania on penalties in Dar es Salaam.
Even though the Bible commands us to thank the Lord for everything and in all circumstances, truth be told, it is hard to accept, much less understand and be thankful for the bomb blasts, for instance. We are human and we hope the Lord understands; and so please Lord, when we fail to honour the verse above please forgive us, for we are made of nothing but clay, our souls notwithstanding. But all these painful incidents do not diminish or take away what was no doubt a great year and therefore like Jim Reeves, as we kneel and pray, we thank Thee Lord for the following:
lPeace prevailed in all parts of the country, save for a few scattered incidents which do not amount to insecurity. Little wonder therefore that the economy continued to grow substantially and inflation was kept within manageable limits in spite of the rise in fuel prices. Foodstocks were just about sufficient and we had enough left over to sell to our neighbours across the borders;
lPoverty levels dropped further to below 30 per cent for the first time in recent history;
lWe thank Thee Lord that the election season was flagged off on a positive note, with hundreds of candidates nominated; President Yoweri Museveni started it off in style, ambushing everyone with a rap pulled right out of the top drawer. And so Lord, we thank Thee for the next year 2011; and pray that at the end of it all we shall kneel again and repeat those words once moreâ€¦that we thank Thee for a good year.
I wish all our readers a very happy and prosperous New Yearâ€¦and donâ€™t forget to vote wisely.
We thank Thee Lord for everything and every day