When you clench your fist, no one can put anything in your hand, nor can your hand pick anything up. – Omoro
Omoro is the father of Kunta Kinte, both characters in the book Roots by Alex Haley. As those familiar with the story know, Roots is based on Haley’s research into his ancestry, a lineage he traces back to The Gambia. In Roots, Kinte was captured by slave traders and brought to America. Though based on Haley’s research and his family’s oral history, the book is considered to be a historical novel. Later, Haley would acknowledge that some of Roots was plagiarized. Despite this, Roots remains one of the 20th century’s most important works and Roots is a fascinating and as good a book as we’ve read.
As we recall, today’s Thought came in the context of fatherly advice from Omoro to Kunta because Kunta was a rather headstrong lad, a trait he would carry into slavery, where he tried to escape four times. After his final capture, Kinte was given the choice of having his male organ or a foot cut off, and he chooses his foot.
When you clench your fist…
Clenching a fist is not a peaceful act. It is either a prelude to an assault or, perhaps, defense from one, or a sign of fear or anger. None of these acts or emotions are particularly constructive.
…no one can put anything in your hand, nor can your hand pick anything up.
Clenched, a fist is useless for anything except causing harm. As Omoro so brilliantly noted, a clenched fist prevents the hand from acquiring anything, including the holding of another hand. As our fist closes, so does our mind, as anger and bitterness and revenge become our ruling passions.
We cannot afford clenched fists or closed minds in our lives. They do not do ourselves or anyone else any good. When we clench our fists and close our minds we are not open to what nature and circumstance have in store for us, which means we are unable to capitalize on them.
It is useful to note that open is the hand’s natural position. When our hands, and our minds, are open we are liberated from the shackles of anger and free to live the life we are meant to live, instead of being dragged down the road the closed fist has for us. It puts us in a position to put nature and circumstance to work for us.
The Thought for the Day runs regularly. Quotes are from Gaylon’s private stock.