Friendship is Essential
Phone rings at 12:30am. Half sleep, half awake, he squints his eyes tight attempting to read the name on the screen. He answers. A loud voice on the other end yells, “Maaaaaaan! We were wondering who was going to pick up.”
Surprised and dazed he responds, “Yea, you aiight?!”
With a chuckle, the familiar voice behind the phone says, “Yea dawg! We were just wondering who would answer the phone this late. Good to know if I really needed you, you would be there!”
“You know I got you DP, ROO!" They hang up.
Friendship is essential to the soul. A phrase the men of Omega Psi Phi exude in their organization. For over 100 years, since the founding days at Howard University, Omega Psi Phi has cultivated collegiate men to seek beyond the fraternal callings of an organization and be a companion when the way becomes weary. The above experience coupled with the moment below, reminded me of the beauty in men coming together and inspired this post.
A few days ago, a member of Omega expressed sadness over the loss of his ADP. One could argue that the role of the ADP is more crucial than a DP. He/she often serves as a liaison between the new initiates and the current members. With each tweet, you could feel the despair and disbelief over losing not only a fraternity brother but a friend. Someone who lit a lamp into the pathway of the frat and imparted an irreplaceable impression.
At the funeral service, it is customary for the members to pay homage to the departed through a ceremony and even a hop (we step, bruhz HOP ... just wanted to make that clear). The younger brothers dressed in tailored black suits and bold purple ties got into position. Someone in the crowd begin to sing “Que Psi Phi” in a rhythmic cadence to set the beat for the others. With the rhythm in place, the leader of the hop demonstrated how each would perform his movements. Each with varying steps. Each with different words. And each with a different beat. But when it all comes together ... it’s something only those who have witnessed it can understand. It embodies the emotions of the negro spirituals of our ancestors stewed with an expressive sense towards black pride, enthusiasm and culture. If you've ever had the pleasure of attending an Omega probate, you may even see a tear or two fall from the new initiates. To believe the call to set owt a hop is a simplistic dance battle is insulting. It is a culturally expressive art worth taking a moment to stand in awe of and celebrate. To watch these men, with heavy hearts, put their backbone and sweat into this adulation, expressed their admiration for their fallen soldier. It was the send off an Omega man could be proud of.
As we set expectations for the younger Greeks, let’s remind them that the days on the yard will quickly turn to faded memories. Your chants or favorite stroll will become harder to remember. What must settle in your soul is the bond you create. Care more about how you make each other feel. Care more about the works you do for others. Care more about feeding your soul through long lasting friendships that will ensure your send off is one to remember.
Thank you Dr. Jack Monell for sharing this experience and prayers to the members of Omega Psi Phi and the family/friends of the departed.
To my husband, thanks for answering the phone.