Tue | Jul 23, 2024

Carolyn Cooper | A letter from my father

Published:Sunday | June 16, 2024 | 12:10 AM

Over four decades ago, I got a heartfelt letter from my father which I’ve kept all these years. It’s a personal testimony of his love for his children. The letter is also an eloquent sermon delivered by a devout elder in the Seventh-Day Adventist church. Furthermore, it’s a critical cultural text that documents a fundamental opposition in our society between Afrocentric and Eurocentric values. Will this conflict ever be resolved? My father’s letter was a weighty response to a message I’d casually sent through my stepmother, Pansy.

Dear Joy, [That’s my middle name]

This letter is coming from a father who loves his children very dearly. And who wishes the success of all. My wife came home from work two evenings ago to tell me that you told her to tell me that you are going locks; that is to say, you are becoming a Rasta woman. Therefore, I must brace up myself for the shock. To be candid I was more than shocked for I nearly had a heart attack. And the joy and peace I had in my heart left me. I could not sleep that night.

You might not have known what has happened to you, so let me explain please, listen years ago you had turned your back upon God and his words. Therefore, another power took full control of your whole life. So, because you are under his control, you have to do what he tells you to do. Allow me to say that you are committing suicide. If you forget who this man is let me explain him a little.


He was a mighty angel in heaven; his name was Lucifer, son of the morning. This is found in Isaiah 14:12-14, and Ezekiel 28:17. If you stopped reading the Bible, please ask someone to read it for you. Lucifer allowed pride and selfishness to creep into his heart and abide there. When pride is not banished from the heart, it always leads away from God. He coveted the worship that was due to Christ, and felt himself the equal of God, and said in his heart, “I will be like the Most High.” Pride is weakness. Pride destroys everything but self.

Lucifer became uplifted because of his own attractiveness and ability. Little did he think that all that was worthwhile about him had been given to him by the one against whom he had registered un-kind thoughts. When he let pride and self-conceit be cherished in his heart, he was on the direct road to ruin. “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 16:18. Thus fell the highest angel in heaven. And more than that he drew one third of the heavenly angels with him. Do you think you are any exception, Joy? The Quaker was right when he said, “Sin is simply a little s and a little n on each side of a big I.”

However, I cannot leave on this low note. I must take you on a higher note. If you don’t think you need help God knows that you need help, very much. Please listen to Him in His words. John 5:39. 2 Peter 1:21. 2 Tim 3:16. Psalm 138:2. Ps. 12:6. Matt 4: 4, 7 10. 1Peter 1: 22, 23. Hebrews 4:12. Jeremiah 23:29. Psalm 33:6. Job 23:12. Luke 24:27. Luk 4: 16-18. Rom. 15:4. Psalm 119:105.


Daniel Webster, the great American orator said, “If we abide by the principles taught in the Bible, our country will go on prospering and to prosper; but if we and our posterity neglect its instructions and authority, no man can tell how sudden a catastrophe may overwhelm us and bury our glory in profound obscurity.” Joy, please for God’s sake take sound counsel. Again, hear the instructions of the greatest or wisest man ever lived in Ecclesiastes 12: 13, 14.

Joy, please return to your God and He will return to you. He is standing at your heart’s door. Will you open it unto him? If you don’t you will soon find yourself even much lower than where you are now. Would you like to find yourself out of a job, wearing old clothes and shoes, with knotted dirty hair forsaken by God and man. Wake up, Joy! The devil is about to destroy you. With tears in my eyes, do you remember the sacrifices your late mother and I made to send you to school? God helped you to get a high degree, as far as this world is concerned. Are you going to allow Satan to cast you in the dust?

I would love to see you in person to talk with you, but not as a Rasta and with no so call locks. To see you in that condition I think I would get a heart attack and die. So, then if you are not willing to change your mind we will never meet again. But I hope we will meet, but without locks.

I am,

Daddy, with love.

In response to my father’s impassioned altar call, I sent a letter. I wasn’t taking the chance of my locks killing him. I asked, “. . . why would I want to become a Rasta – as you now think of it – with my hair dirty and wearing old clothes?” Eventually, my father realised his mistake. I was not a suicidal Rasta. My hairstyle did not prove that Lucifer had taken control of my life. But I still needed redemption. My father never gave up on his mission, however unsuccessful, to get me back in the church. That was true love.

Carolyn Cooper, PhD, is a teacher of English language and literature and a specialist on culture and development. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and karokupa@gmail.com