The beginning of December always feels like the calm before the storm. Like the song “Proud Mary,” by Ike and Tina Turner where Tina would start off, “We’re gonna begin this song nice and easy but we’re gonna finish this song nice and rough.”

Although December starts off nice and easy with the beginning of Advent, the momentum quickly picks up with holiday parties and shopping for gifts, and it often ends in a New Year’s Eve frenzy. Nonetheless, now, during the darkest time of the year, is when we should look for the inner guiding light to pierce through, leading us on the path to inner peace and fulfillment.

Speaking of peace, I am a little—well, maybe more than a little—nervous about the seeming lack of interest or urgency shown by the United States and our allies regarding North Korea’s nuclear missiles. A recent article in The New York Times International section entitled “Photos Hint at Greater Threat of New North Korean Missile” appeared on page A11. Shouldn’t that be front page news? According to South Korean officials, “The intercontinental ballistic missile North Korea launched this week is a new type of missile bigger and more powerful than any the country had tested before … and advancing faster than previously believed.” Private analysts agree. Call me paranoid, but this development sounds rather serious.

The article quoted Kim Dong-yub, a defense analyst at the Seoul-based Institute for Far Eastern Studies, as saying, “North Korea appeared to have built the Hwasong-15 by upgrading the second stage of the Hwasong-14, which carries the missile through space after the first-stage, giving the new missile greater range than previous models.” Tal Inbar, head of space research at Israel’s Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies, agreed in a message on Twitter. At the risk of rambling on, let me just add a few last facts. North Korea has built larger transport vehicles to carry the missiles undetected to various spots around the country, making it much harder for the United States and its allies to “track signs of imminent missile attacks.” This mobility allows for a launch from anywhere in the country, undetected. I interpret that to mean, anytime, anywhere, coming out of the sky, kaboom!

I have been interested in hearing what others have to say about my No. 1 concern. Although the replies cover the gamut, I most humbly think, no one seems as concerned as I do. The responses range from “Kim Jung-un doesn’t really want to destroy the world, he is just showing off” to “Only China can control Kim Jung-un and when they are ready, they will take care of the situation.” Others state that North Korea will always be known as a nuclear power. But so what? No country wants to see the world destroyed. What’s your opinion? I would really like to know.

Meanwhile, Hawaii has issued a disaster warning to its residents to stock two weeks of food and other vital supplies, just in case of an emergency. I am doing the same in my household. How about you? After all, a word to the wise is sufficient.

Now that I have you totally freaked out, let me share a few thoughts I use to keep myself from completely going insane. One was a sermon I heard preached several years ago by Father Philip at St. Charles Borromeo Church, in which he said there are two kinds of rays that beam down from the sun: one that will burn and the other is the warmth and light that shows us the path away from every evil, danger and all anxiety. Which one do you want to walk in? The world has gone on for hundreds of millions of years and will continue to do under the guise of Mother Nature and Father Time. Believe in a world without end. With that in mind, don’t you feel better?

Condolences to the family of Kelsey and “Hammer” Stevens, who lost their sister Joyce, a kind and loving soul who will be missed. Also condolences to Lloyd Martin Mitchell, who lost her sister Diane, and to the family of Lowell Hawthorne, founder of Golden Krust.

I had the pleasure of meeting Lowell and his lovely wife at the home of Mel and Debbie Jackson. The Hawthornes had just successfully catered one of the annual events, where guests couldn’t stop raving about the menu. We asked if they could wave their magic wand again and again for the next affair, and if there were any extra patties in the trunk of their car. This death is a grave loss to our community but no less an inspiration. Here was a man who started with a small storefront and grew his business into a multimillion dollar enterprise. However, something, somewhere along the way went amiss. The goal here though is to learn from his mistakes, pick up the torch and carry on. With that said, happy birthday to Sandra Matthison and the Honorable Cheryl Chambers.

To leave you with a message of peace, comfort and joy, Community Works and New Heritage Theatre Group in partnership with the Harlem Arts Alliance and Harlem Hospital Center invite you all to the Spirit of Community: Art of Harlem, Sunday, Dec. 10, 2 p.m. at the Mural Pavilion of Harlem Hospital Center, 136th Street and Lenox Avenue. The afternoon event will showcase the remarkable talents of 13 emerging and established artists from the 1960s to the present in an eclectic mix demonstrating the timeless role the arts play in creating, shaping and documenting this iconic neighborhood. The exhibition also includes permanent installation of a 30-foot timeline detailing the history of Harlem. Featured artists include Henry Adebonojo, Tau Battice, Elan Cadiz, Bryan Collier, Sophia Dawson, Ronald A. Draper, Delano Dunn, David Vades Joseph, Dindga McCannon, Ruth Morgan, Ademola Olugebfola, Lina Puerta and Shawn Walker.

Until next week…kisses.