Look Alive

11 February 2011

Sweet as Pi(e)?

Yesterday evening, I sent a quick idea post that I'd complete in the hushed solitude after my nightly regimen. It was simply the title that you now see (minus the "e" for energy), but in the body text was a brief personal reminder of another dream's sliver that led into this day. Good thing I did! As the night progressed, I checked my e-mail where a timestamp of the original post at the very least nudged me to realize that almost four hours of rest from writing had elapsed. I'd procrastinated enough. It was time to finish up and prepare for the next day's mercies.

As for the dream: Ending as quickly as it began, I stood by in a large room with wooden or just dark brown walls witnessing a relatively young woman slice a pie to tantalize and hand-feed a few seated men who were lustfully focused, if not hypnotized, on the confections. I have no idea of or attachment to whose place it was, how any of us got there, who the people were, what flavor pie was going around or its baker. This just happened to take place when my head met the pillow.

Maybe she could use a good pillow, too.

Later, before sitting down to complete this post, I decided to do a quick surf, pausing on a Discovery channel when a feature chronicled one young family's challenges with raising a schizophrenic daughter. The girl, like the talented artist and popular, protective case reference of "Sybil" whom I mentioned in an earlier post, had shown remarkable intelligence in her earliest years.

Her loving, camera-toting parents captured the infant's frequent tendency to stare at-length towards ceiling areas, following the motion of something invisible to them. They just filed it under the same advanced banner of development her early color and letter identification warranted and kept growing with each other daily. Mom, Dad and her sibling had no idea that what they once considered "genius" would morph into the child's penchant for presenting random slices of herself, even without traumatic events that can understandably trigger such splits in human behavior.

"This is like your stage name, huh sweetie?", her smiling dad asked just after filming a personality debut during her formal recital of a nursery rhyme. She was calm and confident in stating that it was "just [her]" amidst a happy little girl's world of accepted imaginary friends and drawings of magical wonderment. Shortly thereafter, that video clip was juxtaposed with footage featuring a multiplicity of numerical, animal and other personal names along with their varied temperaments. 

The most heartfelt frames were of the same child, screaming and thrashing as she forcefully hit the adult male who then had to restrain her following questions of yet another name. "Nooo!", she insisted, "[Her birth name was] not [her] name! Help me, Daddy! Please help me! Pull me out!!!" I turned the TV off, not wanting to peek into her silently stolen innocence anymore, imagining with great concern what pain the entire family must have endured daily and receiving a hint of decent application for my dream instead.

In the far reaches of time and geography, the realities of mental illness have been painted with the "demoniac" perspective, subjecting many sufferers to biases, fear, isolation and even death. (Try switching to views of The Message or the Amplified translations in that last link only for better exposition of the parallel.) Even in the Daniel 4 story of King Nebuchadnezzar, staggering instability of mind was mentioned albeit as the latter's wage for his excessive pride and injustice.

Closer to home in time and space, however, people with mental illness are regarded more clinically, often without considering any spiritual implications when it comes to prognosis and treatment. If he were real, the brilliant mathematician character, John Nash, from 2001's A Beautiful Mind could certainly run mental circles around a not-as-smart square like me while eating many lifetimes' supply of pi, irrational as that sounds. The film did offer a very creative glimpse as to the address of mental illness in the late 20th century and the way we measure our social circles, particularly regarding the educated and otherwise "well-off" who are often seen as beyond such indiscriminately human conditions.

In an unfortunately real exception to the (golden) rule, the mental health needs among so-called ethnic minority communities go far unnoticed, misdiagnosed or ignored beneath the pride of historic strength and perseverance. I believe it's safe to say that sooner than note seeds of real sicknesses, at some point everyone has joked about that friend given to odd pretense as being 'perfect for showbiz' or that another's tendency to go to harmful extremes for their desires is 'so crazy', leaving conditions to worsen.

At the other end of the spectrum, some of those with official diagnoses are undermined without accessible advocacy and are subject to the horrors of inhumane treatment. Institutions like Staten Island, NY's Willowbrook have been closed under such pressures. Along this life path strewn with dynamic acquaintances including those made during past case management work, I have seen the suffering of both types of neglect. Over time, the blessing was in realizing that individuals could eventually emerge from such lions' dens of sorts, adjusting into the sweet, highly functioning ones who can now pursue their peace and purpose.

Found through a Google search for 'human energy pie'
Is this accurate to you? How might you change it for
a better, more responsible life?

Even if we have been granted sound minds and understand the importance of their maintenance, we all tend to divide our lives' pies among many chosen or given duties, roles and projections. By giving ourselves away like this to earthly outlets, much unlike the beautiful William McDowell song of gentle surrender to the Almighty, the next step is often the "burnout" of crashing energy levels or other crises that can result from taxed faculties.

In our own self-destructive ways, we then bite, kick, scream and attack (people who go) by any other name, doing what we can to fight the Loving restraints of our Father all the while crying out for help. If the rightful attention of skilled and even God-fearing professionals can improve the quality of life, how much deeper will healing by the Creator of All -- possessing the Wisdom to form the bodily systems and functions we seek to regulate, place architecture in the minds of civilization to build the schools, make the raw ingredients our degrees are printed on -- be? May we learn to relax while His pressure is yet mild.

Maybe I'm making too much of a dream/TV show coincidence and should go to bed sooner to prevent more of the REM-level sleep activity once I return to that pillow. Still, the opportunity to share some healing light, instead of sweeping what's ignorantly considered dirt under the rug, leaves a good taste in my mouth that won't require a second brushing. 
Conscious ignorance - never!
Little pillows of blissful chocolates - not before bed! :)

For more info about prevalent mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and depression, please visit The National Alliance for Mental Health (NAMI)'s website. For autism spectrum disorders increasingly affecting the youth, please visit The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development's page as well. Thank you.

10 February 2011

"Come by Here"

Melodies have been floating in the air around me alot lately. If I may be so forward, it feels like the Lord is restoring my song. Keeping the original ones and transferring them to useful forms has been a somewhat slow but blessed process!

After years of feeling choked or even neglecting my own throat's mandate for healthy expression, sometimes I'm at a loss for words to express my gratitude for God's gifts, however humbly they present themselves. 

Throughout my days, however, more popular music has been well-versed in lifting spirits, offering key instruction, sharing testimony that shows how relatively small my own concerns can be and so on.

In those moments, it felt like no less than an all-encompassing visitation from the Holy Spirit! I have to share some of the inspiration that I'd been given!

Please feel free to allow only the voice of God to minister to you how & where His Will meets your need through the following vessels when you, too,...
are speechless from the grandeur of God: "If I Can't Say A Word"*
realize that you need His covering: "Standing in the Need of Prayer"
have fought long, hard & fairly, seeing Light at the tunnel's end: "I Believe"
are truly inclined to praise, even in hard times: "The Great I AM"
are grateful for the amazing, saving Grace: "Over and Over"
can't seem to stop praising in your own way: "Hallelujah!"
tuck timidity away to Love & Live in Christ's authority:
"I'm Walking..."

* Twitter Note: The link here is of Ann Nesby's lovely version though I referred to Karen Clark-Sheard's. To wit,
"I WOULD explain it if I could" but none is required of me. (LOL) Just keep having Your Way, Holy Spirit!
Brothers and sisters in Christ, please enjoy!

~ The Fountain ~

Having panted like deer
and repented well as Lady Samaria
we find that harmonizing
Life's acidity & sweetness with You
is our aid, refreshing
the debt paid before all charges
with the wrong leader
My manual teaches
to wash
watch and pray
for both sediment and sentiment
fight hardest to make their way
to the bottom of hearts and cities
The True and Living current
simply flows, smoothing rough stones
leaving the other free to praise
and cup itself just so
as to never thirst again


09 February 2011

The True Vine

Pssst... Let me tell you something...

A girlfriend of mine forwarded me a cute and positive e-mail based on the word "no"!

With "positive" and "no" in the same sentence, some might see a contradiction at first glance, but I can easily think of instances where the negative is actually the most positive news to receive. Doctor to a patient: "The results of your biopsy are negative for any abnormal tissues; you're fine. Please stop by the front desk to schedule your regular follow-up appointment. Have a good day!" That's great news, no? :)

As requested in the message body, her "To" line displayed nine other recipients. Although I prefer the 'netiquette' of some protective intimacy with loved ones via a "BCC", I am very grateful for the gift of her timely and true message.

Besides, scrolling down for miles to reach the message brought my own oft-needed message right on home: allow for smaller bites and better overall digestion! Joyful fire for the content of God's Word doesn't mean I have to ramble it as it overflows from my heart. (God's still working with me, everyone. Thanks for your patience and help!)

My fingers spread the love to my own varied contacts. One friend I had heard from earlier got back to me with brief laughter when he received the message, as it touched upon what would be his closing statements of the first convo. Regardless of all the antennae, coils, strings and whispers at work in the world, his return of a pure joy was testimony to the Sovereign reach of the Everlasting Arms.

If and as the others choose, those contacts will do the same and so the cycle of (paying it) forwards to properly feed the body of Christ will continue. As the Son of Righteousness keeps enriching the ground we stand on and shining understanding into us for His glory, our rightful connections are being purified by His refining Love and re-made wholly, better as He returns.

Did you hear? Tell everybody!

The Spouses of Our Youth

Who are these husbands and wives of our youth that the Bible mentions to illustrate pleasant and painful truths about us?

Some readers are happily married, others are divorced and still others haven't experienced union or separation -- with no plans to, in some cases. Of course, many of these same people's thinking only accounts for rings, blood tests, state-filed certificates and ceremony when it comes to the big M. The early understandings that "knowing", "[going] in unto" or otherwise "[laying] with" another constituted marriage don't seem to make it to the modern mindset at all.

Considering this angle, have you been married before? Is the person you're married to now your first husband or wife? Although their standards are arguably aligned with the world's, can we honestly scoff at serial wives Liz Taylor, Zsa Zsa Gabor or even J-Lo after all? Should those men at the well have even thought of stones except to kick them while walking away? Well, if we're living according to the Word, yes -- but taking that opportunity would only hurt us both, as witnessing another coming to, and ourselves growing in, the Truth provides the gratification we sought.

I return to the question, then, if only for myself: who are the spouses of our youth? If you need to search for the answer, try not to mind what it sounds like... despised of our youth or the spies of our youth! It could be the first boy or girl you thought or spoke of 'getting heavy' with. Maybe its the one who made you feel so light, you went 'all the way'. If you weren't both virgins at the time, were you then married to different people? Does that make someone a consensual second away from their virginity an adulterer?

Adultery, defined as voluntary sexual intercourse by a married person with someone other than the spouse, might be considered a big and bitter pill to swallow, especially in the case of that young or, however rare, older virgin. We are called to honor our bodies as living temples for the Living God, so in this sense, joining outside of Him or His will can be unfortunate. (gulp)

These might seem like childish questions, but we'd be surprised to know how many believers date even multiple partners with sexual involvement while pursuing (as opposed to awaiting or otherwise preparing for) spouses in their adulthood. Trust, once I thought or knew to pray even on matters like these, I remember wishing Poland Spring bottled Holy water a little while back. Instinct kicked in and I stood in the mirror praying hard for revelatory intervention instead. The flesh can pose real challenges to our faith if we allow it. Thankfully, as 1 Corinthians 10:13 teaches, God is more faithful and His Way more enduring than any temptation.

Now, if sexuality and the beauty of human form were condemned, the Song of Solomon and all the pre-baguette "begets" of antiquity wouldn't exist! What the Lord states as His desire, however, is that our waters of Life be shared selectively and in sacred trust with one partner, not with some stranger or even familiar person of great physical attraction. This is mandated for the elimination of strife and the outcome of Godly children. Maintaining the seed is also essential for vitality according to the wisdom of Eastern medicine.

For those the Lord does not bless with physical offspring, I believe that children can also represent creative endeavors, joyful outlets or even those in need who you can provide a home of Love and wisdom for. All we do as singles or couples can and should also edify the Most High.

So who are these people already? The first people outside of our families that we associated love with? The ones we were arranged for by tradition? The ones who proposed but we didn't know to receive? All the rhetoric in the world  (or at least in this post) might hold the answers for some people. For Eve, the husband of her literal youth was Adam. The same is true with Sarai and Abraham.

In this day and age, how is this first love scenario possible for the rest of us? Is there Godly hope for me as a single? Truth is, all the people in the world were first joined to One who affirmed the question of our lives before and after our attachment to the womb. No matter our age, when we truly invite and accept Him as the Head of our lives, we are redeemed from our missteps and abandoned missions then reborn into new Life. The added benefit is knowing what we wished we knew once led to the partner of our earthly covenant. Whew!

For...Given Too!

"FOR/Of/To whom much is GIVEN, much is expected." - unknown
"FORGIVE your people who have sinned against You." - from 2 Chronicles 6:14-20
"But who can discern their own errors? FORGIVE my hidden faults." - Psalm 19:12

"Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered." - Psalm 32:1

"But with you there is FORGIVEness, so that we can, with reverence, serve you." - Psalm 130:4

"No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the LORD,’ because

they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the LORD.
“For I will FORGIVE their wickedness and will remember their sins no more." - Jeremiah 31:34
"Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and FORGIVEs the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance?
You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy." - Micah 7:18
“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned.
FORGIVE, and you will be FORGIVEN." - Luke 6:37
Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been FORGIVEN—as her great love has shown.
But whoever has been FORGIVEN little loves little.” - Luke 7:47
"I am not overstating it when I say that the man who caused all the trouble hurt all of you more
than he hurt me. Most of you opposed him, and that was punishment enough. Now, however, it is time
to FORGIVE and comfort him. Otherwise he may be overcome by discouragement. 
So I urge you now to reaffirm your love for him." - 2 Corinthians 2:5-8
"Bear with each other and FORGIVE one another if any of you has a grievance against someone.
FORGIVE as the Lord forgave you." - Colossians 3:13

"And where [sins and lawless acts] have been FORGIVEN, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary." - Hebrews 10:18

"[ Light and Darkness, Sin and Forgiveness ] This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.", "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and
will FORGIVE us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." - 1 John 1:5, 9

"But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness.
They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them.", "I am writing to you,
dear children,    because your sins have been FORGIVEN on account of his name." - 1 John 2:11-12

"FOR we are not GIVEN a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline."

- from 2 Timothy 1:7

08 February 2011


So much in Life can be characterized along the lines of have and have not, given and taken/received, done by omission/commission or not. The Scripture says that there are none among us perfect and without sin, save the Lord. That last clause was not just to highlight the exceptional nature of Christ but the need for ALL our salvation as well.

Last night, I had a first, albeit late, look at a video from an artist named Ladybug Mecca. As one-third of the memorable hip-hop group Digable Planets, the (rapper and) singer seemed to have taken a musical turn with "You Never Get Over It". The video showcased the turmoil that can result from our earthly losses -- of parents, of children through natural or even our own efforts, of the familiar comfort of love, of anything we cherish. The artist's world was sorely divided between grey despondency and bejeweled vibrancy.

What I found interesting was the adornment of her hands as she moved through the scenes. Despite the shades her lifelight endured in the healing process, never once were those hands sullied with the blood of malintent or pointed in blame. They held memorabilia, climbed the walls so to speak, embraced and apparently dressed herself, ever bearing the henna often reserved for a bride in the East.

By the end of the video, although acknowledging the pains that were near impossible to forget, her fragments gained wholeness with clarity and reckoning. The light of God that had been deposited into her parents, then fused and shared through the chromosomes they gave her fulfilled its expected purpose -- never to return void but to carry on the right way. She stated that "the language of Earth can't even imagine" yet in the spirit and my sight, the message was well-received and beautifully necessary! 

I'd known of Christ my whole life. The grandmother who raised me made absolutely sure of that. Truly knowing, receiving and believing Him, however, is something that no amount of outside prayer, intervention, benediction and coaching can do for us. That relationship is the most intimate! We have already been taught that we aren't to be unequally yoked to anything, but with sincere repentance and yielding to God our balance inproves. We have also been taught to cleave to the wives and husbands of our youth.

Should we unfortunately follow our own leads and join with a non-believer or someone else, however, 1 Corinthians 7:14-16 teaches that the spouse, or whatever and whomever we have joined, may be sanctified by our influence. Regardless, Romans 14:10-13 clearly admonishes us to live in such a way that does not judge another, but can account well for ourselves as individuals when true Judgment arrives. 

After a pretty good but imperfect walk, my ex-fiance and I lost the child I'd prayed decades and erased old ways for. I'd been given a few dreams that foretold of the loss and allowed me some awareness to prepare for the transition, mind you, but the actual mixed feelings of grief, physical healing from the medical complications and the overall process of rebuilding seemed like forever! Just when I thought I was finally getting it right, my first and only pregnancy (contrary to the harsh, biased belief and bedside manner of some of the doctors who seemed jaded in their "inner-city" practice) went all wrong, shortly after Mama's passing no less.

Inner and external taunting arose as the devil sought to use the tragic moment as a breeding ground for sin and other pains. While the time and technology may have changed, that original, defeated tempter/accuser/nemesis of my Lord knows no better than to cause dis-ease and leave human hosts bearing either the weapons or the scars. Certainly, I have stated some of these details before, but like the train of forgiveness-related Bible texts below, it comes through with good purpose, so I oblige.

My hurts don't make me hardened or a saint, as premarital sex and thinking that it was my sole duty to fight whatever presented itself as my enemy are among that which never honor God's best plan for me. Neither does personal pain give anyone else license to terrorize another or discredit how Life's rough places may have rubbed them. That only forces unnatural healing like Job's 'friends' and pridefully takes the Divine duty onto oneself. There is no 'getting over' or 'getting over it' under the Most High. Who but the Lord knows what lies beneath the smile or hard work of the man, woman, boy or girl next door and within?

The Holy Spirit is sent as often as needed to comfort and guide the people of God. Also, all sin is exactly that -- sinful, disgusting and to be done away with per our Creator, not cloaked or projected to appease merely human view. One thing life in the will of God all-ways offers is forgiveness; of our sins and most importantly, of each other's shortcomings including allowing enough grey areas in oneself for the enemy to enter and set up shop. Save for the grievance of the Holy Spirit, we are gracefully gifted not to continue our shady behavior but to emerge from our dark places and enjoy the colorful, transparent freedom of blameless lives.

This evening, I sat in the living room faithfully inspired to press record on the default Windows recorder with a more recent dream in mind. On that night, I found a newborn girl weeping softly and followed my instinct to nurture her. When I sang, she got quiet and held me closely. Quite possibly she represents the me who eventually came to new terms with the loss via unexpectedly helpful lessons from last weekend's session. Maybe s/he represents the emotions of an unseen reader whose hurts could use a psalm and an embrace. I don't know and don't need to violate your privacy -- God is already in the midst, just as He was in my mists!

The previous perfectionist would never release such a rough recording, but she who wailed longest yet silently from that hospital years ago straight until Sunday morning -- like any one who holds on to their debilitating issue(s) -- must be transformed and sealed as a worthy Bride unto the Lord! Opening myself to criticism when I can help it is a pretty big step for me, but I've done it for the love of others. Why not the Love of God in and through me? I understand that we all have our own steps to take and pray the Lord will assist our deliverance once we do. Beyond the occasional cracks and flat tones here or anything my Lord's enemy attempts out there, however, my heart exalts the Almighty God for an undying Love that I will recall for eternity.
Now, only in the sacrifice of praise ~ from wherever you are ~ I am calling you to join me!

(Some FORGIVEN Fruit)

06 February 2011

Ain't It Good to Know...

Entering into this day, a desire of my heart was fulfilled; to rejoin more dear friends and make music like we used to! Well, kinda; we don't don't really do anything -- look, work, think, live -- like we used to and that's OK. The brother whose song and session I was invited to accent had come full circle to record a project he intended with the birth of his first son, some years ago. Dynamic as Life can be, his plans had to wait for the days upon us now. 

The soundtrack was so soulful and the camaraderie, infused with joy. Eventually, I entered the booth to sing his chorus and stood before the mic with the conviction to do well. As certain past-life lyrics left my lips, though, it was my spirit that was truly convicted. I dubbed his vocals as is customary to enhance the texture of it. I omitted some words on my tracks for the respect of it. I even added harmonies to deflect it. The blend sounded great, but no matter what I did, the uncomfortable feeling of even the slightest compromise remained within my gut.

In those wee hours, I asked the Lord for the humility and wisdom to search myself according to the Word. Some scriptures entered my heart as the rough mix was being engineered. Quite possibly I troubled the downtime flow in the room a bit with my need to offer more breath to the Truth growing within me as well. As the sunrise approached, we all parted ways and later, in silence, I received rest. When I rose, Bob Marley's birthday was being celebrated among the radio waves. His genre contemporaries at-large sang "if you run down your shadow now, you'll never catch it" and other melodies bringing the real "book of rules" to mind.

Rocking to the 'rockers' playing in the kitchen, my spirit was freed to know renewed and reinforced purpose by this lesson of shadow and light. As we move into God's Truth, we need not be hypocritical, ignorant, merciless to or enraptured by the essence of the past. Remembering where we've come from is a blessing that can strengthen our faith, especially when the previous territory has become so unfamiliar. It is then that only the light of Righteousness will clarify the lanes' boundaries and help us continue on the Way forward to new desires in Him (hymn, too).