Look Alive

26 February 2011


"This woman's bleeding! It's illegal to leave her house. It's not a social thing. It's not about who's in the pews, what they're saying in the 2nd or the 6th row. She said, 'I just NEED what I need!'"
- just heard in a radio sermon about a woman's "issue" and what the minister called "churchiness"

In terms of 'classical' medicine, blood, black and yellow bile and phlegm/mucus are considered its "humors". If you've visited me here over the past two weeks, then you'll know I've had a 'humorous' time, so to speak, with the flu. You'd think my head was still stuffed with that last one the way I forgot that bile already covered the base for two colors, doubting my memory of the fluids' names when putting this post together as well as my acceptance of an invitation to a Sabbath service earlier this morning.

On the ride there, a need to expel some stubborn traces of 'humor' and no immediate access to more ladylike resources overwhelmed me, so I opened the car door as discreetly as possible at a light and...gained a blog title! The broadcast, my agreement with touching upon the right hem or hymn at any cost that edifies Christ and red-yellow-green's regulation had already produced the theme and sentences to follow. I'm just glad to be and feel healthy again, thank God!

As we approached the church's entryway, I wondered if I was in violation of a call "to keep the [day] holy" as travel was required. That may sound plain silly and pretentious to some, while others might wish to spit at my feet as if I was an imp with an anything-but-pious nature. Regardless, it was an earnest consideration, as a friend recently shared a teaching that excluded even the use of cooking fire during the usual Sabbath respite period. When you've known or done wrong, eventually, hopefully, you just get to a place when you want to know and do what's right, despite the enemy's challenges and chiding. The further into the parking lot we drove, the reality of my movement for the purpose of fellowship in Christ -- and the flipside of their sign -- re-established the joy of the Lord as our strength and I felt welcome!

Once inside, a warm body of believers and a certain Dr. Abel (!) delivered a great message, his entitled "Even Me". It didn't hurt that one of my favorite songs bears the same name, either. The sermon, which drew from Judges 3 and 1 Peter 2 in particular as well as the popular children's chorus, reiterated how precious God's children of all ages and 'humors' are in His sight. Even the unassuming or peculiar ones like the physically left-handed Ehud are alright in the Will and Work of the Kingdom.

True, Israel had swayed in their emotions again, coveting the Moabites (who later weren't all bad, if only for one lovely lady named Ruth) whom God gave them over to for yet another disloyal act. But, as the minister explained, sometimes the Lord will temporarily do that for one of a few reasons:
- To teach you something
- To teach the enemy something about you
- To teach both sides something about Him
Wasn't it Cain who first wielded the knife, but here was Abel preaching the Word about one? I have heard it said that God is a comedian, but I know the Lord is not to be mocked and His Holy Spirit has timing and delivery like no other!

Like leprosy, the mental illness discussed some posts ago and other human conditions that aren't exclusively curses, left-handedness was looked down upon by the "frozen chosen" who "restrict our understanding of God because of their obsession with 'right-handedness'" of the world. The appearance and style of one's intimate worship with the Lord is somehow worth less than the actual relationship. The infamous club of "they", that can claim any of us if we're not vigilant to remain humbled by God's Sovereignty through Christ's grace, is rigid in their belief as to if and how God should use a person for His glory.

The new visitors appeared surprised when the congregation's women weren't wearing floor-length skirts and covered heads; not because such attire is anything less than beautiful, but likely because of its contrast with what they'd heard and thought they knew. Even me. Sometimes when it comes to the inner workings of others and always when it comes to our Maker, we don't know spit.

In a closing homage to Black History Month, the minister likened several pioneers of American industry and African descent who were spat upon in one way or another to that same Ehud. Some having "come from shelters, bad families [and] bad relationships" had to fight harder to evict the enemy from their joy storages and embrace the unique ministries within. Along my own path, this heart pumps, I've cried for joy or pain, sweat is a given and my mouth has even tried to rap (aka "spit", colloquially) once or thrice back there somewhere in an effort to live and share the Gospel. Not much of it has been easy. One thing I believe we can agree upon across waters, space and time is that taking rest in El Elyon ~ God Most High ~ when it's time to, makes it easier.

25 February 2011

Free Day

Did I ever mention to you that I hate unnecessary waste?

Ideas, time, energy, food, clothes... you name it - I'd like to make proper use of it, if possible. Grandma didn't raise us to take liberties otherwise. I'm not saying I haven't made such mistakes or that everything, once gotten, should be retained. I for one have procrastinated terribly on some creative matters and, for too long a time, even kept the first sneakers I ever bought [low-top, black classic Reeboks about $10 less than the high-top version coined "$54.11s"] simply because I -- and not only a guardian -- afforded them with honest, part-time pay. Who cares that the upper eventually separated from the sole and the shoes started 'talking', unfit to be worn except around the house with a flattened back as a kind of mule? They were mine! *smh* I believe I have a better understanding of how important it is to sustain the good and necessary now.

That concept, often linked only with indigenous or just conscientious people, came back to heart and mind this morning after catching some TV One performances of soul favorites and reading a recent online interview about an activist/former beauty queen of African & Native American descent. At a popular African street festival almost 10 years ago, I took the following picture on a whim. It's not very fancy and my loved ones have probably tired of seeing it, but it remains a personal favorite due to its simplicity and stark message.
"School Dazed" (Brooklyn, NY) | ©PMLLC

For all men, women, boys and girls in this world, there is much to learn. Some of us are free to do just that: fill our minds, hearts and souls with whatever new jewels we choose or remember and polish what we once knew; hopefully as a blessing. Any way you pronounce it, if the Most High pronounces it, another day comes upon each of us to do what we can. I am learning to make the best of and thank God -- the One with the Power to restore and preserve -- for every one. May the liberties that accompany then follow daybreak, its lessons, laws and the like be in the Lord's perfect Will.

Have a good weekend!

24 February 2011

Mary May Pass

On matrimony in the land, the Charmed one could surely join the ranks of U.S. states/territories that deem same sex marriages legal. The bill to add Maryland to the almost seven-year-old and growing list that currently includes Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire and Washington D.C. was passed in the Senate this afternoon. Following next Friday's results of the expected appeal to the House, 'Mary' may or may not be officially involved in such connections.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), the debate is actually a lot more colorful, so to speak, than the black-and-white issue of whether or not only the union of one man and one woman can be legally recognized. Further details of the various terms and locations most closely related to the different unions can be found at their site.

As the evening news brought me up to speed with the expectant traffic, weather, local goings-on and the Md. Senate president's suggestion of  "referendum" ironically opposing the majority of the group he leads there, my own minority stance revisited what I believe to be the rightful and Original design. I would rather not babble any further about others' opinions and decisions or even what could be considered my own misgivings from years of posts past. I will just maintain and share this Word as the night passes and some of the world awaits the updates of tomorrow.

23 February 2011

Creed and Clear Water ~ REVIVAL!

I love diving into a good book when I can! As a girl, devouring a novel (and maybe a snack from the bodega near the train station) was a pleasurable privilege granted by a "free" library system that made my four-hour roundtrip daily commute feel short. Romantic elements were okay, but horror/mystery, history, worthwhile characters and their healing solutions were the crux of my reading interest. Needless to say, the times and tide have changed.

Fast-forwarding to today's task of warming and gross [sic] decongestion, I am finally completing a borrowed tale about a young Irish woman who set out to find Life's magic, namely Love. I noticed it during a family visit back near what's celebrated as Thanksgiving.* The author, whose somewhat similar path through writing, music, activism and faith came to my attention about nine years ago, used this work to reiterate the importance of love to guide any labor as well as the "implacable" violations those labors are subject to if ever seeking to darkly affect another's free will.

The Kingdom of God is established as One of order and decency that evil seeks to undermine with chaos. As the latter is forced to try on a systematic approach for such efforts, however, it is essentially subject to the Will it hopes to disrupt. Yes. It is written. My nose and chest are achieving release. The sink and other receptacles are left progressively clearer. The teas have done their job and my system can better use the flush of ample cool water.

In about 70 pages and a few more lime and eucalyptus essential oil drops on my tissue, that book and its message will also be done. I will have enjoyed the exchanges of the young woman and her teachers, the rolling countrysides and cobblestone streets it encouraged me to envision. When I'm back in my cousin's neck of the woods, the book will finally be returned after an uncharacteristic three months.

Before it was ever opened, as the cause of my pauses and long after she receives it, however, I will go deeper and higher into my favorite Book. May it do the same to me and all readers to help keep us on the right path with Christ from within. Even when I'm not in the mood, for the good it teaches of drama, intrigue, war, peace, foolishness, wisdom, hateful deceit and mostly, the Love of a Teacher so profound they both soaked and transcended the cross to Live in us even "now" - whenever, and forever, that is.

* I am grateful for the (message of the) picture now enclosed below, taken in my office at the time two weeks before learning of that book. It somehow came back to my attention today and seems to have earned a nice home in yesterday's post.

22 February 2011

Mini's Tree

Newark, November 2010

I knew better than to toy with that day of warm winter weather, but a little while earlier I'd received pivotal news after much waiting and felt free to succumb to the temptation of leaving my jacket in the car anyway. After all, with this clearer direction, there were people to meet and things to do which a comfortable body temperature and ease of greeting could only help.

For years, I admit possibly misconstruing the parable of the "talents" (or weights) by refusing to choose between what strengths of interest I could maintain a prudent and balanced relationship with. With so many barriers (e.g. doubt, appealing options, financial resources) to the fulfillment of our true callings and gifts or even what we may have studied, I constantly tried myself with questions like Must I write to honor the Spiritual deposits right or was it best to be planted otherwise hoping to avoid the pitfalls that could create a "me" of dimmed purpose.

Rather than realize I'd squandered what I was given, as suggested by loved ones from any of the different disciplines I wasn't active in, if God brought me to an opportunity to teach, I taught. To sing, I sang. To do the laundry or change a bedpan, I washed and changed. To communicate, I stated, so... can you imagine how scattered or shady that could appear, especially as the accuser often commits to mocking or confusing any connections to the Work of the Most High? 

While personal knowledge of being called a healer of hellish and Holy (?!) mandate to my face -- as my Lord was -- is foreign, I can relate to the feeling of receiving wrongful judgment and the disappointment of internalizing it. The following day, when the clouds and more seasonal feel returned to complement the Sabbath rest, head congestion from my improper attire showed up too. I shouldn't have been surprised (or, later, obliged) when a party invitation to get out and move beyond that funk followed.

Last week, an online devotional reminded me that God's Will accounts in different ways for what is permissive and perfect. Yes, 1 Corinthians chapters 6 and 10 in particular teach that what we can do isn't necessarily beneficial or equal to what we should do. Truth was, I'd been at my own crossroads and on the fence between two particular disciplines for some time; holding my breath for a literal season to learn whether or not a new program, location and life would accept me -- or if I should accept that which I'd already courted. Either would be good, but the best is what the Lord wants for His obedient own. We should also want the best for ourselves and each other.

More truth was, even that one party was not the relief or celebration I needed as my stomach joined my head in discomfort due to an ambitious mix of curries, strawberry shortcake and what amounted to half a small tumbler glass of wine. Contrary to our popular beliefs, though, the greatest confidence, joy and truth was in having both indecision and indigestion out of my system! I'm still working on the sneezy, stuffy part.

God had used even my mundane moments to encourage vigilant willingness along the "straight and narrow" as opposed to the winding and woefulness of a broader path. I'd grown so accustomed to God being reflected in new, adventurous and sometimes unrelated branches of my life that rightful elimination and focus had become a more effective tool for Divine education and enrichment. The more I disobeyed by striving or being silent out of season, the more God pruned until the simplest beauty of His plan was made evident.

In your own ways, I trust you know something about that process too. We all do -- or will. When those times come, I pray greater respect for the Holy Spirit's leading of our living ministries, that we are guided to add the needed 'mulch' as we grow and not mooch from the best yield He has seeded. Less can certainly be more, but blessed is much!


Oranges, if true to their form, will yield no rage and apples' access is good, if not wont
As the Branch reflects what's planted and our tending, what we see, others' I shall not want