Look Alive

21 April 2013


Faith and fatherhood have long been at the fore of many eras' popular cultures. Old Abraham passed one of written history's most enduring tests involving his son, Isaac. Pastor/"Purpose Driven Life" author Rick Warren and family grieve the loss of his youngest son, Matthew, to suicide on April 6, sparking a firestorm of opposing backlash that both doubts and expects the Warrens' exemption from such a tragedy. Lauryn Hill is an acclaimed musician and actress whose hip-hop from certain graces is often rumored to be the result of an unequal yoke with a legendary son who fathered five of her six children. Juxtaposed with her early career's open desire to have about 12 children and a possibly unrelated adulation for his famous family, her and many good, hard-working people's current financial struggles place Ms. Hill back in the news. (4/24/13 Update: A silver linings 'songbook' of sorts may be on the way.)

Taking a break from day-to-night shift coverage of the Tsarnaev brothers' alleged terror in Boston wherein their father Anzor defended the young men, a Raymond Santana Sr. appeared as the sole supportive father among those living with the injustice displayed in the PBS documentary, "The Central Park Five". Conscious avoidance of yet another week of "Preachers' Daughters" made way for the redemption song of one in particular. Singer Fantasia Barrino returned to the "American Idol" platform from which she sprung to widespread fame. An impromptu view of her "Lose to Win" live performance was a soul-stirring reminder of the young woman's major vocal talent, enhanced by a special intangible that powers through lies and no money can buy otherwise known as 'the anointing'. Her Commodores-sampling ode of self-growth seems to gradually triumph over her "love" for the positive "inner" qualities she perceived in a man who pleased her "inner" parts while both were aware that he was still 'in a' marriage union with another woman.

Fret not beloved... the judgmental hypocrisy of mortals even towards higher beings is historical. 
Make it right with the Maker. 
["Jesus the Homeless" sculpture © Timothy P. Schmalz]

All of the situations above attest to the fact that the media spotlight often encourages questionable acceptance, embellishment or omission upon those eager to be or stay in it. For instance, the additional human right not to agree with or partake in trends of deception, sexuality, drug culture, shoes or even nail art du jour threatens to affect one's influence in their chosen corner of the popular arena. To slap a Nicolaitan amen on the end of our wrongs and keep them going is made as appealing as Neapolitan ice cream, while talent and integrity are chided as uncool; maybe cute. As we begin to know better, this sensuality over sensibility should not be. The Bible and reality TV notwithstanding, nowhere else are the pet projects we make of planting and reaping our own self-loathing in others' lives as present as in crisis intervention texts or work. During my volunteer internship days, scenarios unimaginable or otherwise rewarded with Hollywood salaries for their gross imagination are somehow common. Among the least graphic of them, I have found:
  • Wo/men beaten down by their intimate 'pillar of the community"-type partners, physically or otherwise challenging their ability to hear and process the truth
  • Intricate attempts at sabotage in the name of "success" 
  • Emotionally and/or sexually violated children who see no harm in judging or doing the same to other children (maybe except their own, if so blessed later in life); their abusers probably having escaped the arrest their conscience and hearts' development was made to suffer 
  • Young people ready to end their real lives over virtual rumors and relationships
  • Wo/men who curse their parents and inadvertently do everything possible to be just like them while thinking and vowing the opposite 
My Spirit resonates with an echo both distant and present: "Forgive them, Father..." and while You're at it please forgive us. Objectivity mandates some advocacy for the other side by inviting the questions: what about those fathers and other authority figures who need forgiving? As an appointed leader of the household, an absentee or abusive father may well deserve some blame for the resultant behaviors of the world's wayward or weary. Reportedly, Fantasia and her father did happen to have a tumultuous relationship. Because perfection escapes us ALL on this human journey, however, if we're so willing to travel far enough down the tree's roots to find faulty seeds, why not take the independent initiative to reach even farther and seek true healing from our Divine Source Who creates the varied environments of dirt, air, water and sunshine we must have, whether we flower or flounder?

We seldom let up when giving others the proverbial business. By forgiving, forgetting and pressing forward from the empty feel-goods of the past, then, let's give each other a chance at the lasting joy and wellness our Father wants for us. Even without the courage and strength of a direct, honest word, we can be heard sometimes expressing ourselves in poor taste. Science and sick days alike teach us how closely the latter is related to our scents; that they precede our sight. By making room in our hearts and souls to feel His Way through dark times and making the change of repentance, we Will Know, Love.