Look Alive

01 February 2014

Whose House?

Welcome to what's commonly known as February 2014! In America, this month, albeit the shortest in the Gregorian calendar system, is associated with grand notions of romantic love and commemorating the illuminating, historical contributions of so-named "Black" people. The combined consideration of these two focal areas brings a heightened sense of purpose, rightful sense of place and, as usual, music to the fore. In the heart of my mind, no where else do these co-exist more frequently (and hopefully, more constructively) than in the home.

What is "home," exactly? I say it's "where the heArtwoRx." Some have said it's wherever we lay our hats. Others are content to offer a postal address, regardless of the heaven or hell occurring therein. There are also those deemed homeless who are never without the nourishing providence and shelter of the Spirit. To some degree, in the relative regard of "home," everyone's right. Know, however, that certain foundations, fixtures, front- or back-door visitors, etc. can be all wrong.

Are you familiar with the contrasting, Biblical stories of Potiphar's and The Potter's houses? In the former story, Genesis 39-40 illustrates how Joseph, a favorite son and forebear of spiritual Israel sold into slavery by jealous brothers, was tempted then imprisoned due to false accusations of sexual advances by his Egyptian master's wife. Interestingly enough, her lying lust used Joseph's cloakpossibly the same multi-colored gift his brothers grudged him for in ch. 37as proof of their alleged encounter. 

I don't know what letters were added behind the "fruitful bough" of Joseph's name, but I don't have any to boast. I do have decades of experience in Life, bearing the title of friend or just observant, audibly aware commuter in large cities. That being said, I've heard of plenty perversion from various homefronts over the years, so very little shocks me when communicated in earnest. (NOTE: Reaching the masses is fine and fulfills social media's purpose. When addressing your closest social circle, however, the limits of occasional text seldom gets to the heart of the matter regardless of how convenient or common it may be. Instead, it often distorts the message that direct, thorough conversation may prove valid and of mutual benefit.)

Take a moment to step into the house shoes of those who've endured violent beatings. Losses of those nearest in heart or professional proximity. Slander. Consensual and forced incest, sometimes resulting in young women becoming mothers to their own siblings or cousins. Secret marriages. Theft. Substance abuse. What of those deceiving more than themselves so slave-like activity will continue under their roof? Racked with pain or unsettled by mental illness. Diverse and misguided, if not repressed, outbursts of hatred... . Comfortable? Happy? Didn't think so, and honey, Potiphar's wife's foolishness is there in the midst. Still, no matter how twisted any environment or era, nobody has to remain there, at least in the inner life. "You may say that I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one." Take it from one who... never mind; my children will enjoy those! Thankfully, the God that Joseph was written to know and honor let justice and truth rest heavily in the atmosphere. His prudent obedience to God's Will yielded promotion.
"Thank God for what you have...Trust God for what you need." ~@RevRunWisdom, January 30, 2014

Let's soak this in, be refreshed and clear away the judgmental or even victimized wo/man-as-island philosophy now (read by '80s Prince as an invitation to jump in Lake Minnetonka or by India.Arie's decree to "Purify me, baby." I digress). Sometimes, people will enter our lives to give us a hug or a nudge into that place of Grace. Others' job, whether they know it or not, is to remove even the physically homeless of us from said rightful place. We must grow mindful of and honest with our connections, as we can really help or hinder each other beyond the surface, never knowing thus respecting or assisting what another has been through or what our example will continue to do in their lives. 

Quite possibly, that was the premise behind Alabama State University's requirement that its President, Dr. Gwendolyn Boyd, not keep any romantic company in the institution-appointed housing. Being a position of much lower stature, former work as a women's residential manager imposed no such stricture although I kept dating and even platonic visitors at bay by reason of chosen solidarity during my service. Cool conversations and cooler showers helped! Although I've since allowed steps or even a leap towards companionship into my Life, some might have misconstrued that season as mere stubbornness, frigidity or a lie. As HBCU Digest writer JL Carter Sr. stated the unfortunate truth that "[t]here’s no [mundane] clause eloquent enough to drown out rumor and innuendo." *sigh* Not only was it great to first learn of the ASU situation via an impromptu viewing of The Santita Jackson show today, I agreed with the panel's sisters in that sometimes 'the cause is greater than the [contractual] clause' otherwise at work in our lives.

...OR those ghosts & remnants of the man or woman you might have been up until a split-second ago.
This leads us to The Potter's House. Nah, I'm not talkin' 'bout Harry or Pastor T.D. Jakes, either! Introduced in Jeremiah 18 and echoed throughout scripture, the concept of individual relationship with The Most High, even as The One Who Plans, Builds and Perfects us as needed, is emphasized. By the Original and grandest Design, we were all created to be living vessels or temples for that Right(eous) Power. Radical healing change happens in a physical or spiritual home where it's invited and allowed to dwell. Allegory or not, how else would you describe the minor prophet Hosea's (salvation) ability to derive a native, even semi-precious gem in Gomer (completion, fullness of sin), a repeated backslider and mother of three, arguably third-party children whose translated names refer to invasion, no love or mercy and illegitimacy? 

Needless to say, not every attempt to add 'use' or 'wife' to our related colloquialisms ends in success. Scripture often cautions against being unequally yoked regardless of profession and teaches their instance was mandated by God. Does that mean if we pray or play church yet feed ourselves or loved ones poorly, let lies out of our mouths and take what some might disregard as a 'dutty' approach to any kind of 'wine' all is well? *turns the bass way down* Guess not. (In the weaning, see Sirach 31:27-28 before a glass of CĂ®roc.)

My godfather, literally the one man in whose example I witnessed practical virtue for 25 years straight, recently passed on. Of course, I did not know him as a mother, other relative, wife or person daily sharing the same home might. Being a man of both military and ministerial action, however, his mentorship and support strategically inspired me to right action over time, moreso now than ever since the walls of his physical temple are no more, amplifying his most fervent messages. My grandmother, the premier feminine example in my Life, would often say, "Tek sleep mark death... From yuh see dem, you will know dem," referring to the fact that people will likely handle Life's larger matters as they do the little things, eventually having no choice but to show or speak what they're about or really want with you even in silence. That's alright! To her elder wisdom I'll add compassion for the dynamics of human nature and remind us, starting with me, to first remove the improper beams from our own eyes and structures.

May this message also reach you, bringing true clarity, forgiveness and healing, where you live.

Won Love.