It’s Complicated

I may have written this before. Somewhere I am pretty sure I have used this same title. For that, I will not apologize. It’s complicated. So here we go…

As a black woman of faith, I am taught to seek joy in time of trouble. I am taught to experience gladness in time of sorrow. Sunday comes and I am reminded that whatever was or is troubling me the day before, my countenance should be as a holy glow, not a droopy woe. I am to clap my hands in praise and shout with joy before my God and be humble and thankful. Do not get me wrong, please. I love extending my hand to my God in praise of all the many blessings. But after one more child being killed by police, it’s complicated.

It’s complicated for me to smile and not show the trauma that impacts my body. It’s complicated to sing a song of triumph when my voice instead wants to moan. It’s complicated to lift up encouraging words when you know darn well the words are falling on ears that just want to hear, “Can we be real before God for a minute, please?” It’s complicated in our preparation that we clothe ourselves in an armor that is tough and hard to break, when in reality we are breaking. It’s complicated that we plan for the future with the past still in the back of our minds and the present showing up with past pains. It’s complicated that still we rise in the mornings and must meet the day like there is nothing wrong, like all is just a terrible dream and we must just get through it.

Just get through it, as we hear of another son’s death. Just get through it, as we hear of another’s son’s death, just get through it as we hear of another daughters death. Just get through it, as we notice the anger and violence that we are facing and the anger and violence we do internally to ourselves as we just get through it. I can’t get through it.

So now, God. Can I be real with you? No, I present myself before God with sadness, not joy. With anger, not gladness, with lament, not a smile. Not clapping my hands to pretend that all is well. Not walking with my head held high so others will feel comfortable. Not making a joyful noise for others who refuse to see my tears or hear my cries. No! For me to do otherwise is just too complicated.

Hear my prayer God. It’s complicated!



Wakanda Forever!

2020 could not get any worse. But it did. This has been a year of terror. Deaths of those who we admire, including 180,000 dying from Covid-19. My heart sunk when I heard the breaking news flash on the death of our Black Panther King, Brother Chadwick Boseman. How can my community lose so many this year to police brutality, violence, airplane crash, cancer, etc.? The figures that taught us to keep moving and fighting in the likes of Congress John Lewis and Rev. C. T. Vivian, gone at a most unfortunate time for us, because just hearing the breathing of our heroes gave us strength to stand. It appears that 2020 has us grieving over and over again. Like, can we please catch a break!

It is amazing how black folks find a strength to rise in spite of pain and anger. In spite of screaming and crying, we find a way to get up. We still grieve but we do it with a sense of urgency and purpose. As sad as I am right now, Brother Boseman comes and gives me these words he said in an interview with the awesome Trevor Noah discussing the movie Black Panther. The king of Wakanda, T’Challa says, “I don’t think there’s a villain in this movie. I think you have two sides of the same coin. Everybody is the hero in their own story. You should be the hero in your own story.”

Brother Boseman embodied the strength of his ancestors who provided him all he needed to shine in the purpose and story he was chosen to leave to a generation. What story will we individually tell? How will we show up in our own stories to be a hero or “she-ro” and provide to the next generation all they need to shine.

Yes, in spite of the anger and pain, shine in your story for the next generation to stand in power.

Wakanda Forever!