truth

Lenten Prayer #5: Mothering

Father,

A sleeping desire was nestled today. Motherhood has always been a sure desire for me. I could not imagine a life without children to love and care for. Matrimony would be nice, motherhood is my heart. To care for, to love, to serve, to be silly, to run, to learn, to grow, to correct, to be humbled daily. While nestled by three children today, she was not awoken. Give me patience to wait for my children. It is hard to not know someone, but already love them so deeply and dearly.

In the Name of the Son, through the Power of the Spirit,

Amen

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Race, Beauty, and Hope

The predominant culture suggests normative black features are not attractive. Because of this in the dating realm, black women finish dead last. OKCupid has a study affirming this. While, it is not explicitly stated: “men find black women unattractive”. My assumption is that they don’t. Rounded noses and darker skin are not particularly “in”. Full lips are currently “in” but as a trend. Like thick brows are “in”.

In the past seven days, I have had two conversations with a friend about race and beauty and attraction. They are hard conversations. Not only for the content, but we are distinguishable by both race and gender. Which is not bad, but often you have to explain things that may be inherent to a person who was black and/or a female. Though difficult, I find the conversations refreshing. I process things through them. This blog is not so much about the feelings of unattractiveness or the conversations had with my friend. However, both serve as a black drop to something significant that took place on a warm Saturday afternoon.

I was sitting my Houston mom’s hair salon playing with my cousins. Which is a sight. I’m an African-American and my mom and cousins are white. She takes a break from doing hair. I sit in the chair and my 12-year-old cousin begins pampering me with a massage. It was legit. My 9-year-old cousin comes over and begins to look at my hair. She politely asks if she can touch it.

“Yes. Thank you for asking.”

She continually says how soft and fluffy it is. Fascinated, she gets some Morrocan oil and places it on my hair. Over the course of the next 20 minutes, I have my shoulders and arms massaged, my hair oiled and brushed, and my looks affirmed in a really special way.

What makes this interaction so distinguishable from others, is that my sweet cousins whose skin is so much lighter than mine, think I am beautiful. Not for a black person, but as a person who God created. While, they are old enough to know we look different, there was not this elitism in them. I sit on the couch and my 9-year-old cousin snuggles up with me. She looks at my lips and calls them pretty.

I wish my lips were bigger like yours.” She pouts trying to make them bigger.

“I think your lips are perfect for the face God gave you.” 

The rest of our time is spent snuggling on the couch catching naps at 2 in the afternoon. I don’t know how these sweet children learned to love diversity at such a young age, but it gives me hope.

There is a coming day where there will be no narrative of black women being unattractive. Because our biased expressions and representations of beauty will disappear. Humanity will understand that our racial diversity, our various nose shapes and hair textures, our crooked smiles and pearly whites, our physical differences scream of a divine Creator who loves and revels in variety and in diversity. Who loves the porcelain skin of Scandinavians, the almond eyes of Asians, the raven black tresses of Native-Americans, the warm skin of Latinos, and the rounded noses of African people. I felt that hope today.

I felt that hope today.

It was beautiful.

Gracious to Me

In an instant, emotions billow over me. They consume me. It’s scary. A simple tugboat amid the crashing waves, I am jolted into a storm threatening to capsize my humble vessel. These storms persist over weeks and months. Lighter rain pours, but this is not relief. After a four month midnight, overcast comes. I welcome it. I welcome drab without dismal. It’s not luxury but livable.

The sun’s presence is felt before it appears. Warmth fills the damp air. Humidity has no place and evaporates like my sorrow. The flame casts out the clouds and resumes its shine with the radiant blue sky.

This happened today. What continuously runs through my mind are these thoughts.

Strangers are gracious to me.

Friends are gracious to me.

God’s gracious to me.

All of this is a gift, I have discounted. I have been well loved by a gracious handful of people who have born and been beaten by my billows. I am humbled to be a recipient of their love and grace. Thanks for giving it even when I wasn’t aware. It washed over me today, and was compelled to share.

Quasimodo is a Person!

There is a scene in the Hunchback of Notre Dame that has haunted me since I was six. The Festival of Fools is transpiring. They are revealing the distorted faces of participants. They get to Quasimodo. Esmeralda grips his face and realizes Quasi is not wearing a mask. With his distorted face, he is crowned the King of Fools. What is a moment of excitement turns to terror as he is tied down and is pelted with rotten produce. I cried at six; because I knew it was real. People were mistreated like that in real life. I cried again tonight at twenty-six.

The crowd turns so quickly. I mean he is animalized. He cries out for mercy, but he finds none. What happens in this scene is the same type of suffering I cannot bring myself to watch in Roots, 12 Years a Slave, Django Unchained, American History X, Hotel Rwanda, or any film about slavery or the Holocaust or genocide. It makes me sick. It’s not entertainment, but a snapshot of human history. Real people died. While, they are honored by their stories being told. It is still a hard story to listen to.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame is a children’s film. It speaks to the condition of general humanity, but also of Christians. I believe in a story about a man and woman in a garden. Who make a bad decision and suffer some serious repercussions. I believe one of the repercussions is this: while humanity has the propensity for good the same propensity for evil, and are more susceptible to evil. What makes the narrative more frightening is how it’s possible to choose “good”, but still have the potential for that to be corrupted by evil. As, I watch Frollo, I am reminded of men and women (historically and currently) who have utilized religion as a vehicle to control and hurt people. Rather than to love and serve.

I dunno. I have a lot of feelings about this movie, but it is 5AM. Maybe, I’ll edit it later.

2017 Resolutions

Typically, I don’t make resolutions. A yearlong commitment to anything seems a bit drastic. However, the previous statement is just well crafted coding for my personal laziness and desire for a lack of accountability. So here are my 2017 Resolutions.

  1. To have a more consistent view of God.
    • When life is good my perspective on God and His character is fantastic. It is easy to see Him as benevolent and wondrous. This trickles down to how I interpret my life and others. So my interactions with God, self, and others are good.
    • When life is bad my perspective on God and His character gets gross. It is harder to see Him as benevolent and wondrous. My interpretation of self becomes exaggerated and my concern for others stems from pride. My interactions with God, self, and others are not beneficial and unhealthy.
    • If, I can learn to have a more consistent view of God in both good and bad situations, it will alter the way I interpret my life and interactions with others in a positive and sustaining manner. Which will in turn make life less about the general peril and more about a vaster narrative in which, I honestly play a smaller, but meaningful roles.
  2. Read through the Pentateuch and the Prophets
    • In Matthew 5, Jesus makes this huge claim to fulfill the Law and the Prophets. He does it, obviously. I just don’t know all the details of what He meant. So, I will be going through the following books over the course of 2017: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi.
    • My hope is this: If I can understand the Law and Prophets, I can understand the character of the Messianic King Israel was waiting for and in turn understand the character of the Messianic King, who will return.
  3. Create things that are true.
    • This year, I want to write blogs and music and paint. It is easy to obsess about whether or not it is good or bad art. Which can be subjective. Rather, I want to create things that are true and reflect truth.
    • If I can create things that reflect truth, than I have made art that I consider good.

I think that is enough. Here’s to 2017!

The Creation Story

I opened up my Bible for the first time in 4 months. It was open most of the semester for the sake of studying and knowing, but not for being. Not for the maintenance of a relationship with God. I don’t know what prompted reading it. Perhaps a midnight prayer? I only read 5 verses:

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.

I have heard and read and studied the Creation more than any other passage of Scripture. I can paraphrase Genesis 1 through 3, from memory. Today, it felt personal. It felt internalized. It felt like my creation story. While formless and void are great beginnings for the manufacturing of a world, they are not good for the human soul.

Perhaps, the Lord is hovering over the surface of my void and formlessness with pursed lips ready to speak. Perhaps, His goodness is preparing itself to be revealed. Perhaps, darkness will have to find new residence for light will come.

One day.

 

Music Monday: It’s Not Enough by the Modern Post

I love God. I love music. I love that I serve God who loves music. I love that there is music about God. Unfortunately, in a world where Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) and Gospel dominate, it is hard to find all other artists who express a love for God in a manner that elevates musicality and deep pensiveness on the things of God.

With this, I have decided for the month of April to host something called “Music Mondays”. Each Monday in April, I will post 2-3 songs every Monday that have pushed me to contemplate and ask questions about God, myself, and what I believe.
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