Bondage Broken

Dear Friends,

How long are grudges supposed to last for anyway?

Is it till we are tired of the extra pain in our hearts, whenever the person walks into the room, or is it till we are desperate to sleep well and finally get that unnecessary discomfort out of our own heads, whenever that one person crosses our minds?

Or seriously, are we waiting to realize what we already know, that we are defying the number 1 commandment? That we are hurting God? That we have no right?

Either way this casual form of hatred is fueled by darkness, inspired by an eternity of madness, that slowly waits to kill us across seconds…..

So how long is it necessary to prove a point , that “YES!  I will continue to live like my sister does not exist, like she wasn’t made from the image of God,  like my total disgust towards her is an approved form of worship to the devil, the prince of hate, destruction and grudges.”  There is a difference between wisdom and living in death.

How long do I have to lie to myself that I am not at peace with myself, because I have an invisible black book  of enemies knitted in my soul, and it keeps growing and growing until my undefined end, when I stand before the throne of God on judgement day, and give Him a 1000 reasons why I just could not repent:

BECAUSE I WANTED TO BE RIGHT!!!

But hell isn’t made for those who have always been wrong, or those who truly love God, because if we are true holders of the cross, we would know how to treat our brother or sister first,

as Christ came when He gave up His all for us; His money, His Home, His freedom, His privacy, His family, His dignity, His marriage,His food, His clothes, His life, His blood, His sweat, Himself.

So, how much is a grudge really worth?…………………………………….        ……..

The next time I see those who betray, gossip, lie and persecute me, I will smile and say hi first. And I will mean all of it, as Christ died shamelessly on the cross for me and the one I labeled as “enemy”.

Forgiveness is bondage broken.

Psalm 49:13-15     Leviticus 19:17-18    Matthew 25:35    Colossians 3:13   Ephesians 4:31-32

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When we visit the homeless.

My visit to the food shelf, Sharing and Caring Hands, was truly a humbling and convicting, and immersive learning experience.  Surprisingly, it turned out to be one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, and I knew then, that it must have been a divine appointment. I left the food shelf not just physically fed, but with a deep spiritual and emotional satisfaction.

Last Tuesday, I looked around in desperation for any way I could get through this project successfully. The only challenge I was facing was time. As a student who works 3 part time jobs, I was not expecting to have the pleasure of a 2 hour bus ride. I knew the only day I could truly trust myself to get everything done was Tuesday because the entire week was meant to be jam- packed with events and preparations for the approaching finals week. I spent so much time panicking on how soon I could finish the assignment, I did not prepare myself mentally or spiritually for the encounters I was about to experience.

Finally at work, I was able to google a nearby food shelf which was meant to open as soon as I got out from work. So quickly, I rushed out earlier than usual, with the fear of traffic, and the ignorance of God’s overarching plan over my day. The food shelf happened to be only 6 minutes away from my workplace. I arrived more than 45 minutes early, in a car, while those who were truly in need walked wearily to the entrance. I kept asking myself insensitively where a parking lot would be at a homeless food shelf that catered for many living under the poverty line.  I cheated by parking in the back where staff and patients would park. I made sure to take off all make up and jewelry so that I could rightfully fit in without any suspicions. I even wore a scarf and painted sadness on my face.

As I was trying to get into the mindset of a homeless person, I was wondering what to expect from an experience like this. I was one of the first people to arrive to the shelter. When I got there, I was tasked with trying to figure out where I wanted to sit and with whom. I had to prompt myself once more to make an effort to socialize.  As much as I had tried to disguise myself, I realized that I still could not blend in, what betrayed me even more was my African accent.  I awkwardly sat next to a couple and their male friend, because there were only 2 women in the dining room at the time, and the second woman seemed like she wanted to be alone. As soon as I sat down, I received a dirty look from the woman who was sitting next to a man. I quickly got the cue that I was unwanted, so I left.

I then sat next to the other woman, the lonely old one. For privacy reasons, I will call her Jill. Jill completely ignored me for the first five minutes, and until then, I had to initiate every conversation with her. She answered with one word answers. Her eyes were tired, and her hair was extremely grey in just the front. Her face was covered with the wrinkles of worry and sadness, and I am glad I got to see her smile before I left. She later told me that her husband had just passed away the month before. She said this through smoke burnt lips, broken teeth, and tear stained eyes. At that moment I started noticing how dark  the room was becoming, and there was nothing I could really say to comfort her, because I was slowly slipping to the past of my losses also. We both cried together over past love. The room wreaked of sweat, spit, and drugs, and I started to realize that I was not that  far broken from anyone else in there. I had been there before, even if it was my first time there.

Then walked in Emma, a resilient Ecuadorean woman with her baby carriage. I mention that because she was so proud to be from her country. She burst into the middle of the line, cutting right in front of Jill and I . At that point I was too bummed out to care about the extra minute of waiting for my food, besides I was trying to fit in. But she had so much life, and so much to say. She told us about the love of Jesus Christ and how He had saved her from that dark place that everyone seemed to be slipping into. She sang out loud and quoted many uplifting verses. She poured her motherly love on us. Soon a sermon erupted from the midst of the long food line. She was the one who made Jill smile again. I’m glad she came when she did. There was only so much my melancholic temperament could do for Jill.

The food was served by teenagers. They were very kind and patient to us. They treated us like we mattered. One of them offered to hold and serve Emma’s plate, while she attended to the baby. Even though there were arguments and struggles between some of the men in the room, the volunteers were different. They were neutral observers, just like me, but like Emma, they gave a light to the entire room, not to mention the food they gave us was amazing. We had barbeque ribs, and fries with a pickle, and brownies, with dapples and ice cream. It was really sweet.  I actually enjoyed myself. It felt like a family dinner, with Jill helping herself to seconds and thirds, and Emma seriously preaching to everyone on the table. It was amazing. Sadly, there were grown men next to us, who were discussing how they were going to use their monthly earnings from begging to buy more drugs. Some people hid the food in compartments they bought with them, and kept going for more.

The volunteers were friendly and humble and offered more food to their guests. We all said a prayer together before we ate. This was led by the volunteers. However, they did not join us for dinner. In general, everyone was thankful for the food, especially since they knew it cost them nothing and they could always come back for more. It was somehow hard for me to accept that, because I know that unlike everyone else in the room, even though I came for food, I left with the bread of life, and empty pockets, as I came in.  That day, I made a friend, two in fact. I learnt that regardless of what we see  on the table, God’s love is always made available for us, if we can only see beyond our basic earthly needs, he will refresh and sustain us. Us humans, we have a hunger that not even a loved one or seconds or thirds at a food shelf can satisfy . I learnt more than anything that like everyone else in the room, I was wounded somehow or  broken, and my brokenness could only be mended by Jesus. I was truly grateful for this experience and the free food shared with brothers and sisters in Christ.

 

  • 1 Peter 1:6-7

 

“And when I come to die, Oh when I come to die, Oh when I come to die, Give me Jesus.”

“I asked for it”

Flashes of the scarring untold used to cripple me…. that was only the beginning that triggered a young Christian on a search for the authentic joy of life.

” I asked for it”

So if you are wondering how that ‘used to be’ gorgeously exotic girl drenched lavishly in blood, dangling lifelessly from a 30 feet telephone wire got there, then you are slightly ignorant. No better yet, you are offensively naive. For every one has heard what no one could have read. Is it true? Or did we all
really care? Regardless we all choose to intrude into people’s privacy when we stare and assume what we heard _ the news is vaguely fair. This is why I prefer to air this when I’m dead.
The real question you should be asking is ‘why?’ Well, don’t worry; I saved you the pain and energy of even the thought of thinking. Assumption. This letter which you will find plastered on my desk was torn reluctantly from the center of my ‘not so secret anymore’ diary. Don’t worry about the rest of the book, I burnt it right before I did this. As much as I would have loved to leave you all with the misery of contemplating for years the causes, no, the art of my death, here, I did you guys a favor. Here’s something to tell the news men. My last thoughts, my only words:

Dear Silent yet Strained Listener:

This is obviously before I found God. It was getting really late this Thursday night.. psssst lol ok, no I’m just kidding. No one died writing this. I had to get away from it all. I had to race against time just to get to my room; I just hate being around these people for too long. Today had been just another day in kindergarten. And as usual I was very tired. Mostly disgusted by their pettiness, I had no choice but to listen to the bullshit all day. No really, I have no choice. I try so hard not to count chickens while I walk. I feel like they are stalking me; their words only grow louder. I even went to the extent of walking around with the pressure of my purple head phones squashing my poor burdened head: my failed efforts to block the chatter out. But apparently that only made me look like a deluded lunatic. To them. Oh yeah, I heard that about myself too. This is a day in the life of a mad black woman who has nothing better to do than to just sit there and be talked about. If this were a movie, I would be the star. How could my life get any easier? Wish they’d shut up! I don’t blame them though. I’m quite the fascinating fish. When you live in a small space like this, you have nothing else to talk about. Nothing better than yourselves. So I will help you.

Today I had decided to take a walk a little, without my headphones (because apparently my life dearly depends on what everyone has to say). Okay, not really, my hearing was getting faulty from all the exerted noise. But like you guessed my defense against going deaf ended up going against my sanity. I heard everything, and I mean everything. It only made me even more depressed. The only thing I could possibly do was to move as quickly as I could. You see, I too have had to play the role of the strained listener, the audience member who never volunteered but yet was ridiculed by the power crazed comedian. Yes, I knew that until I took my last bow, I would forever be a slave to a flock of nonpaying spectators. But one day all was going to be different because one day, everyone would be choking from the guilt and lack of space, congested by that many pretenders stuck on a stage. Hope you enjoy the performance! Psstt. . I refuse to live yet alone die to conform to any of their wishes.

Ok Listener, enough of daydreaming about dessert, back to the main course of my miserable day! So I had to dive and dodge skillfully through cock pits (I mean that figuratively), battlefields, bullspit and then finally the cherry on top of it all! I had to play the invisible witness in the pretend game of war; my enemies versus my enemies… but I’m the target. Don’t you just treasure Thursday afternoons? I know I do! I’m quite the happy camper! And that’s just without the drugs.

First of all, I had to endure the excruciating pleasure of ears bleeding from hearing one of my ‘comrades’ speak of how oh woe is he, the poor gay black socially oppressed guy who has to undergo the discrimination and pain of society’s demands and pressures. I’m telling you I hear this song every day on my college record. He just needs his dick removed. And yet such oppressed individuals get off from telling everyone at lunch the newly released story of my life: how I magically woke up and became a ‘whore’. Oh woe is me now. The things I never knew about myself. Maybe we can call my final act a fight for my rights. At least now I can go to my grave knowing that I did something about it and now the world will be a much better place: free of mouth trafficking prostitution. Hey, I had no choice ok, I’m just another slave of society like the person reading this: the investigators, the news crew, my ‘friends’, the police, my loving roommate, my professors after they check me as absently dead, the real trafficked prostitutes, socially abused gay men everywhere, my unfortunate parents and oh before I forget, my dear silent witness, you, my dear reader. But not to worry, one day we will paint again.

So my day got juicier. Some random Jamaican girl approached me in the library telling me how she was thoroughly interrogated by her other Jamaican friends about my presence in her life. She spent hours telling me seductive stories about the campus population’s growing concerns and how I stole boyfriends, did endless drugs , destroyed families, burnt papers as my contribution to global warming, cut through roses instead of myself and maybe killed people. Apparently there was a recorded case of me majestically somersaulting over a highly raised bar with a broom stick as my highpole just to knock, no brutally attack someone on the head. I curiously asked her if I had any dangerous weapons on me that day because at this point I could have murdered an ant. I did not find any of these fun facts funny at all. Who knows how many other helpless victims I might have assaulted? And if so why is there still a crazy colored murderer on the loose? No one knows. All I could do was to suggest that the school buy more security cameras because I might have assaulted all the eye witnesses too. They, who are they? No one knows. This talk concerning the campus ‘protection against me’ program took too long. I had to finish my paper which was due that night. I nonchalantly agreed and bid her a safe walk away from me in case I decided to do what I do best as soon as she turned around. And off course this all happened within the silence of the library. Just when I thought I had discovered my final destination of solitude. At this point, I just could not wait for the day to be finally over and done with just so that I could go and have one of my priceless talks with my roommate, the only person who really understood me. I love and trust that girl with all my heart despite the social characteristics that tell us apart. Apparently she had just arrived on campus with a terrible cold from spending the weekend at the beach with her boyfriend . Somehow I found it hard to sympathize with her text because it was mid-February after all and the land had just seen snow- and less skin. I still felt kind of bad; she is a singer with a beautiful voice.

On my way to my dorm, I stopped by my Geography professor’s office to hand in my paper. I was however paralyzed by the sound of weeping, moaning and groaning as I walked towards the office door. It sounded like he was really given the class ‘valedictorian’ a lesson about the friction and sliding between the earth’s plates. I shook my head. So this is how you get extra credit, huh? I wanted to play ‘knock and run’ but I smiled and then carefully slid my paper underneath the red door. My paper was greeted politely by the mysterious silencing of the sex sounds behind the red door of the secret sex chamber. It was like a muzzled police siren. This is how I also “deservingly” got my extra credit. I didn’t even have to say a word.

Finally! I had arrived at my dorm. Just when I was climbing up the staircase, I overheard the voices of two people complaining to each other about something. And as usual one of them sounded nosy and oppressed and the other just sounded like a man with a very scratchy voice and a bad cough. I did not care initially because both voices sounded like mumbling to me. As I got closer up the stairs, the words became clearer. The girl said desperately, “ you guys can’t split up! You are wonderful together! A match made in heaven.” I giggled to myself, it was my RA speaking. But who could she be pleading with or talking about? My curiosity forced the microphone of my ears to extend for the first time. I had never in my life been the eavesdropper. Now I know the kind of satisfaction that the rest of my campus felt. It was like going to a live drama or opera…. For free!! Then the man, shaky toned spoke in frustration “Well , the truth is I only put up with her because I didn’t think she would be back again this semester. I don’t like her. She’s not a nice person and she’s nasty. She says the nastiest pessimistic things. I want her out for good. I can’t deal with her she’s so nasty!!!”

It finally dawned on me. The painful truth had revealed itself. I knew exactly who they were talking about. It was like a bullet being blown through your teeth and then heavily sinking down your gut. I now knew who the voice belonged to. The shock of it all! They were right; the knife only stabs more when you can’t see it coming especially when the agonizing jab is struck from within than over your flesh. Some things are harder to believe especially when you are the one with the front row seats.

“And Candi- Oh shit!” my roommate choked on her own words. Her manly voice was not man enough to carry that last note. The shock of seeing me obliviously walk by was startling for them both. All I heard was a gasp of horror and shame. That’s the last I heard of her, my only true friend. I shouldn’t have even bothered. The truth only corroded my heart yet alone my ears? I didn’t even need the ice at the end of my name to soothe the ache I could never tame. The pain always burns deeper within than when it’s on the surface. I should have known. I had to narrate
the story of my day through the tears that bled on this diary page. The truth can kill, even more than words, what more the memories? It’s like a volunteered, permitted death. But I asked for it. And this is only the beginning.

‘They’ can read this at my funeral when God is done with me:

“And you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” – Mathew 10:22.

The Foreigner from a Distant Land

When you feel like a stranger on your own planet, in your own life.

 

I am a foreigner, from a distant land.
I speak your language but you don’t understand.
I have hands like yours, that are never praised
I have eyes like yours that can also gaze.
I know that you came from the land of my father
But then why can’t we accept each other?

It is sad you think that you are better
But if I am stupid, how did I write this letter?
My strength you use to beat your butter,
But whether I’m hungry or not, it doesn’t matter.

I know one day I am going to belong
That Is why I comfort myself with this bitter song.

It is hard to sleep when I hear the loud bang
From thoughts of my family members being forced to hang
You try to keep me on your little hook
Your ears burn when you hear me read a book.
You can take away my bread, and burn my clothes
But whatever you do, we will never be foes.
Being strong and running fast is something I’ve learnt
I’ve been chased like a dog betrayed by my own scent.
My only way to escape from your trigger
Is to hold my breath and cross that river
Restricted in life and even by who to love
Praying for the freedom you will never have
Soon, you will stop judging me by the colour of my hand

But until then I remain a foreigner from a distant land.

Exodus 9:1

Born Again

the reality of actually surrendering it all. When I finally trust and obey.

This is where life begins when one chooses to break out of a cell, but life has been painted with walls… so you try to break out of this hell… you throw yourself at the doors that won’t open, then you fall on your knees asking for help. You might never feel like you are a perfect pearl, or that you were made to do something worth keeping, something that would bless nations. You finally break out of that shell that was suffocating your dreams and run off with it, till you reach the brink of the ship. Do you jump? Or walk the plank. There are more sharks on the other side and the pirates, your persecutors are coming so you have to think fast. That’s when a bloody nailed hand comes in, Jesus reaches out. Will you believe in your life of obstacles or would you believe in Him?  To live, we must die, to die to this world, we must be born again.  Believe in Him. Jeremiah 31:3. Believe in Him and you will walk on stormy seas.

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