I just saw this piece by Malala. If you haven’t heard about her, read on.
The chaos being experienced right now is not a distant event: it is the scream of humans that will follow us in ways we can’t know yet. What can we do? I’m praying. There’s people praying that those who can make a difference will do so.
When I was a child I was skinny, and I was a child. Shy. I stammered. Had to wear glasses very young. It kept falling off my snub nose. Got teased for that and my skinny legs. All that and I couldnot speak as well as the grown ups around me. I was ‘Pin throat’, ‘drumstick’, ….
“You’re the worst in your family!” One of my school teachers told me. “Terrible at sports.” Yes, unfortunately. I was underweight, how could I lift and throw, or jump heights, my ankles felt too tiny for my height. I was best in my bare feet running in the sands at the beach along our little home by the sea. I was happiest in the guava tree; I talked to squirrels and myna. They talked back to me, I’m telling you. Their grey soft fluff and under wings, their little eyes and snacker of beak in tree branch it all spoke to me in a peace that other languages did nothing to comfort a tiny person growing up in a world too fast to understand its slower creatures.
When I was four, a dream began. A nightmare. It happened around the time our landowners son tried to molest me, an afternoon my Ma was out working. I waited, and as I did, the landowners son grabbed me by the arm. It was odd, we knew him. A tall darkish boy who didnt talk. Now he pulled me to a stool in the corner of their shadowy shop. The shutters were half downed. Then he pulled me to the floor, it was cold hard stone, too fast to scream. I called to my God. Ma had taught me to pray, would God be here in this cold terrible place? He was. The shutter shuttered back up, someone entered I cannot remember who; the sound of that was freedom.
Daylight filtered through.
The landowners son flung me from him and disappeared. I do not remember how I got to stand on a heap of red ants. The househelp found me there, she yelled me to safety back up the stairs to our home above the landowners’ place. Was it that night the night mares began? It was a thin, very brown skinned woman in white flowing clothes, she had no face. She chased me around the terrace outside our home. Peering down at me, I saw it over and over . That face with no features. Like a painting smudged brown. It was the first time something hurt me, it took my peace. It chased, stalked, ate at me. It was the first time I felt alone. Afraid. Slowly the dream faded and left a shadow in me. A shadow that grew grew grew till it blocked out the light. Strange how you can believe the grey shadow coming in through a bad dream, is the light. Strange how we can believe lies that we are imperfect because we are not physically strong, strange how we can believe we are disabled because someone did a bad thing to us. Strange how we disbelieve the gifts we are given by God, just because someone somewhere made us numb.
Now later I met Christ at the Cross and He told me about murderers who didn’t know what they were doing, but what does a child know about bullies? I never told my Ma about the landowners son; never told her about an uncle who later tried that same vicious thing again. Ok they didn’t succeed, but why the silence?
I do not know.
But this I do know. It is the shut up – ness of a terrible event, that fosters nightmares. It fosters a lack of trust in oneself. It rears self hate. How I do not know.
I was once a child and spoke as a child. Now I am grown I do not speak as a child in the dark shuttered place by a red anthill, numbed by life. I speak as a grown woman, as a mother with girls of her own. I never spoke about that shuttered time, now as I do,
The nightmare recedes. The thin brown woman in white linen, her featureless brown face? She recedes. What was she?
I do not know. But yesterday I heard a girl talk about a Promise from the sacred lips of Yahweh. ” ...the years the locusts’ve eaten I will restore to you…”
A locust is an evil grasshopper I replied to the girl. Yes it takes our harvest. Everything that was ours rightfully. A metaphor of a thief , the locust & it came in a swarm! A whole thousand upon thousand of them, an army. years of badness. Of bad bad sad words said over and over. “You there, shush! Sit! You are reject. You are odd. No dont come here. Go to your corner. Shush. Dont talk. Dont sing. Go in the back row. You lil ugly thing.”
The locusts tried eat me up,
Bad dreams stole my nights now and then. Shadows grew their harvest tall. They spread their soft wings around my news. The news that crept in 24x 7. Bad news . Bad news. We believe it all.
Then I heard the good news of a Christ who taught me to forgive the landowners boy who didn’t know what he was doing. The good news that showed me how to love and not mind the bad all the time. I was a collector of sad events world wide, the good news of Christ was that, He knew. He knew about all my shadow. Nothing was hidden from Him. He was there too.
I had that good news now in me…. a Light that burned the dark away. Bit by bit or burned the dark away. Flame by flame it burned the dark away
Flame by flame it burned the chatter of my locusts stealing my joy. Christ was in every dark valley I’d ever tread. He, in every page every line every chapter every episode of my life. Times I messed, times I offended His name, times I ran from Him and His in the dark. Times the locusts killed me. Then I buried me. All my skinny self and snub nose and stammer. And times I felt not good enough. Times in the red ant hill, times numb with the loneliness only thieves of time give. Thieves of time, of smiles, of joy, of the fountain of life. Like locusts they arrive, not just ones and toes but thousands on thousands of lies with big jaws they chew chew cud chew on our weakness.
But Christ told me that….His power was made perfect in my weakness. My littleness. The littler, the weaker I was the more his power showed up in me. Like cracks in a wall, with light showing through. He didnt take advantage of my vulnerability. He laid Himself down for it.
Opposite of that locust, He, Christ.
The Good news. My defender. Healer. Physician. Rock. Strong Tower. Saviour. Master. Protector. My Light. Yours. Your defender. Your protector. Your shut-er up of the locusts eating up your mind. Eating up your time. Your life.
Their chatter chatter chatter it goes on and on in Mindfields we’ve buried with the ashes of time. You burnt out just trying to rise. Burnt out just trying to wake up refreshed from nights you did not sleep trying to sleep. But hey no.more..you hear me. No more.
Locusts… no more. In the name of Jesus, go get out of my life. I …am with the Christ.
I’m excited, like in moments before you unwrap a gift. It is easier now to remember the good things not the bad. Hope is poised like buds waiting, tiny perked blossom. Promise cards/calendars read,”From this day I will bless you...” it started with Thanksgiving month. Every day feels closer to dawn, I want to lean back a bit, and rest on blessed assurance.
I do think it’s good to be like that, like a child with no bitterness attached to the way we accept life all over again; accept our own capacity to be good, yeah that – forgive ourselves too, in the eyes of God alone who is perfect.
If you’re thinking I’m sitting in a cleopatra tub of milk floating with rose petals, no I’m not. I’ve at least 2 good reasons to give someone a tongue lashing…I have my own personal hate list that God keeps (yes God, dyou mind:) …keeps reminding me to shred.
But as these last days of 2019 narrow down over the weekend and we plan a candle lit midnight with a few friends, I’m truly looking forward to shredding to ash some emotions I’ve picked up along the way not on the 31st, but right now. Looking forward to stepping into new ness, not merely on the eve of 2020 but deep in the crevices of my ME where an Unshakable Kingdom exists. We choose life, we choose death, we choose in-between states of grey:
No alarm bell, no burst of glory. It tiptoed in ‘neath my gate. It wouldn’t hold my hand, It couldn’t. I was cold cold cold, every leaf in my garden shrivelled, ashed; Ivy & dust layered the ground and walls of my address.
When Healing came It bled into me. It Crossed boundaries I had built. It broke Itself like Bread over my hunger and poured Itself out like Water over my drought. New metaphors crowd my space. This had been desert with no oasis. Now, this Healing-
growing me into things I do not want to recognize:
a Garden of Shadows where a Lone One prays. Prays as if for me. What’s this. He breaks on two planks where He hangs, I hate this like a personal wound. I’m screaming words with no decibel: He’s saying it for me. Two words, three- I will never forget. “IT IS FINISHED.” He said, smiling stars in His eyes as if we were in Paradise being made over again.
wait. He takes my buried memoirs of habits of pain.
But I can’t have them back, He says. Healing takes it all away. I’m blinded by an emotion with no name, Its a Light falling careful in my blind eyes. It grabs my poison ivy with new strong Vine: It inhales me, slamming my dying dead inside, don’t ask how. I have no Theory, no Words wise or pretty. All I know, when Healing came to me I was dead blind, now I see:
I see Scars, Its Body broken. Healing has scars, you get this? I don’t and maybe never will, not till we go Face to Face past that proverbial Glass darkly in the way. Now I peer through Reason, Logic, Theories, Rule. Oneday when we have crossed our rules, we will see the host of things that see us now. Oneday we will break through gravity bound toes: on that day we will see what we question these days. Oh when Healing came It broke Its news gentle to me. It knew I’d be suspicious,afraid,disbelieving…
When Healing walked into me, It spoke things I believed I couldn’t know…..
that gain came in via loss, true I knew, but what else could a human fight for? We needed this. This War for Survival was our one socially acceptable behaviour; it united man and woman and child and nations and bazaars and gangsters and priests, it fed global talks and need. If I didn’t do Survival what tell aunty Maya I was doing ? Or Pastor Sahil. Or neighbour Bishhy. Or Karu Harben my brilliant corporate cousin. What tell Didi Grey my mentor..or art collaborators… that I didn’t care anymore how I’m being received;
who could I be, what of my ‘me‘?
When Healing came It talked into me – sacred syllables of the Father Son and Holy spirit, groans not uttered by the carnal 5 senses: we are heart and mind and spirit soul, beyond flesh and sensor. I had territory within that must heal first*, my Healer said, it began in the acres acres acres (deep in my core where we live or die, there we heal, there we host our virus, our sickle cells, our warrants of life, our predictions of peace. If we die there, how could we survive in the peripheries?) ..
Healing took me to an impossibly narrow dizzy path. When I began to heal- one tiny step at a time, It unleashed me to run my feet like a deer’s in cliff edge sheer mountain. Fear rose bitter gall in my throat and I killed it like a beast is killed with bare hands: something I’d tried an entire lifetime, now it happened with one rapid wish;
here was this desire to thank every mean thing that had ever come my way, hey yes those nasties I’d crumpled over? Them. They were my helpmate, they now proved my brick and mortar needed to build foundation of this impossible route. “Forgive. Go on higher,” The Healer pled with eyes of deathless Love, and the Light of that gaze scorched my last defense, over and over like with birth pangs. How could I have known this detail if I hadn’t needed healing ?
Why haven’t You been here earlier- how much went in wasteland of my nothing. My Healer replied as if I had spoken, He said,”You are more than all this. In these deserts more Gardens could grow, if you go. “
Say what, why? There’s more folk like me, why would I care, but now I did.
When Healing came to me It rained and Its Tear whetted my thirst for Its fact. I used to think with Healing I would be strong again to return to old strengths, I’d be a pillar of fortune, a wheel of Change. Oh look- see how nice healing is, but that is not Its way. It told me things I couldn’t know.
When Healing began I leaned my core on Its Strength. No more great burden of goodness to bear! I was still a torn leaf garden but with new shoot- as if I had wing, the Healer said,”Never mind your Self. Rise..”
When Healing came It did not give me wings, that’d have scared us all.
It is much more than we show and tell, it’s in the way grass grows o’er and o’er and wise men die and babies born will oneday grow to know more than you or I confess. When Healing can, It will come to you and the Light you see will be outside of our incapacities, then perhaps you too will say to another, “…how else could I have known…?*”
Inspired by our son(& little brother Joh) as he heals.