For this purpose, I was born… This witness do I give…
From my earliest recollections, I draw memories of introductions to the Christian faith through interaction with both my Father’s and Mother’s sides of the Family; mainly I speak of my Grandmothers and the ever-present/persistent desire to impress upon their Grandchildren those principles and the faith that has carried them and countless others through the 1900s and reaching beyond that, even further into history, reference what the Christian faith has meant to African Americans that have had to deal with the harsh reality of slavery.
I am not oblivious to the portion of the population that would argue that the faith which I hold so dear; has been more than a hindrance than an aide, yet I offer an opportunity for all to take a journey with me as I recount my experience in life, up to the present day and the things that the Lord has graciously allowed me to understand, concerning my reason for existence; which has been nothing short of a trying and humbling yet magnificent ordeal, to God’s glory; however, it is through my subjective experience that an understanding has been arrived at and there is something that the Lord conveys about understanding that is significant and applicable here, that being what we read in Proverbs 4:7 – “7 Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.” I would also like to offer, for consideration, of the importance of obtaining an understanding, as emphasized by our Lord, in his word, what we read in Proverbs 16:16 – “How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather be chosen than silver!”.
With the above stated I would like to iterate that my understandings, as afforded by God, through my life experiences, are my own, as each individual is theirs. Just what is this understanding? You may be asking? Fully realizing that I could presently present my painfully obtained and hard-earned understanding before my audience of readers at this current time; there remains a reservation to do so, mindful of that old adage – “Nothing easily obtained is worth holding on to”. I realize that I cannot, rather I should not be so cruel as to NOT lend any insight, whatsoever, into what you may be investing your time into, regarding the perusing of this body of work; so I will offer that my understanding is of great significance to the lives of Christians and Non-Christians alike and the Family members that we hold so dear and that this understanding ultimately relates to what God himself refers to as the “Great Mystery”. As we read in Mark 4:9 – “Then Jesus said, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.” (NIV). I apologize on the front end if what amounts to a clue or helping hand, in regards to the content of this read, has proven to be less than intended for anyone; as I would prefer this story of mine, that I have to tell, to lead the reader down a road of suspense that ultimately leads to a greater appreciation of the understanding that I have arrived at, based off of my experiences that are being relayed. I am sure you will find this approach to be quite fascinating, as I have; having been blessed with the opportunity to experience it first hand, to God’s glory, Amen!
As a young man, of the ripe old age of six or possibly seven, I can recall an experience that took place circa 1983 in the Bronx New York within Monroe Projects, just after my Mother separated from my Father, and my Mother, Sister, Brother and I moved into the apartment, where my Grandmother and Grandfather raised their Family only a few years prior. The scene is 01:00 AM or so, within my Aunt’s old bedroom; located at the end of a hallway that stretched 15 yards and connected to the front living room. I can remember dreaming about the local delicatessen, the best place to pick up Boars Head Ham and Genoa Salami, Family favorites; within this dream, I noticed that there appeared to be conflict in the form of unexplained chaos related to a woman wearing all black with long black hair and a cat and a chicken that appeared to be fighting with each other! The scene that was presented within the dream again, was one of utter chaos involving the patrons of the store as they jockeyed themselves in and out of harm’s way.
The above scene calmed downed eventually and subsided with the last recollected memory of the dream involving the woman in black, with the pale face and long black hair, having brought under subjection, the two apparently untamable animals; that being the cat, a historically domestic animal and the chicken, which I would place in the category of farm animal at best; having its roots, for the most part, outside of the home. I am not quite sure of the significance of these two animals as opposed to others that could have been utilized to represent whatever it is that they represented, within the dream, admittedly; may God lend his understanding and grace, as we know there is a purpose to everything that occurs under the sun; reference what we read in Ecclesiastes 3:1 – “To everything, there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:”(KJV). Upon the dream ending and me waking up in my Aunt’s room, brother lying adjacent to me, asleep and positioned between myself and the door to the bedroom, I opened my eyes and noticed that there was someone sitting on my side, at the bottom, of the queen-sized bed that both my brother and I occupied.
Just who was this in the room at 01:00 AM?? I realized within a few seconds; after clearing the figurative sleep/sand out of my eyes, that it was the woman from my dream, long black hair with matching black long dress and all! She was not alone; she had taken the liberty to invite the chicken and the cat from my dream, to accompany her as well. I sat speechless, head halfway under the covers, partly sinking deeper under them while simultaneously pulling them up as if they would provide some special force shield or barrier of protection from what my senses told me should not be happening (Isn’t this what we all do as children?). The silence was broken by the woman with an un-alarming “Hello” that failed to achieve the desired effect of putting me at ease; if intended to do so at all? I wondered at the time if she could sense how utterly frightened I was by her presence? As I replied with a “Hello” of my own, as is customary when greeted; my train of thought being that if I did not alarm her to the fact that I knew she shouldn’t be in the room, I might be able to make it out of the situation alive! The mind of a six-year-old… as if she did not know the effect that she had on me at the time, in retrospect.
I was in the process of formulating my escape plan when the next question casually was presented to me as the woman from my dream stroked the cat and chicken; that being – “Do you like my cat and chicken?” Was she referring to the cat and chicken that I witnessed fighting in my dream and the subjects of the utter chaos and disorder that was present within the delicatessen? If that was the case, then the obvious reply to a question of that nature, given the circumstances is yes; “I do enjoy the company of your cat and chicken”, is it not? I replied accordingly and had made up my mind that I would excuse myself to the bathroom, which was located midway down the hallway between my Aunt’s room and the living room on the left side of the hall. I climbed over my brother, whom I wished well, as I clearly went into survival of the fittest mode. The communication that I had to use the bathroom was not met with any suspicion on the part of the woman, or at least this was the case, to my knowledge at the time; however as I executed my escape plan, I could not help but visualize her somehow becoming cognizant of my true intentions upon me reaching the bathroom, which was not to turn in to the bathroom at all, and upon this realization, flying down the hall towards me in a display of full-blown rage!!
The aforementioned plan was not to turn in to the bathroom, rather upon reaching the bathroom, I had made up my mind that I would take off running down what remained of the hallway and into the living room, where I knew my mother was the entertaining company. “Excuse me, Ma’am, I have to use the bathroom” Okay, so far so good, as I approached the bathroom; five feet, four feet, three feet, two feet, one foot…. here goes nothing; I take off running as fast as possible, not looking back, although fully expecting to be grabbed by the woman flying down the hallway at supernatural speed; the words “MOMMM!!!!” filling the apartment, in a more than somewhat hysterical tone and manner as I burst into the living room to the surprise of my mother and her guest. Apparently, the fact that I was wearing my superman briefs, was of no concern to a young man faced with the prospect of whatever it was that I thought this woman would do to me if I did not escape. My mother consoled me as any good Mother would and the meaning behind the event remained unknown to me for many, many years to come.
(This body of work is intended to be an unapologetic apologetic, to God’s glory always in Jesus Christ, Amen!).