Faithwalk: Relationships


Check out my new car,” she said.
I got in.
“Nice, new.”
“It’s not a luxury car, but it runs.” My friend gave me a tour of her new car.
I had been praying that she would get a new car. We’re friends, and I hear her silent laments. A new car was one of them. Ironically, two days earlier, I was driving and asked the Lord when he was going to bless my friend with a new car. So, I was just as elated as she was.
“Seems luxurious to me. Hybrid, sunroof, satellite radio, and it’s spacious.” I checked out the cup holders and varying compartments. “I shouldn’t park next to you, though.”
She laughed. “Your turn next.”
This is why I love my friend; she’s an encourager. Every woman needs a girlfriend that cheers her on. You know, like Gail to Oprah. My friend believes I can earn a six-figure salary working in New York City. She’s got big dreams for me.
Anyway, I wasn’t really in the market for a new car. My car, although it has scars and wounds, is paid in full. I can’t imagine a car payment.
My car, a white Santa Fe Hyundai 2002, and I have been through a few battles. After knocking a mailbox off its hinges, I learned to slow down. After snagging the front driver’s side on a steel pole in an underground garage, I learned not to turn my wheel to soon. After we got our first garage, I learned to look out the side view mirror. Poor baby has scratches, scratches, and scratches.
One day, my cousin visited. He said, “Ang, who messed up your car?” I looked at him and pointed at me.
Yet, I love my car, despite the scars and wounds it’s faithful through torrents of rain, snowy hills, dark nights, and long trips. And I’ve been faithful: oil changes, new tires, car washes-inside and out- new battery, and new exhaust.
Then, one day last week, my car puttered, puttered to a halt–all the lights on the dashboard blacked out. Now, I should have taken notice when two days prior the battery and the check engine light came on.
The next day, my car went to the hospital for a new alternator, and I went to Enterprise for a rental. I reserved a compact car, but left the lot in a Camaro—a free upgrade. All I can say is wow! Sweet ride. And I rode for two days like I belonged in that sports car.
My mom said, “Looks like you need a second job.”
I said, “I know, I want one.”
Upon the return of the rental and the pick up of my faithful-no payment car, I thought: it’s time to rethink this relationship and dream big for me.

Faithwalk: When our voices connect

Radical day on campus, at the fitness club, in the grocer stores.


The date was penned on my calendar: Poetry Reading, April 17, 1 p.m. I had nothing. I had known about this event since January. Well, I had a poem that I read two years earlier, however I did not want to repeat. One poem was a yes: the reading would take place in an art gallery exhibiting photography of New York City. Therefore, readers were encouraged to read a poem connected to New York City. Yet, I felt compelled to complete a new piece that I had been agonizing over for a year. Committing to this reading would force me to shape this idea.

As time grew closer, no shape came to this idea-Black English-and what I truly wanted to say about it. In my head were voices. One voice said: Black English is political; it separates. The other said: Girl, it’s our voice, it connects us to each other. My dilemma when I first noticed this terminology in a call to submit proposal papers: Is there White English? Did I miss the lesson on Black English during my 18 years of schooling? Although I had researched and read books, I was not connected to this term until Trayvon Martin shooting.

A few weeks after the shooting, I called a friend who was devastated. He said:”Why do they have to keep killing us? I’m tired of watching the bloodshed. You can’t imagine how many of my friends have taken a bullet by a white man just because.”
I prayed with him. But those prayers fell on deaf ears. He was angry. I could feel his anger. He is a black man, and he has a son. If he were my significant other, everyday that he walked out the door I would wondered is he coming home. My heart ached not only for him, but for the black race.

Ironically, my lamentation and rage for the black race resurrected after reading J. California Cooper’s novel The Wake in the Wind, then I met original Freedom Riders during Black History Month, and the icing on the cake was a history professor saying slavery would have eventually been dissolved. Well, that’s another post. Really. After the emancipation, it took 100 years for Civil Rights, and those rights are only 40 years young.

Hence, a prose poem spilled forth, after much prayer and deliberation.The first political statement I have made with my work. On April 17, I read this unfinished poem “Untitled” to a audience of 30 in which there sat one black man, and one black woman. The following Thursday night, I repeated the poem to a intergenerational audience of 50, ten African Americans in the mix. The following day, this poem was used in a writing workshop for 60 high school students.

At the end of each reading our voices were connected. Smiles, nods, imitations of this poem, and discussion about the black race ensued.

[This is our language]
This is our language.
It came to pass
when they tried to
dislocate, emancipate,
reconstruct, re-slave us
with discrimination laws and employment policies.

Separate. Still not equal.
Freedom. No civil rights.
Our people: strange fruits hanging on southern trees–
Struggled to say, “I Sing too America”
Protested in marches
Boycotted the south
Screaming: “I’m Black and I’m Proud”
Capturing our power through our dialect.

Taint yall know
He my brotha
Here I is my sista
Hey man, what’s happenin’?
Well, Mr. Jones How do you do?
We are somebodys.

Cuz our language is our power:
Cultural, political, rhetorical
Phoneme, sentence, and story.

We turned bad to good
Rose from colored to Negro
from Black to African American
With a rally cry for unity:
“I’m Black and I’m Proud”

Faithwalk: Is it time to move?

“You’re moving again,” he said. “You just moved in.”
“Well, a house is like a boyfriend,” she said.
“How so?” he asked.
“In the beginning it’s an ideal fit. I love the nuances, the cozy spots, the cool summer days, and warm winter nights. Then a few months, even a few years go by, and breakdown begins: flooding, ants, unmanageable lawn care, high heating bills, cold lonely nights.
“Now I still love the house, and I could put forth effort to fix it, deal with the problems, get expert help with the situations. However, if there is a way out before owning the house, (marrying the man), investing more time with the house (the man) that means run like the wind, sail on, flee as soon as possible.”
“Are you trying to tell me something?” he asked.
She smiled.

Sometimes the simple things show us the strength of our faith.

Faithwalk@angchronicles

The Faithwalk has commenced. What’s a Faithwalk? A walk that shows one’s faith. Particularly, my walk and hopefully readers will share their walk,too. This walk will take us through the valley, across hills, and atop mountains. There will be some winding roads on the journey; I’m sure.

Why did I start Faithwalk? Well, my faith as God’s child is consistently challenged as a writer, a mother, a daughter, a friend, an ex-wife, and as a follower of Christ. The rule for writers is to have a platform with followers: a blog, Facebook,Twitter, website, Linked in– you get the idea. And I thought:no way I can achieve this. If I need a platform with followers, my writing stint is downhill. When my marriage was over–physically, emotionally and spiritually, I thought:I’m on my own, it’s just me. There’s no way I’m entering the dating scene. And then, as I continue to trust this God who says He will never leave nor forsake me, my eldest daughter decides my place is not her home. Ouch, ouch ouch. You don’t wanna know what I thought. My faith continued on a tightrope in the valley.

Simultaneously, during my private devotion, or when talking with others, God spoke: Nothing is impossible for God; Don’t be afraid to fail; Don’t let past failures keep you from future successes; God wants to give you new dreams that are bigger than anything that has ever happened to you in the past.

So, I invite you on this Faithwalk, which my mother says may not interest others but could be healing for me. First, I should no better than to share work with my mother. Then again, if it’s a healing place for me, then I pray it’s a healing place for you. I’m really not in much pain, just the ordinary storms of life that whip and whirl me around, yet does not steal my joy or my peace. I plan to share FaithWalk@angchronicles through excerpts from my novel and play, poetry monologues, journaling pages, and essays. Please post comments, or if you’d like guest blog a post.

Well here goes…

What to do in crisis mode? Pray. Fast. Ask. Praise.

Jehoshaphat is a king. He hears that an army larger than his will attack his country. However, he does not panic. He does not have sleepless nights. Instead, King Jehoshaphat immediately turns to the Lord with a time of fasting and praying. And every town in Judah responds. When the king prayers he reminds the Lord of his promise to Israel. Next, he asks God for strategy,”For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.”
 
And he waits for God to answer. Waiting is the hardest part. However, waiting is the worship phase, the praise, the faith that God has already answered. The king knows. He does not panic, he does not pace the floor.
 
During the wait phase, a prophet comes and says, “Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the LORD says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s'” (2 Chron 20:15-16).
 
God supernaturally wipes out their enemies that day. They didn’t even have to fight. God caused the enemy to fight themselves. However, the one thing they did do that began the ambush was when they began to praise God on the battlefield. “As they began to sing and praise, the LORD set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated” (2 Chron 20:22-23).
 
So, when bad news comes and crisis mode hits respond as Jehoshaphat: pray, fast, ask for God’s strategy, and praise.