Friday, September 30, 2016
I cried with her; I cried for her; then I cried for my grandchildren, for they are nearer her age and too often subjected to pain such as hers. I’m referring to Zianna Oliphant, a young girl from Charlotte, NC, who gave an emotional testimony to the Charlotte City Council, after the shooting death of Keith Lamont Scott. This testimony was broadcast on live television by ABC World News Tonight with David Muir; many of you may have watched it also.
What poor Zianna Oliphant was sharing, I am describing today as S.A.D.: SELFISH ADULT DISCRIMINATION! Pure and simple! That is all that it is. What other motivation would move an officer of the law, who is slated to “serve and protect” the community, to foolishly and violently break the selfsame law that he is sworn to uphold? It is nothing more than “Selfishness”, which has been described by one of my favorite Christian writers, as the “basis of all sin”.
Think about anytime you have done anything wrong, and you knew that it was wrong, and then examine your motivation for having done it; if you are honest, you will have to admit that it was based on selfishness.
Next, think about this; it is not youngsters or even teenagers, who are repeatedly killing the Black men in America. Black men who are fathers – real fathers; the kind who take financial responsibility for their children; who play with them; who pray for them; who seek to teach them the things that society deems so important to teach young children; these make up the bulk of the Black men being shot by police. They are being killed by “Adults”, male and female adult police personnel. These Black men’s children are being left fatherless and God does not like that! God says, “And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness …against those that oppress … the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the Lord of hosts.” Malachi 3:5
And what could be a greater “oppression” of fatherless children than to cause those children to think that they are “less” than others; that they don’t “deserve” to have a two-parent home; that they are expected to live a life of depravity and denial; that it is okay if they have to cry and feel hurt, pain, shame and guilt, because for “no apparent reason” their daddy is dead; snatched away in a moment and they must walk behind a casket, while the children of the assailant live freely and happily. That is indeed oppression and maltreatment!
This leaves me with discrimination. Please, please, please dear reader; DO NOT MISUNDERSTAND WHAT I AM ABOUT TO SAY! How long must African Americans suffer from the effects of slavery? What is it about “White Privilege” that makes too many – not all – White Americans feel as though Blacks are not yet equal with them; nor do they deserve to be treated as such? We all bleed the same way; we all, similarly, feel the pain of loss; we all love with the same compassion for our loved ones; we all dress ourselves the same way; we all have two arms, two hands, two legs, two feet, two ears, two eyes, dual nostrils, etc., many of the same Whites who would willingly discriminate against us, desire to tan themselves, so that they might be closer to our skin tone; they love and even steal our music, art and ideas; so why not just level the playing field and LET US ALL JUST GET ALONG? Is that asking too much? It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, to see the kind of pain experienced by such a young child, as Zianna Oliphant constantly repeated, throughout our communities. Nor is it by any means Fair, or Just!
This is one life lesson that I have hated to learn, and that is this: until the sinful heart of man yields itself to God, life will be overrun with S.A.D. – Selfish Adult Discrimination, of all ethnicities. I pray that somehow, by reading today’s blog, your heart will be softened, and that you will give greater thought to what kinds of prejudice and selfishness you might be harboring, then ask God to help you to LET IT GO! He promises that He will – I John 1:9.
Wednesday, September 28, 2016
A couple of weeks ago, one of my daughters was soliciting her siblings and me for Southwest Airline points, so that she could take a trip to Texas. It was going to be a really fun get-a-way for her and her husband. All of the other expenses had been covered. The only thing needed was airfare. Now what makes this a little ironic, is that I live in Oklahoma, about a three hour drive away from where she planned to be, but there was no way that my husband and I were going to drive down there and interrupt her get-a-way. Not to mention, we hate road trips, when we have to drive.
As I gave up our points, I teasingly said something on this order: “Here I am giving you my flight points, for you to go and visit someone else, in a state so close to me, and I’ll not get the chance to see you guys. That’s a drag!”
She in turn, laughing replied, “I’m sorry but you’re right; you won’t be seeing me on this trip. We’re flying in and turning around two days later and flying out. Someone else will be chauffeuring us around.”
I was terribly disappointed that she would be so near, and yet so far from my glance. But I knew that what she said was correct, therefore, I was reluctantly content to settle for the lovely pictures that she always sends us, whenever she travels; and she travels a lot.
The weeks quickly passed by; she texted her siblings and me, in a group text when they boarded the flight out and again, when she arrived. She sent us a funny picture of her in a Chicago Bear mascot suit and again of her and her husband at the football game. She seemed to be having fun with her friends and I was happy for her. However, I knew that I would not see her in person, nor would I know the joy of her embrace, while being in the neighboring state.
Therefore, you can only imagine the surprise when I received the following texts; approximately four minutes apart, the day before she was to head back home. I mistakenly thought that it was another of her group texts, but it was not. It was to me only.
“Hey lady, how are you doing today? If we could come to see you tonight could you take us to the airport tomorrow? Oh and can we come tonight?”
"Surely, she has mistakenly texted me." I thought.
Now when it came in, I didn’t immediately see it. When the second text arrived, I had managed to get to my phone so that I could read it. At first glance, it appeared to have been a group text to her siblings and me, which we send out to each other almost daily. Therefore, I quickly glanced at the first text and my eyes then rested upon the second one.
“Humm”, I thought. “She’s obviously gotten us mixed up with someone else that she is there visiting. She couldn’t be talking to me. How was I supposed to take her to the airport in Texas?” Then with the “Never mind”, I sighed and assumed that she had come to the same realization as I, that she had obviously texted the wrong person. For I had no hopes of seeing her at all; how could I take this text seriously?
I shared the texts with John and the two of us made a joke out of our driving to Texas to take her to the airport. Then we dismissed the idea altogether.
The next day, I received two more texts from her, “Just landed”; then “Home safely, PTL”
I responded with a “Hallelujah!”
A few hours later, I get a telephone call from her. I get excited because I know that she’s going to tell me all about how great her trip was. However, it was not that at all. She was calling to let me know how disappointed she had been that I had not answered her texts. A friend, who had gathered with them, had offered to drive her and her husband to see me. He only lived about 90 miles from my town. However, because I had not taken her texts seriously, because I had NO HOPE of seeing her, she did not accept the ride in a timely manner, she spent the night in Texas and just went home the next day.
I was devastated when she told me. I wanted to scream and cry and curse myself, for having resigned myself to believing that seeing her during this trip was not a possibility; I had no HOPE that I might be able to do so. UGH!
Therefore, my life lesson is this. Never give up on God’s ability to make things happen. I’ve decided to memorize the following Scriptures, as a result of this incident.
The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy. Psalm 147:11 KJV
Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted within me? Hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God. Psalm 43:5 KJV
Behold, the eye of the LORD is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy; Psalms 33:18
Therefore, never give up hope in God, people. I looked at the situation strictly from a human perspective, not from a God perspective and I was greatly, greatly disappointed in myself. When you give up HOPE, period, you could miss out on something wonderful. I know that I did. Boo-hoo!
More: Lessons About God
Monday, September 26, 2016
If you have been following my blog, you probably remember the story listed as, “One Day at a Time”. It appeared on September 14th. In that story, I talked about how I had begun a new energy-increasing showering ritual, whereby I would take a shower in water, as hot as I could possibly bear it; then I would rinse off in water, as cold as I could bear. Following that, I would tap myself in the chest 30 times, with a loose fist and briskly dry off. If you haven’t read that blog, you might want to do so; it will better help you appreciate this one.
By the time of this writing, I believe that I’m into perhaps the third month of this ritual. When I first started it, I was showering in slightly warmer water than I usually did. Then as the days and weeks increased, I gradually made the water hotter, and still hotter, until I began moving quickly beneath the pulsating steam of the hot water. In the process of this experiment, I experienced another very interesting life lesson.
After having increased the heat of the water to a nearly unbearable temperature, I began looking forward to the cold water. After having stood beneath that hot water so long, the joy of showering began to fade, and my shower time began to decrease considerably; (my husband has been happy for this, because I’m using less water, hence a cheaper water bill, lol); but back to the point.
Heretofore, I dreaded the idea of having the cold water wash over me, at the end of my shower. Now I am beginning to look forward to the relief that the cold water brings to my smoldering skin. Truly a transformation has taken place. What I used to dread (the cold water) has now become a sense of solace to me. Instead of dancing beneath the cold hard pellets of chilling water, I am now dancing beneath the near scalding hot water that I thought was more appealing. This experience proves to me that if you do anything long enough, you will get used to it.
In Romans 12:2 , Paul admonishes Christians NOT to be “conformed” to the things of this world, but rather to be “transformed”…, which is an entirely different meaning. When you are conformed, you become like whatever is around you and you begin to act like whatever is the most influential thing in your environment. When you are transformed, you become a completely different person, from what you were.
Paul also tells us that by beholding the glory of the Lord, we too, can be transformed or changed into His likeness II Corinthians 3:18 . That is pretty awesome to me.
God is looking for total transformations in our lives; He doesn’t want us to settle for the mundane conformations, which can sometimes be so unbecoming or ungodly. He only wants the best for us. I’m learning that lesson more fully as I have become a transformed creature in my showering habits. Hallelujah! Now I’m on to the next level of transformation. I encourage you to take the challenge of doing the same.