Two sides reflected in the never ending whispering rings of the eternal waters.
The past can teach you many things for therein lies the answers that perhaps shape our path and carve out our journey.
This past Fall Semester, I joyfully found myself in one of three courses that I have no problem taking in the early a.m: Church History. It is also a plus when the professor teaching the course is one of the students favorite and to boot, my adviser. One would not think that History is important in the wider Church but in fact how can you stand on the shoulders of those who have been called before and not understand the struggles, the challenges and the rewards that will encompass our vocational life?
Having an understanding of where you come from, so that you know where you are going is not alien to me; as I continue to reflect during this month of African American/African Descent History and Heritage we as a nomadic people must never forget the richness of our beginnings especially with our connection to the Divine. As much as I had knowledge of history with regards to my people and where they fit in (or rather not) in this country's own beginnings, there was a difference in how Scripture ebbed and flowed with the rushing, chaotic waters of human history. Humanity at many different times, I concluded, got in God's way. Yet, there were those who truly stepped out into the darkness, motionless as night continued to vibrate into their consciousness, allowing their spirit to be open, receptive to the mysteries across the veil.
Mysticism transcended Christianity; it was a religious phenomenon of having an experience with the Creator and many of the devout names haunted my days as I poured into books on their lives: St. Teresa, Julian of Norwich and Hildergard. They were not labeled witches or of the demonic-they rambled, spoken in riddles, experienced pain, suffering and scrutiny...and were elevated, revered to be wise vessels or instruments of God.
Why then, are ancient peoples, ancient tribal practices, ancient religions shunned, ridiculed and stamped "taboo" just because they did not, or continue to not worship just as the Western World? Why then as I unravel the fabric of spirituality, no matter what beautiful, fragile string of yarn falls into my hands no matter how I join them as one-that the colors of the tapestry coexist into a river of harmony?
The picture above to the left, is Our Lady of Czestochowa, a icon of Mary and known to be a protector of the people of Poland; she is revered as Mother and forever watching, caring as a mother would.
A couple of days after the horrible earthquake in Haiti, Sunday to be exact I turned on CNN early that morning. As they reported how the dawn rose over the terrible devastation and the death-they also panned over women in the streets-having church service, dancing and praising God. In all this tragedy, the Haitian people came out and continued to give thanks to the Creator, repeating one line over and over.
I wept. How many of us could do the same in the midst of strife and pain?
The icon on the right is the same but she has a different name in the Haitian tradition. I shall not name her because the Haitian people have long been ridiculed and damned for continuing in their ancient ways. She is too, a strong symbol of the Haitian woman, fierce in her protection of the Haitian people. She too, is a Mother.
How different sometimes our languages, our religions, our cultures separate us. How soon we forget that Christ celebrated and communed with us in the splendor of Creation, and we were simply..the children of God.
Lape Bondye. God's Peace.