Stay at Home or Go Home

A lot is going on even though most of the world is on lockdown due to the Coronavirus. This COVID-19 pandemic has required that we face our apparent mortality.

Eternity, they say, is in our hearts. We are both conscious and subconscious; agents and witnesses of a sliver of this era. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have dreams, time-travel in our minds, and use words like forever & infinity. If our weight remains the same before and after death, what part of us left the “building”? And where did it go? Our essence and spirit will never die. If one has faith in what is beyond, death just becomes the portal.

So while the world is being assailed by this Coronavirus, and there’s the debate about if we should save lives or the economy; and if we should stay home or go home (die), here are reasons why I’m not ready to completely die:

  • I am not a dove (Thanks, Itumi Maduagwu for your Noah’s ark analogy)
  • I am human—a speaking spirit, bodily-bound to the earth.
  • My essence/spirit needs this body prepared for me, and without my Earth suit, I’m donezo, expelled, transported.

Except you are a dove or a raven, be careful out there. I’m staying at home because I’m not ready to vacate the Earth permanently. I’m not scared of the unknown; I’ve got faith. I’m scared of dying before my assignment here is done. If I knew my end date, I would be writing about going home. 💫

Stay at home. Stay alive.

Image Credit: Krzysztof Sujkowski. Pixabay

In the Middle

In the Middle

Do you suppose there is a hush in heaven with all the chaos here below? We are some distance from each other and the end. We are somewhere in the middle, and hope is a faithful companion for the miles ahead. We can each decide how to view this season – are we in the middle of a crisis or of an inevitable miracle? Per Emily Dickinson, “Hope is a thing with feathers that perches in the soul…” If we stop reeling, pause and listen, the birds are still chirping, our hearts are still beating, and the sun did rise again today.

We’ve been distracted for way too long, and now whether six feet below or apart, we are acutely aware of each other. I have reached out to friends I haven’t called in years. I have been surprised by a caring text from someone I blocked. How did I become that person floating by, head in my smart-phone, oblivious as a cloud? Now I wonder as I scroll through my contact list and pause at each name, was I a storm and can I make things right, or was I a peaceful shade and can I be more?

Stay socially-distanced but connected.

At our first virtual Sunday service at TCOTW, our Pastor Tim Clark, said, “Fear is a bigger virus than COVID-19.” Those words fortified me against the dread that could infect and drag me into the global paranoia about the Coronavirus. So, I confess, I’ve boldly hosted a couple of Friday-night-Afrocentric jam sessions in my house complete with almond enjoy and kamikaze cocktails, tequila shots, and endless small chops for few fully-vetted friends. (Don’t get ugly and judge. And yes, I adhered to the guidelines on gatherings) 

Still, I was seeking a word to keep me hopeful. Then the lovely Kristina from my Sidekick Team shared Joel Osteen’s “In the Middle of Miracle” message. I’ve listened to it on repeat and just had to pass it on. The Israelites experienced God’s unusual miracle as they walked through the middle of the Red Sea and escaped a formidable enemy. Even if you are not Christian, if you are alive and breathing today, listen, and be reminded that while we are in the middle of this challenging season, we are also in the middle of a miracle. 

Become an answer to prayer as a good neighbor to everyone and choose kindness. A Native American* proverb says, “No tree has branches so foolish as to fight among themselves.”  We will be marked by how we choose to engage humanity (and maybe literally, going by the incessant talk of mandatory vaccines and chipping) There’s work to do, love to share, promises to keep, and many miles still ahead. Remain thankful to our heroes in scrubs, camouflage, trucks, trains, hosting virtual classes, at check-out counters, advocates for inclusion and the forgotten, first-responders, caregivers, anyone spreading joy, and leading the way. This situation has humbled us, reminded everyone what matters, and turned us towards the invisible God to help battle this unseen enemy.

Guard your mind against fear, practice stillness. Pray. The human body is God’s organic technology, designed to heal when afflicted. All things still work together for our good. Seek the supernatural grace of God in these changing times and stay connected to Source. We are in the middle of the season’s bestselling narrative titled “Coronavirus,” but seasons come and go. Our collective human story is not over, and the angelic chorus has not abated for a nanosecond. Sometimes, miracles happen along the way when we reject despair and instead share hope through music, poems, laughter, resources, lessons, home-cooked meals, or acts of kindness.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.                                                                                                          Robert Frost, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” (1923)

We are in the middle of an unfolding miracle, a reset, and a great awakening. I pray that we will come through victorious, not broken, or empty-handed. As we journey to the other side, we will be forever changed for the better. 

Ama.

 

References & Notes:

*Some Native Americans self-identify as “Indians” or “American Indians.”

Image Credits: Pixabay

The Poems of Emily Dickinson Edited by R. W. Franklin (Harvard University Press, 1999)

Robert Frost: Collected Poems, Prose, & Plays (Library of America, 1995)

The Makeover – A Breakup Ritual

 

The Makeover – A Breakup Ritual

by Ama Danesi

 

Does my face hiss like a repellent, will another walk away?
One fizzled without reason, another from pity or naiveté
described the shroud, darkness over his loins and my face.
Shunted, his quiver melted, the promise puddled.
His last embrace, like a scorpion’s segmented tail, hurtful.

Take me to Asiya, teach me about a lover’s face,
douse me in herbal steam & incant loudly to chase
the ugly away & buff the crust of hurt from
the charred sun-burn on my heart,
the etched path of tears to my dimples.

Take me to Asiya, behind faded blue walls,
in white garments, and rust-colored beads,
from eyes sunken, reveal what deviance ails us.
Healer, have I been so wicked in this life
that my face darkens like that of a bear?
Daughter, the unwise chase the sly sun moving east.
Seeking a slate unburdened by history and familiar hurt.
They cannot see you – easier to walk away and watch as
you blaze beyond comprehension among the stars.

 

 

Image Credit: Pixabay

Qui Vive

Already, this year has been exceptionally trying, but I have chosen to serve and to give out what I need most – an encouraging word. My hope for you all today is that you do not become weary from expecting the good. I am so ready for the harvest that comes after the waiting…

Qui Vive by Ama Danesi

In whatever state we find ourselves

God is working out the opposite.

When we fall, He lifts us up.

When we are bound, He frees our souls.

In the face of certain defeat, He is working

out a victory that cannot be denied.

In our darkest nights and earnest watching – qui vive.

His love roars loud and clear above the taunting waves.

He calms our heartbeat to the rhythm of His breath.

He sent us a helpless baby as Savior of the world.

Once an alien in Egypt but rich in gold, silver, and myrrh.

The pain and suffering that He allows, ushers in

destiny and purpose. He plants in untilled soil, that the

harvest may be wild and unrestrained reaching to

the ends of the earth and places marked “x.”

In the face of sorrow, our hope & joy is His name –

Emmanuel, God with us.

 

Alert & hopeful,

AD.

Historical Fun Fact:

Even motor boats have a purpose and are remembered for their service. The USS Qui Vive (SP – 1004) was part of the United States Naval Fighting fleet from 1917 – 1919. She served as a patrol vessel then as a hospital boat in the 5th Naval District during World War 1. Originally built by the Hutchinson Brothers (Alexandria, NY) for Houston Barnard (Rochester, NY) she was chartered by the Navy until she was decommissioned and returned at the end of her naval career. Her current state is unknown but her work and service endure.
(Bio and image credit: NavSource.org /Wikipedia/Pixabay)

Racial Justice Served Cold in a Test-tube

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Image Credit: Pixabay

The myth of race and idea of difference as an inferior ethnic identity lies at the root of the conflicting cultural landscape dynamics at Santa Clara’s Pueblo in the 1990s, my former colonial Nigeria, and the recent Charlottesville’s alt-right nationalists’ rally. Every historical and current account of genocide, ethnic cleansing, and racial discrimination stems from negative views about this myth called “race” and the manipulation of our ethnic variables by power groups for their benefit. 

I was crestfallen at the poisonous social ideology displayed on banners, and racist chants at the recent Unite the Right rally on August 12, 2017, by white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia. They spelled out their nationalist agenda – Whites are in; but Jews, Blacks, Mexicans, and Gays are out. Nationalism is always a contested space, identifying who belongs and who is excluded. Can I say that I was NOT surprised when President Trump condemned “…Violence on many/both sides…” He applied a false equivalency and failed to distinguish between activist groups of marginalized citizens like ‘Black Lives Matter’ who strive for racial equality from the privileged white nationalists who seek to mainstream or normalize their ideologies of exclusion and racial supremacy.

Other than the Native Americans, being an “American” is NOT a tribal identity but a nationalist and highly contested identity about who qualifies as one, and so this “made-up” nation tries to regulate who benefits from its cultural capital. The answer to bigots and supercilious agitators called Neo-Nazis is  – man-up, spit into a test-tube, and find your tribe – then they can talk about race and ethnicity.  Many will be surprised, and I bet crestfallen, to realize that their “pure” breed is another myth. Thanks to the paleoanthropologists and sociologists at the National Geo; we have this historical fact – That every living person shares a common direct maternal ancestor known as mitochondria Eve. She lived in Africa around the time of the Idaltu Skull* and had enough daughters to pass down her genetic signature through the generations. As they say, “Our mothers were her daughters.”

How many more mothers have to grieve before everyone realizes, that our biological differences are affected by natural selection, environmental survival, and genes that determine hair texture, skin color, and blood group? We bleed and pee the same. If all anyone has, is this claim to supremacy via the color of their skin, that person needs to dig deeper, get brave, and face the truth about their mitochondria. We are more complicated than our physiology and God has a great sense of humor – He made us all brothers and sisters. Anyone who seeks division is misguided and ignorant of the purpose of our collective humanity. Furthermore, the Confederacy lost the American Civil war in 1865, so any monument honoring the emblems of this nations’ torturous past, especially those on dismantled slave auction blocks should be taken down. 

Many were injured and hurt not just the nineteen hospitalized but every decent and unprejudiced human being. Sadly, we also lost three lives on August 12th – Susan Bro, the late Heather Heyer’s mother, at her daughter’s memorial service quoted her daughter, saying, “If you are not outraged, you are not paying attention.” The Alt-right is wrong. Racial discrimination is abhorrent. Thank God for our DNA that proves this. 

 

Notes:

  • Homo sapiens idaltu, also called Herto Man, is the name given to some hominin fossils found in 1997 in Herto Bouri, Ethiopia. They date to around 160,000 years ago. (Wikipedia)
  • My sincere condolences to the families and friends of Heather Heyer, Berke M.M. Bates, and H. Jay Cullen, as the nation mourns the untimely deaths of your loved ones. 
  • Interesting Article on White Nationalists reckoning with the results of their DNA tests. http://www.businessinsider.com/white-nationalists-genetic-ancestry-tests-dont-like-results-2017-8 ( A strange moment of triumph against racism)