Earlier this week I watched the video of Kat.Stacks getting the ish smacked out of her. And my mouth was agape. I don’t know much about her, but I know enough that she has apparently made what some might consider some poor choices and is becoming persona non grata in the hip hop world. We can debate all day long her level of foulness, but I do hope that we can all agree that it’s never ok for two grown ass men to run up on a woman and start slapping her in the face. That is not ok. Ever. And I wonder if women know that. If men know that. If these babies know that. If they watched it and laughed. If they will mimic the behavior. If they will ever learn that it’s never ok.
And then I read this article yesterday about a 7 year old girl contracting gonorrhea from her mother’s “boyfriend.” And it broke my heart. And made me sad. Sure she is not the only little girl whose innocence is taken away on a daily basis. Who has no voice. No power. No choice. But I wonder what will her future look like? What if 20 years from now she is the next generation’s Kat.Stacks? And everyone is all, “look at that ‘ho.” Not realizing what she came from. Is this to say every promiscuous woman has been molested? No, of course not. Does every promiscuous woman have low self esteem? Hmmm… I don’t know. That’s all relative and subjective, I suppose.
What I do think, is that what we are seeing is a lot of pain in these babies. Pain that has nowhere to go, but out, because it has already gnawed up the insides. I once heard a pastor say that it is the events that make you grow as a person that we are often too embarrassed to talk about. And this is where I stopped writing yesterday because I didn’t know what else to say.
And then I attended my church’s revival yesterday night featuring the awesome Rev. Dr. James Forbes. He preached from Ezekiel 37:1-14 – the valley of dry bones and raising bones from the dead. And then like no other revival I had ever attended – he stopped his sermon, told us all to sing Jesus Loves Me (yes the song from childhood), hug yourself while singing it, greet one another in that love, and then get with a partner and ask them – Where do you see death in this nation? Its dry bones?
My partner was an older woman whose face and name I knew, but I had never really spoken to. We had read the same Washington Post article – she in the morning (and she couldn’t read anything else after that), me in the evening before coming to church. We had the same reaction. Sadness. Anger. Helplessness.
But like any good pastor, Rev. Forbes didn’t just ask us where we see death, dry bones that need to be put back together and have life breathed in them – of course he asked us what we are going to do about it. Because that is our job as Christians. But even if you’re not a Christian by name or practice, I have always believed that it is our job as human beings – to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. In a huge way. A seemingly small way. But somehow. Someway.
Over the years I have felt a calling to help and work with little girls (which is why the two stories I started off with really spoke to my soul). I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because I grew up in a loving, nurturing family and community and I want to ensure that all little girls know what it feels like to be loved. Maybe it’s because in spite of being loved and wanted, I have had some traumatic experiences that only me and the Lord know about – that left me feeling unloved and unwanted. And I would never want a little girl to think they have to struggle with emptiness and brokenness all on their own.
Recently I have despised coming to work. And it’s not because of the work that I do, but because of the politics of the job and the organization. But last night’s sermon reminded me, that it’s not about me at all, that the work I do is part of something bigger – giving little brown and black girls new opportunities, a safe space where they feel loved and encouraged. But it's easy to forget when you have to deal with so much other foolishness.
Cause it can be hard to fulfill one’s purpose in a world of materialism. Where success is defined by the amount of money in your bank account and the car that you drive. It can be difficult to rise above the clatter of work, cell phones and other technology that keep us in constant communication, family obligations, hair appointments, when is my husband coming thoughts, my car needs a new transmission and I don’t have the money woes, oh yeah and other bills are piling up too, and Lord there is oil oozing into the ocean, and a huge sink hole, and babies are killing each other over gold plated bracelets, and folks are losing their homes, and, and, and… And find your place in it all. Your purpose. Your destiny. That in truth should have nothing to do with you at all.
As I step off my philosopical soap box, Rev. Forbes also said something that I have to further ponder. He said, "oftentimes we want to appear to the world as just beautiful, fresh cut flowers. Just kinda doing our own thing. But we must be rooted [in faith]." But to take it out of Christian context - I feel that we must be rooted in something greater than ourselves. What roots you? Inspires you? Moves you? Provides you with the strength to make it through the day? What gives you the very breath you need to make this life worth living?
That’s my time y’all! Happy Rum Punch Friday!
SO LONG, FAREWELL...
The View From Here will conclude on Friday, October 1, our third year anniversary. We would like to spend this month thanking all of our readers, followers, haters, visitors, family, friends, and fans for your continued support, encouragement, and comments over these past few years. Thanks y'all!
-The Five Spot