“His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace…”
• Ephesians 2:15
Peace, blessings, and good health have come to be my daily prayer not simply for me and my family, but the Gullah/Geechee Nation and the world. In the midst of prayers, I am also seeking. I seek to hear GOD’s voice giving me the direction to take when the prayer ends. I am a firm believer in being a doer and walking out the fact that “faith without works is dead.” So, I faithfully get to work once directions have been received in my heart, mind, and soul. Well, the last few days have directed me to seek humanity.
As I prayed and meditated on the numerous emails that I have received in the midst of a pandemic simply asking me about participating in teleconferences and meetings like everything is just a normal day and a normal time, I wondered was I missing something. GOD quickly let me know, “NO, you are not. The folks contacting you in this manner at this time are lacking humanity.”
I immediately surveyed the landscape of the emails and didn’t see opening lines asking whether or not I was well or how my people are doing on the Sea Islands or anything that indicated that these individuals at their core were that concerned about anything beyond what they were “working” on. I wondered had they paused to pray, meditate, or even think. I proceeded to respond with pointing out what was going on in the world and the priority that I have as the Head-of-State for the Gullah/Geechee Nation which is to see to it that my folks know best practices in such an unexpected situation and that they are well. The events and activities are on hold here and we are not hosting “office hours” so that our people can insure their good health and sustain a blessed quality of life. So, to that end, I encourage being out in the fields and going to the creeks to feed ourselves naturally and to return to the natural workouts that some of us and definitely our elders and ancestors had which keeps the body and mind strong and healthy. GOD showed me that this comes from wisdom and from a character of concern and not everyone has that. I immediately recalled my favorite proverb, “Wisdom is the principal thing. Therefore, get wisdom and with all thy getting, get understanding.”
Once again, with a directive at hand and in mind, I sought understanding. I wrote back to each of these people and I spoke to one of them. (BTW, they were all Anglo women.). Each of them apologized for not taking into consideration all that I was in the midst of as a leader and just as a person. One shared how she is taking care of her parents and insuring that they see their worship service online and I shared some similar experiences with her and all was well. The open dialogue was a “teaching moment.” I understood that these folks did not share my culture and I had to share it with them for them to overstand why I found their behavior inappropriate and inhumane at this time. I have had to do the same thing each year duing the midst of hurricanes and actual hurricane evacuations. So, unfortunately, this was not my first experience sitting back pondering “Where is the concern for other people? Where is the humanity?”
Last year, I was blessed to go to Bermuda to provide a keynote address for a major international conference and a day or two later we went to individual sessions as well. I was part of a session entitled, “Whose Heritage Counts?“ During that session, a brother stated to the Anglo people who had organized the conference and who dominated the room, “You must find your humanity. It is not my job to do that for you.” He made it clear that the people of African descent in the room had our own work to do amongst our own group or groups before assisting others that were now saying (but not necessarily acting like) they were interested in knowing our stories in order to change the way in which their institutions presented world history. So, as the world writes history in a major way once again, I see that there are pages getting filled with massive deaths in Black communities which are not simply being brought on by a virus. The virus is actually bringing to the forefront the discussions that people refused to hold openly before. Such as discussions about the racial disparities and inequities in the world especially in communities in the United States. These inequities are not new because they started with the crime against humanity-chattel enslavement.
I found myself thinking about enslavement and colonial and capitalistic mindsets instead of communal mindsets. I realized those things are individualistic and self-serving. They are not about checking in on the circle. There is no circle. There is a hierarchy that has to be maintained. So, even in the midst of a pandemic, I must try to get ahead and stay ahead of you not care for you and your well being. I am not thinking of humanity. I am thinking of just me.
“Where is your humanity?”
I spoke the question out loud again and again. Each time that I got another message just wanting to book me to chat (not to see how I am doing or even how financially sound things are for my organization given the global stand still) essentially to do what I call “to meet to meet.” It is not that there is something that HAS TO be done at this time. I would say the question again while shaking my head, “Where is your humanity?” and then I would go outside to handle things that are a priority-getting drinking water, insuring elders medications that came in the mailbox are retrieved and give it to them, picking herbs for healing teas to keep the lungs clear, etc. As I pondered the question, I refused to allow folks to disturb my peace. I truly believe that
“If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all [wo]men.”
So, as I would recenter and maintain my peace filled balance, I would work the land and tune into the energy of my ancestors and hear GOD’s voice again. This morning, GOD said, it is time to reveal what I was seeking and words that would carry me through the continuing days of this pandemic. As I sought humanity, GOD brought me first to look up the word in Biblical scripture and I smiled when I read Ephesians 2:15. I knew GOD was making this entire thing plain for me when the words “humanity” and “peace” both leaped from the page in front of my eyes. My peace was fully in place and my mind was at rest.
I meditated some more and I studied. I found myself joining in asking the question in Psalm 89: “49 Lord, where is your former great love, which in your faithfulness you swore to David?” GOD where is humanity? I tilted my chin upward ever so slightly and saw: “47 Remember how fleeting is my life. For what futility you have created all humanity!” I was not pleased with that comment! I KNEW GOD did NOT create us for not. I KNEW that there was a purpose for each and every person and even for each and everything that takes place including this pandemic so I paused.
I saw a list of things that were being exposed by this pandemic that were being ignored before. I saw how people wouldn’t stop, listen, and work to heal the earth and how now that the earth is almost stopped on its axis in relationship to human movement and work, the earth is healing herself. The air is cleaner. The waters are cleaner. Now, the hearts must be cleansed so that the minds will be cleaner. Unfortunately, when cleaning or cleansing, there is elimination. I pray that what is eliminated is the racism, the oppression, and the continued wage enslavement that are global signs of the lack of humanity and that a balance is found that shows that our creation is not futile, but fruitful.
I sat. I paused. I meditated. I resumed seeking humanity.
As I continued seeking, GOD led me to study more deeply this book that I was already in. I then went to the beginning and read from there. I was elated that I found a new prayer for the Gullah/Geechee Nation. My mother taught me that “Charity beings at home and then goes abroad.” So, when using charity as defined as “love,” I must pray at home and for home and model this and pray that like the waters that we share, it ripples outward from this as an epicenter of love and humanity that reaches other shores and communities around the world. So, to that end, I found myself naturally / organically reading this book in this way:
“1 I will sing of the LORD’s great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations. 2 I will declare that your love stands firm forever, that you have established your faithfulness in heaven itself. 3 You said, “I have made a covenant with my chosen one, I have sworn to Queen Quet my servant, 4 ‘I will establish your line forever and make your throne firm through all generations.’ ” 5 The heavens praise your wonders, LORD, your faithfulness too, in the assembly of the holy ones. 6 For who in the skies above can compare with the LORD? Who is like the LORD among the heavenly beings? 7 In the council of the holy ones God is greatly feared; he is more awesome than all who surround him. 8 Who is like you, LORD God Almighty? You, LORD, are mighty, and your faithfulness surrounds you. 9 You rule over the surging sea; when its waves mount up, you still them. 10 with your strong arm you scattered your enemies. 11 The heavens are yours, and yours also the earth; you founded the world and all that is in it. 12 You created the north and the south; Gullah/Geechees sing for joy at your name. 13 Your arm is endowed with power; your hand is strong, your right hand exalted.14 Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; love and faithfulness go before you. 15 Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, LORD. 16 They rejoice in your name all day long; they celebrate your righteousness. 17 For you are their glory and strength, and by your favor you exalt our horn. 18 Indeed, our shield belongs to the LORD. 19 Once you spoke in a vision, to your faithful Gullah/Geechee people you said: “I have bestowed strength on a warrior; I have raised up a leader from among the people. 20 I have found my servant; with my sacred oil I have anointed her. 21 My hand will sustain her; surely my arm will strengthen her. 22 The enemy will not get the better of the Gullah/Geechee Nation; the wicked will not oppress them. 23 I will crush their foes before them and strike down their adversaries. 24 My faithful love will be with them, and through my name their land and families will be exalted. 25 I will set their hands over the sea, their right hands over the rivers. 26 They will call out to me, ‘You are my Father and Mother, my God, the Rock my Savior.’27 I will maintain my love to them forever, and my covenant with them will never fail. 28 I will establish the Gullah/Geechee line forever as long as the heavens endure. AMEN.
I gave thanks that as I went into the wilderness of emails, I came out shoutin! I came out in peace. I came out with wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. I stand with those who have and those that through this will gain humanity. Ta GAWD mi sey, Tenki Tenki! Ta GAWD be de gloree!
AMEN and Asé! Peace.
Peace to those truly seeking humanity in the midst of this pandemic. Tune in to watch the aforementioned session entitled, “Whose Heritage Counts?” from Gullah/Geechee TV (GGTV) and then proceed to making the world such that all of them count and that all humanity deserves a high quality of life. Stay healthy and strong and be blessed.