This morning I awoke laughing to myself about a childhood memory of a bunch of poor kids looking like something straight out of The Lil Rascals or Bae Bae Kids singing in front of a church. The church was an old storefront property in the middle of the hood. The girls were in black skirts and white blouses and the boys were in black pants, hand me down shoes, and white shirts all rolled up because most had to borrow them from their fathers or grandfathers.
People in the pews weren’t much better off – nowhere near the fashion shows that many Sunday mornings are today. You had families, neighbors and friends all borrowing from each other just trying to look like something special in the presence of God for Sunday morning. Everything was pretty rag tag and thrift shop but for a people on food stamps and in public housing dealing with the racism that seems to always be prevalent in America, Sunday mornings were the one place in the world you wasn’t a n*ggah- at least not to God.
Songs were sung with words like “When the world from you withholds, all its silver and its gold and you have to get along with meager fare. Just remember in His word how he feeds the little birds, take your burdens to the Lord and leave them there” and “Farther along we’ll know all about it, Farther along we’ll understand why. Cheer up my brother, live in the sunshine. We’ll understand it. All by and by.” Sure these songs didn’t suddenly take away every pain and worry in the hearts or on the minds of those parents, many who even then were single moms, but it was a therapy of hope for people who didn’t have the money or trust for counselors.
What led me to these memories was a question asked of me by someone who read my post about managing life’s baggage and asked me “But what do you do when you tell somebody all you been through and they just walk away because they don’t want to deal with somebody who been through all that?”
This person said she was pretty much over and healed from all the hurt of her past and just felt like she needed to share. My reply was that if I spent hours explaining to someone all the hurt someone did to me and then at the end said I was over it, no one would believe me. We have to be wise about what we just land on people with. It doesn’t mean you are not telling the truth, it means that not everything needs to be told- at least not immediately, and especially if it is no longer affecting you today. Sometimes your healed wounds can open wounds in others and cause them to fear. The details of your testimony are not one size fit all in the same way that TV programs have ratings to inform parents of graphic scenes and language. You have to be wise.
But I really wasn’t satisfied with my answer when I went to bed- at least not until this morning when I awoke with the memory of that Sunday morning children’s choir and the raggedy out of tune piano with the broken keys played by my mother who only knew a few chords that she tried to play by ear. As much of a hot mess as the entire scene was, it was all made perfect by the sounds of children who sang the words “This little light of mine. I’m gonna let it shine. This little light of mine. I’m gonna let it shine. This little light of mine. I’m gonna let it shine. Let it shine. Let it shine. Let it shine.”
It brought to my remembrance the scripture that said “let your light so shine that men might see your good works and glorify your father who is in heaven.” I remember an old man telling me something similar “when everybody got something bad to say about you, live so that nobody else believes it.” From all of that I say just live in the light of who you are. And when people ask about the joy that is you, you can rejoice in the testimony of what you have overcome instead of presenting it like some burdensome story that weighs down the spirit. Nobody expects perfection of anyone they meet. What most of us look for is balance- someone who comes to us and doesn’t take us off balance by the weight of their world. And light, my friends, is weightless. –NEO BLAQNESS