America’s African Rainbow

it’s been over 30 years…

There is a saying that goes, “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” I don’t know who penned it, but I’ve had over 50 years to recognize its truth. Even scripture speaks of the repetitiveness of the issues of life:

Ecclesiastes 1:9

The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.

Is it possible that man is doomed to look at history and make changes that never create real change? I think it’s a good question for those interested in giving it more than a cursory thought.

I wrote the below poem in my 20’s and published it in my book of poetry, Emotionally Charged: A Poetic Journey in the Issues of Life (Amazon, 2016). I think it’s worthy of sharing in our current climate. Enjoy.

America’s African Rainbow

I am a member of America’s African Rainbow

Let our history be a reminder for all to understand and know . . .

Don’t tell me to go back to Africa, a place I’ve never been.

For, I was stolen long ago from the womb of my ancestral kin.

Don’t treat me like an unwanted visitor; America is also my home.

Content in my promise land, the choice to leave was not my own.

For years you’ve given me many hurtful & derogatory names.

Why?  When by default, your shoulders carry these shames.

I am an American African Rainbow; by your hand I’ve become.

Welcome my presence; help undo the wrongs that were done.

I’m a rainbow – intricately woven, polished – varieties of ebony.

Indeed, all must diligently labor to bring about true harmony.

The Issue (Food for Thought): Where color is an issue for some in this world, it has never been an issue with God for he created the colors of the rainbow.

*Use of this poem is prohibited without the express authorization of the author. All Rights Reserved. Printed in the U.S.A. First Edition: November 29, 2016. ISBN: 1530581583 – © 2020 Wanda J. Murry

My Ever-Expanding Family

a bigger picture with a better view

Someone recently said of me, “if Wanda tells you that someone is her brother or sister, that may not necessarily be true. Wanda calls everybody her brother and sister.” I laugh at my friend. Guilty as charged!

I grew up with one sister, Gwen, in Kansas City, Kansas. We are our mother’s only children. At 11 years old, I had the great pleasure of meeting two sisters and a brother: Talone, Pudgy, and Tasha. They are my father’s children. I am hoping above all hope to meet my father’s firstborn, Sheila. Sidenote: Sheila, if you’re out there, I sure would love to meet you!

I am the oldest of all of my siblings except for Sheila. Biologically, I have five blood-related siblings. And if I may give a brief shout-out, they all beautiful and exceptional in their own unique ways. Love you guys!

However, I can’t count the actual number of brothers and sisters I have on this earth. Their numbers exceed my imagination; plus, I don’t know them all and, I’d probably be overwhelmed if I did. Some of them I know personally, and they are located all around the world in places like Atlanta, Canada, Africa, Arizona, Kansas, etc., etc., etc. There are many I will never meet in person in my lifetime on earth. I do know this, though… my brothers and sisters are innumerable.

The truth is that my father has a lot of children, and he expands his family daily. This ever-expanding family is global, stemming from every ethnicity, across the globe. My father is an international lover… of souls. I’m also an international lover, as I attempt to emulate my father as he’s instructed me to:

John 17:22

  • And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:

1 Corinthians 10:17

  • For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.

1 Corinthians 12:12

  • For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.

Romans 12:5

  • So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

Galatians 3:26

  • For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 3:28

  • There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

1 John 5:7

  • For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.

I love my ever-expanding family. If you have placed your trust, hope, and life in Jesus Christ, I hope you do too. It’s both necessary and profitable to the kingdom of God that Christians see themselves as being part of a global, spiritual family. Jesus made it clear the value he has for his spiritual family:

Matthew 12:48-50

  • 48 But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren?
  • 49 And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!
  • 50 For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.

This doesn’t mean I don’t love and cherish my biological family. I’m to love them no different than I love my spiritual brothers and sisters. God even commanded that we love our enemies. So loving people in general is what a Jesus follower should be known for. 

1 John 4:20-21

  • 20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?
  • 21 And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.

Without wrapping our heart and head around this spiritual mandate, we limit ourselves to earth-bound thinking and pursuits that add no heavenly benefit to the kingdom of God. It may seem extreme but at the end of the day we are called to have the same mind as Christ, our Savior:

Philippians 2:5

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

Spoiler Alert: dear brother and sister in Christ, this earth is not our home! So love the ever-expanding family of God. And while you are at it, do what you can to add to it!

COMMUNITY

woman near window
Photo by Martin Péchy on Pexels.com

I have been in personal hiatus lately, meaning, I’ve spent lots of time alone. There are a few reasons for this need at this moment. Life has been a little topsy-turvy and cumbersome over the last few years. Trying to find my footing through events, circumstances, hills, and valleys requires personal reflection. I am grateful for the journey, and the lessons being learned. For times such as these, the growth and outcomes generated are profitable, leading to the place of much-needed serenity and peace.

Some people look at being alone as something taboo. For me, it’s one side of my personality I have to indulge in and balance. I’m an introvert who has learned to socialize like an extrovert in various settings. Being quite reticent, I spend time internalizing life (mine, others, the world we live in, etc., etc., etc.). Summoning memories of my youth confirm writing as a natural place to dispose of my uncomfortable thoughts. Writing has become my road to sanity; a place I can’t deny to extinguish the ugliness of negative emotions. I chose to empty my thoughts on paper rather than wreck my limited relationships through verbal carnage.

This weekend I learned something in my hiatus important to me as an individual. As much as I enjoy my alone time, I still need my community! I googled the word community for the relevant definition and found it – the condition of sharing or having certain attitudes and interests in common [1] Although I enjoy my periods of alone time, I don’t want to be alone all the time. Socializing provides laughter and deep conversations about God, family, and all things life-related. In those times, I feel a part of something intensely gratifying. My heart warmly enthralled with God in knowing I am alone only when I choose to be.

grayscale photography of people worshiping
Photo by Luis Quintero on Pexels.com

Being a part of a community of like-minded people who care for you creates a sense of connection. A church community joins like-minded believers into a body that guides and cares for your salvation, spiritual growth, and servanthood. In a job community, some people help you develop skill sets for career elevation. The community of family fosters a place of unconditional love, encouragement, protection, and treasured examples of leadership.

This weekend I joined another community. An affinity of writers and would-be writers called to tell their stories. Memoirs, poetry, non-fiction, fiction, devotionals, bible studies, etc., an amazing expanse of creativity. I needed this community with whom I could share this part of my life. They host my passion to share and enthusiastically celebrate life on its terms. In this place, encouragement and support abound. Without hesitation, it is the solid ground upon which to plant my author’s feet as I grow into the writer I am destined to become.

At the end of the day, we all need COMMUNITY.

[1] https://www.lexico.com/en/definition/community; 2 [mass noun]