This week, there’s been an overwhelming consciousness of peace, the abiding presence of Yahweh. I wake up each day with thanks on my lips. Nah, not the usual religious lingo used to spice up a boring devotion- the “thank you for making me to see another day…” line we dole out to the Lord in naps. This is mindful gratitude, that which sets one’s soul on a journey to uncovering God’s goodness.
Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.
I forget not his benefits. I remember the day he met me in the deep. There, a cheer curled up in my thoughts. My mouth couldn’t voice her victory; the rants of misery denied her strength. But as I knelt in awe this week, dazed by the way Peace met me in that raging sea and brought me to shore, the reality of my freedom sank in. An abundance of cheers stretched over my thoughts, bursting through my mouth with gratitude-
For good music: For the lyrics that lifted my spirit in times of despair, the words that silenced the negative voices in my head. For rhythms that massaged my being and beats that unshackled my feet. For Cece Winans “He’s Concerned”, Letoya Lockett’s “Praise”, Donald Lawrence’s, “Say a Prayer”, Jekalyn Carr’s “You’re Bigger”, Laureen Daigle’s “Trust In You”, Mandisa’s “Stronger”, Sixfoot’s “Where The Light Shines” album and every song that embraced me when all I needed was a hug.
For hurts that threw my mind at war, storms that mocked my peace. For the confusion that besieged my sanity, distorted my perception, and threatened my faith. For the times I was stripped off my dignity while the voices in my head made music with my shame. For the insight that accompanied the pain: a peek at human frailty with unfeigned empathy, the ability to see through the smiles masking hurts, a compassion that erodes negative criticisms and harsh judgments… an understanding that storms are a proof of our existence.
For friends who didn’t abscond in the times of my distress, who unsheathed their swords and went to war with me. For knees that kissed floors and voices that thundered supplications to God on my behalf. For ears that listened, hands that gave, arms that embraced, mouths that encouraged and hearts that were never far away. For cheerleaders who belittled my storms with chants of victory, who exalted God’s word over my misery. For buddies who were not too compassionate to pamper my shit, who shoved harsh truths down my throat till I was weaned of my excesses…. I’m grateful.
For church: that building that housed my tears, and gave me freedom to unleash the emotions I was too careful to shed at home. For a body of believers who loved beyond words, people who made shame a mirage with how they bore my burdens. For a music group that’s family, that gave me the opportunity to explore my potentials. For a pastor who cared, whose subtle stares and wry smiles were all the chastisement necessary to kill my stupidity. For a sweet fellowship with saints who like iron, sharpened my blunt edges with words of grace.
For laughter: that comic character in my head that was never caught sharing a stale joke; the humorous thoughts that tickled my mind till I was cracked up. For uninterrupted moments of purposeful foolishness: moments spent composing and singing meaningless songs with Sister Nkiriruka’s voice- the murdering of good music with off-key ministrations; for times spent before the mirror, dressed in the most despicable old school attire and cat-walking around the neighborhood till I was bored. For resounding farts like atomic bomb, farts that jolted my siblings off their seats in search of shelter for their nostrils; for the hearty laughter that followed their frowns and mild insults.
For family; earth’s realest folks. For siblings who define C-R-A-Z-Y with how they make silliness bae. For mom’s rants that are a comic relief, her fury that’s become a non-consuming fire. For daddy’s sneeze that wouldn’t stop screaming “Ese!!!” (My other name), each sneeze jolting me off my frustrations; for his farts that overshadow us with deep reverence. *We prostrate in awe of you dad!*
For… Peace; my new best friend. It hurt to have lived all these years considering you some ideology from a religious book. When scriptures called you “the Prince of Peace”, I thought it was one more title attached to your persona. So I separated you from you: Jesus from Peace. But that night in November 2016 you walked into my room, I knew you. You came in your fullness yet revealed yourself as Peace. That day, you became a buddy.
I’m grateful for all the ways you’ve held me. You keep holding me. For the gentle nudges in my spirit, the unraveling of things ahead. I’m grateful for a redefined sense of purpose; your word keeps lighting my path. Oh Peace, a lifetime wouldn’t suffice to uncover your goodness. Your love is everlasting, your friendship sure. But as you mercy blooms each morning, my heart will keep dancing to the rhythm of your faithfulness.