WHAT DOESN’T KILL YOU……
“What doesn’t kill you, will make you stronger”. I have heard that saying all of my life. I had coaches, teachers, mentors, and even my own parents tell me that from time to time. In that statement, is courage, hope, faith, disbelief, struggle, surrender, and strength…to just name a few. In that one simple phrase is the hope that what is going on will soon pass but the strength to not allow for your mind to kill your effort to get to the end. Like a good fire that crackles and burns with intensity, if you don’t add wood, will soon die out. Our best efforts are just trying to get through the next hour without having a moment where we want to do like Michael Jackson in the “Scream” video. With the 25th anniversary of the L.A. Riots being upon us, it is hard to believe that it has made us stronger, when we still have police killing innocent black males in our cities. It is hard to believe that we are made stronger, when we have folks that profess to being Christians, yet pimp and look down on the poor and disenfranchised. It is hard to believe that we are made stronger, when we still look at women as objects and not the crucible of generations. It is hard to believe that we are made stronger, when there is more money given to prison development, than educating young minds. It is hard to believe that we are made stronger, when the rich control the strings and the poor must dance to a tune of the puppet master. It is hard to believe that we are made stronger, when the family is dismantled as systematically as a heart specialist performing surgery, in our black and brown neighborhoods.
The other side of that statement, is hope and an unrelenting spirit to keep pushing through the pain of life’s hurdles. In the Word, it states that if we faint not in well doing, we will reap blessings. Can we find the blessings in the midst of the death that is going on in our souls? Could it be that if we learn how to control our breathing, we won’t have an asthma attack on the narratives of society? Could it be that we have to find the strength to push through the muck and mire of this journey? Strength…that is what we need in this time when we are suffocating on the smog of racism, sexism, gender-ism, and other ism’s. Strength is what some of the brothers that I went to Morehouse found when they needed to stay up late nights to study, knowing that their financial aid might not come through for the next semester. Strength is what my dear friend needed when he got the call that his dad been found after looking for him for most of his life. Strength is what is needed when you want to hear the voice of your mom but there isn’t a phone in heaven. Strength is what what the young boy that is dealing with everything from learning how to tie a tie, to knowing what to say to that young lady at school…yet not have a father to glean from. Strength is what is needed for the woman that is abused, to say enough is enough and begin her migration to something better. Strength is what is needed to start an organization like K.I.N.G. Movement, that allows men to have a space to disembark their feelings, yet have space for a brotherhood revival. Strength is knowing that marriages can survive the storm, if we both have faith survival skills.
Strength is that uncanny ability to not allow the vicissitudes of life to kill our spirit. Our spirit will need to live, in spite of our experiences. It is that ability to reach down inside of our being to find the fortitude to, in the words of the my grandmother, keep on keeping on. Our strength is able to capture the hope of our tomorrows and allow for us to deal with the problems of today. Strength is what is needed for the generations that will come behind us to be more educated in civic engagement and social justice. Strength is what we will need in this new age of us versus them in our political pool. Strength is how we will get over our differences of opinion on race. Strength is what the church offers on Sunday morning when the choir sings the hymn of “His eye is on the sparrow, so I know that He watches, He watches me”. Strength is what I see when I hold my mother’s hand. Strength is what I see in the eyes of parents of my predominantly Hispanic students, knowing that this battle is not theirs but the Lord. Strength is what I hear in the voice of my father, when he reminds me that my last name matters in the equation of my being. Strength is what feel when I tell my children, I love you….and as long as I live I will ALWAYS have your back!