There is, hiding within, a song that needs to be sung, a shout that needs to come out, and tears that yearn to water the fallow ground.
Awake fettered soul, and release the characters who will sell out about the City. The one that has foundations.
In my slumber I remember the ones who know how the story goes.
– The yellow ball who finds a boy.
– The African sun that sets on twelve young boys and girls, now fully loved out of a lifetime of huffing and fully protected from guerrilla warfare.
– Two women, sworn friends for life until death swallows the one and her yet single friend takes guardianship of her now orphaned sons.
They are there at the edge of the City; one by one they slide down the ripple of the sinking sun. “My story friends!”, I cried. Out of reach I’ll never be able to love them into stories now.Their voices a silhouette as I shrink within myself.
It’s then that I hear the still small Voice beckoning to me.
“Don’t be dismayed, Little One, when the storms broil. Rather partner with the sparrow who knows not what the morrow brings.
The edifice you are building requires more of you each day.
On the ground you lay, willing its foundations to come forth.
You lean on it’s walls only to discover they are doors beckoning you beyond.
Have you forgotten how to entice your friends into their stories?
Take hold, Beloved.
Grasp for their history. Lean into their tale. Wind it around yourself like a veil and stay within until they come to fore.
Cause them to sing.
Your people will weep if you will weep.
They will dance in the moonlight if you will lead them.”
“Though your reason for living feels a distant tune sung by someone else, and you consider relinquishing your call..
Press in, Beloved.
Wrest the sleep from your eyes and pierce your own heart with their tale and soon you’ll know how they go.
Soon you’ll beat out the rhythm of their heartbeat and they’ll rattle to life.
You’ll whistle their wanderings and they’ll stand upon their emptied graves and cry “Sing it again!” and “Shout some more!”
And soon you’ll know how the stories go.
Dance, Beloved. Dance.”
The movie, The Untouchables, might not be to everyones’ liking in terms of entertainment and yet it teaches valuable lessons about life. One of my favorite movie quotes is by Jimmy Malone, the Irish beat cop, played by the one of the darlings of my parents’ era, Scot Sean Connery.
In the very violent scene depicting Malone’s death, he is discovered by his protege, Elliott Ness (Kevin Costner) and George Stone (Andy García). Seeing Malone stopped in his tracks is heart-wrenching because it is not just the death of a friend and colleague, there is an un-premeditated passing of the mantle from one generation to the next. Enforcement of the law is no longer an assignment that Ness can walk away from. Losing Malone makes the battle become personal. Malone’s last words contain the answer to Ness’ conflict as well as a missive to become fully engaged in this fight. Malone, with a raspy voice, challenges Ness, “What. are you. prepared to do?” This is the second time they’ve had this conversation. And this time Ness is prepared to do an end run for justice.
If you remember the movie, when Ness and Malone first have that conversation, Ness is very philosophical about his involvement. He’s prepared to do anything within the law; yet the objective of his mission is to enforce the law. He soon learns that his oppponent doesn’t operate within the confines of the law, and Malone instructs him to bring a knife to a gun fight, and so forth. Somehow this movie says a lot about our western culture. We’ve been taught to color inside the lines, to drive the speed limit, to make a career with a single company, and dream about a home with a white picket fence, 2.5 kids, a 52″ television, and a dog. Yet, like Ness, we are completely unprepared when it turns out that the rest of the world doesn’t think the same way. Seriously.
I can’t help but think about destiny these days, and calling. What kind of a legacy will I leave? What kind of a mark will I leave on the world? Will I have told you about the things that compel me? Will I have told you how much your Heavenly Father loves you? Will you know a journey of your own with the Father? Will you know about the orphaned children in Africa, and how they sing before daybreak? Will you weep with me as I tell you about the Mozambican babies scandalized by AIDS, left hanging on fence posts in a plastic grocery bag, abandoned by their mothers?
Engaging in this war we call life is not an assignment we can walk away from. It’s deeply personal, and our opponent doesn’t operate within the confines of the law. Yet neither do we. Our most powerful weapon is love. And it changes everything. Love beckons us to lay down our lives, sell our possessions, and live life on the edge. Dare to look. Dare to be affected.
“What. are you. prepared to do?”