It is written, “If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, remove hence to yonder place, and it shall remove, and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by Prayer and Fasting.”

Covid19 has clearly depleted our world of lives gone too soon. A heartbreaking pestilence that pursued its victims with a vengeance as a wild beast running rampant in the fold of little lambs. A staggering number of lives lost and a dishevelment of the societal order has given way to a time that will live in infamy. Presenting and thus compounding this most awful experience on our media screens, is a term we are all too familiar called, “ Breaking News.” This term usually precedes a litany of criminal behavior along with negative, dark, and disturbing elements of this social order that many have considered ‘normal’, after heavy digestion of it over the years. It is an opinion that the continual flow of darkness perpetrated by this entity we call ‘the news’ bankrupts our ‘sensitivity meter’ towards the dark side of “the order”, thus causing a seemingly light withdrawal of empathy or stance for justice to assist the bloodshed victims lawlessly taken. In broad daylight, we drink and partake of this intoxicating liquid of doom, as if its report will bring us that mixture of breath and life our poor souls yearn for as its sustenance. Perhaps some may be in denial of their sensitivity meter not being maligned and traduced due to “breaking news” and its content, but that can be remedied by this one thought. It is a strong opinion that a news item that created shock value some 10, 20, or 30 years ago can literally go unphased in the present due to being desensitized by beholding it so many times. Most can truly look in the past and uncover events that were quite alarming and shocking that are now looked upon as part of the daily routine. If one can agree to this notion, this is the sensitivity meter that gets desensitized after harnessing a litany of the ‘doom and gloom’ from our media outposts.

Pleasure often garbs itself in innocence as it sought after with an enormous impetus to fulfill the goal previously mentioned of breath and life to the soul. How can one not agree with that quest, as sports, concerts, theaters, dining, vacations, and a host of social gatherings that are now in confinement have drained our consumption of beautiful things? Is it at all possible that the creation of a marvelous assembly of experiences forged from these gatherings were to our detriment and this season of quiet was perhaps helpful to humanity in a myriad of ways? Could an overly saturated time spent in these gatherings have a negative rippling at the fundamental building block in family and community? Can a more meaningful societal order be at risk with this oversaturation of experiences we hold so dear? Some have stated on record that their makeup is drying out, clothes cannot fit, they haven’t needed much gas in their car and when having a two-car experience, one is barely used. Even the simple things that make this societal order beam and bristle with activity and time spent in pleasure or employment have taken a back seat to confinement we have all been mandated to perform.

Covid 19 confinement clearly has the world on a fast from many things we hold so dear. Aside from the pleasure of social gathering fast, most have even fasted from ingesting the ‘Breaking News’ feast littered with its gory details of our demise and degradation. It appears from an analytical approach, that two seemingly important functions denied and perhaps others, were enough to possibly build and restore a most important feature of family and community that has for centuries been the focal point of who we are. One cannot deny that this most important feature of creating a strong societal foundation has been at risk by the eroding of family and community. For centuries many have written on the direct and indirect attack on this foundation. Along with degenerative social behaviors and negative relationships that place our foundation on the defensive, are reports coming out of the industrial revolution that drove a scholar to the woods away from civilization, to embrace his humanity that he saw slipping away before his eyes. His famous words are eternally posted like a flag ensigned in our minds, “ Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.” Has this woods-like atmosphere of confinement been synonymous with this flag of truce we all embraced when entering the protocols of the covid19 confinement? Could a scale of indifference be removed from the mind’s eye of a particular societal ill that has been looming large within the ‘order’ over many years?

At the beginning of this piece, the quote written states the importance of a fast and its powerful effects on removing stumbling blocks from the pathway of progress. Whether it be a fast from food, interaction, or societal bliss, it appears a fast often brings one ‘centeredness’ in his understanding of purpose, his will, and his truth. I cannot but ‘scramble’ to look into the ramifications and effects produced from a ‘covid fast’ that may have brought perspective to a society languished in indifference to injustices and catastrophes faced by many a people. In the belly of our present social order has been deadly tumors of social ills, criminal acts, and natural calamities producing a cancerous degeneration in the ‘order’ for years. Thousands of refugee camps filled with cold, hungry, crying children. Crowded cities worldwide with the homeless and destitute. Abused women and frightened children sold into sexual slavery. War, devastating effects of natural disasters, and to crown it all, the painful agony of the present deadly disease taking the lives of many beautiful souls. These violent and devastating atrocities and there are many, are by far darkness that needs the dawn of a rising sun to bring its end to a close. However, in the midst of all this decay and gloom is an uprising against social injustice for a people that for years have sought to quell this curse that has been languishing in their communities for generations.

It is one thing to speak amongst yourselves deliberating in immediate circles of a societal order gone mad because it embraced high ignorance toward egregious acts in its order, discounting the pursuit of precious virtues of righteousness and justice…but it is another thing to see an uprising of the same people who were only deliberating, sacrificing their hearts and souls for righteousness and truth. People have never demonstrated in years the way they are today displaying the value and essence of who we all are and should be as a people. To light a fire there has to be an initial spark from a source and to start a car, one must have the key to turn the ignition to ignite another type of spark that starts the engine. Is this the spark as seen in the demonstrations that has created an atmosphere of ‘change’?

Looking beyond the violence and looting that was presently displayed among peaceful protests, are clearly seen a ‘people’ of all colors and hues, protecting each other, hugging each other with deep affection, and even blue-uniformed citizens and compatriots kneeling together in prayer. One of the uniformed found separation from his group and was protected by brave souls who are the very essence of the condemned. This display of affection will continue to have a powerful effect on the present ‘order’ of things. We have seen ubiquitous murders over the years, but the tone of this present movement has taken on a different significance! Could this clear and single-minded purpose be wrought from ‘the covid fast’? The full mountain of inequality and racism isn’t moved but the undulating hills of racial barriers and barriers between some of the blue-uniformed and the affected generation appear to have an uprising. Also, in the midst are laws overthrowing the relics that were given homage from the alternate side of America that was never punished for warring against her ‘better self’.

These little sparks are very necessary before establishing a burning flame. Perhaps what was written aforetime about the true fast, when executed in its purest form, will be ‘the straw that will break the camel’s back’. As a famous writer puts it best, “ through all the sorrow….there breathe’s a hope… a faith in the ultimate justice of things. The minor cadences of despair change often in triumph and calm confidence. Sometimes it is faith in life, sometimes a faith in death, sometimes assurance of the boundless justice in some fair world beyond. But whatever it is, the meaning is always clear: that sometime, somewhere, men will judge men by their souls and not by their skins. Is such a hope justified?” Let us forever yearn to be a witness to this hope, in this life or the next.

Beyond the Shadows

It is once said life is a shadow on a wall, very real, but still an illusion.

The illusion has been cast, engulfing us with its emotion of sufferings, struggles, joys, gifts, highs and lows…question: if this mortal life is an illusion…should an illusion feel real?

Beyond the shadows the eternal proclaims life does not exceed four score and twenty…the mortal offers no objections as it rightly obeys this mandate and often falls way short of this mark… question: when it’s all said and done, what truly happens when we cross over to the other side.

On the other side the eternal speaks of rest first and then possible life. The mortal objects echoing through the prism of the shadows speaking life for all. The two conflicting points form a conundrum in the cast of the shadows, but the eternal claims its truth as the only certainty…question: Can truths from the shadows prove true?

We are present with the mortals as mortals we are…the eternal was said to have eternally escaped us…but we reach for eternal truths in our quest for peace on the other side… and yet its the illusion that speaks true. If a particular shadow is called a cat and a cat it has become, is it truly a cat or has it been just an illusion formed through the interpretive…question: Does being present in mortality, justify its truths as real and true through the prism of the shadows?

A wise man once said, “Life is not a bowl of cherries.” Sometimes we just have to tread through our pain, struggle, trials and tribulations and not stop and wait for the unveiling of that peace we so desperately seek. Thus while we preside in the mortal and overthrow irreverent shadows immersed with injustice…let’s be mindful in the eternal, ultimate justice for all is a prerequisite for peace. Question: Will injustice in the mortal ever have a court appearance in the eternal?

Another man once said, “ We are but shadows and dust.” This depiction of our mortality speaks volumes as the time when life begins is full of promise and hope. However, no matter what the accomplishment and satisfaction, the shadows become glaringly real as to its illusionary mind set, as the approach to the other side draws near…question: is there a true peace that one acquires before going to the other side?

It appears the mortal cannot decipher with accuracy the truths of the eternal, which by the way is rightly sought after through the prism of the shadows. The shadows being a reflection of a reality cannot and never will be a real depiction of what is true. What appears also to be grossly misdiagnosed is the essence of what that shadow represents. The mortal seems to vacillate in their interpretations of the shadows depending heavily on the rank and file of the interpreters. Thus, what is true today, may not be the same tomorrow. This supreme error of the mortal does not bode well for the living.

In the eternal, there is no vacillation of truths with various interpretations through the shadows. There are no twists, turns and adjustments as if it were feelings. The eternal issues one truth that is as “constant as the northern star”. “An ever fixed mark that looks on tempest and is never shaken.” Thus, any “wandering bark” must align itself to that constant for its truths cannot be appraised through the prism of the shadows. It is what it says it is and what it says it is, is what it is. Thus, it requires all to move beyond the shadows and discern the realities of its truths as prescribed by its Master. In that movement He says, you will find that perfection of peace, you so eagerly seek. Question: Is the life as you know it imprisoned by the realities of the shadows or does it dwell within the chambers of the eternal?