The Price of Praise

A dove perched near my window,
and shook her head at me.
“It seems so sad that man has eyes,
and yet you do not see.

“In everything that God gives breath,
it offers Him a praise,
but man whom He loves most of all
spends life inside a haze.”

She must have seen the troubled look
I wore upon my face,
for she said, “He gave His Son,
His mercy, and His grace.

“Yet, I watch you spend your lives,
pleasing only you.
You must bring sorrow to His heart,
acting like you do.”

I was trying hard to learn,
but couldn’t understand.
She said, “The creatures praise Him
from the sea and from the land.

“Take note. You see the flower there?
Stretching to the sun?
Her growth is how she honors God.
There’s fruit when life is done.

“Even in a summer’s breeze
that blows across your face.
It whispers praise for shelter
in a sweet and secret place.

“What of my brother in the sea,
the one you call the whale?
Did you not know he’s praising God
each time he moves his tail?”

“Obedience, not sacrifice,
we offer unto Him.
My wings say, ‘hallelujah’
though I can not sing a hymn.

“I suggest man change his ways,
before it is too late,
Lest you should hear a chorus rise
from granite and from slate.

I ask you now, as she asked me,
in these latter days.
If the Lamb was not enough,
what is the price of praise?

Black Cat

Black Cat ran ‘cross my path yesterday.
I paid her no mind. Kept on ’bout my way.
She sprawled ’round my feet; got in my way.
Said she had something she wanted to say.

“Bewarrre,” she purred with a nod of dismay.
“That ain’t your man and he ain’t gonna stay.
“Love is a game and we all get to play.
It ain’t your fault you took in a stray.

“He’s telling sweet lies that’s making you stay.
You waiting for him while he get to play?
“You ain’t no fool, so hear what I say.”
She steadied her stance, through a glance my way.

“You done got you a dog. Hey, that’s okay!
But an unclean dog don’t care where he lay.
He will screw any bitch he meets ’round the way.
Then lay down with you on the very same day.

She turned to get up and saunter away.
Then sat down with a bit more to say.
“You tell him when to go and tell when to stay.
If you did it too, aint no way he would stay.”

I stood nodding my head and then I said, “Hey!”
Before I could talk she went ’bout her way.
I am speaking the truth, so hear what I say,
“Keep laying with dogs, you’ll get fleas one day.”

The Greatest Love

Watching the news on the morning of September 11th, I let out an involuntary scream as the second jet struck the World Trade Center South Tower.  It was an intentional act of evil.   I was witnessing the murder of thousands of people.  My knees buckled.  I ran to the bathroom and threw up.

As I looked into the bathroom mirror, a voice within me said, “The people in the buildings are dying.  God, please have mercy.  Send help, God.  Please, send help.”   It may seem like a childish prayer, but even in that moment, those people were all connected to me.  I could feel them and I could do nothing to save them except pray. Several days later, I started hearing about the way my prayer – all of our prayers – had been answered.  It was answered when the largest acts of bravery and heroism showed up in direct response to an act of evil.

Imagine getting to the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel in your fire engine and being told things on the other side were so horrible the tunnel was closed.  And your response is to get out of the engine, shackled by 60 pounds of equipment and run through the tunnel towards the burning towers.  Imagine running away from wife, your kids and your life to rush into two burning skyscrapers. Your only hope is to get someone, who you don’t know, out alive.

Rick Rescorla, the head of security for Morgan Stanley and a Vietnam Veteran, ignored the advice of the building’s officials to stay in the building when the first tower was attacked and began evacuating Morgan Stanley’s 2,700 employees in WTC2 and 1,000 in WTC5.  Most of them were already out of the building with the second jet plunged into it.  And what did he do when he reached the lobby?  He turned around and rushed back in for those he left behind.

What about the selfless bravery of the passengers and crew on United Airlines Flight 93? Can you fathom calling your loved ones to say a final goodbye and then overthrowing hijackers on a plane?  This was done with the full understanding they were sealing their own fates.  They did it with the knowledge the plane would plummet to the ground.  Each one of them was giving up their lives, including Lauren Catuzzi Grandcolas who was pregnant with her first child, to stand up and fight back.

These were regular people who in the face of evil, rose up to manifest the extraordinary.  They did not turn from it.  They ran towards it.  It was more than helping without any thought to their safety.  It was helping with the full knowledge that they would have to surrender their lives so someone else could live. We have the privilege to bear witness to our brothers and sisters who were able to transcend being human and transform into heroes.

“No one has greater love [no one has shown stronger affection] than to lay down (give up) his own life for his friends.” – John 15:13

 

A Call to Action

“Where are my FEMINIST SISTERS?”

It is the first sentence in a friend’s Facebook status update.  I look around my living room expecting to see Maya Angelou or Gloria Steinem forward roll into the room like the cops do on television.  They don’t.  I take my clenched right fist out of the air and turn back to my laptop.

(Sigh!  Shrug!)

Her post continues, “This is DISGUSTING!”  She is referring to an article entitled, “Lingerie for Girls as Young as 4 Irks World.”  I read the words out loud to myself but I struggle to comprehend the meaning.  The words cause a mental block and I cannot fathom a visual.  My mind says, “Those words do not belong together,” and it violently rejects them!

“Someone is making a lacy bra and panty set for my four year old baby girl!?!  Who in the (censored) thought of this?  Why do they have a(censored) job?  Why do they have a (censored) place to live?  As a matter of fact, why are they still (censored) breathing?”  Instantly, I conjure images of leading an angry mob complete with torches and pitchforks up to this company’s front door.

A follow up to the post includes information about Thylane Lena Rose Blondeau.  She is a 10 year old model featured all laid out in French Vogue.  Go ahead and dismiss me as an overly fearful helicopter parent who hovers too protectively over my daughter.  Based on the image of Thylane, it looks as if she needs a mother or at least one adult in her life to get their helicopter on!

“We have to do something about this!  We can no longer sit by and pretend we don’t see darkness!  It is our job to be the light,” I cry out to my empty living room!  (For the record, the sofa looked pissed and the coffee table was ready to take it the streets!)

Little girls always emulate their mothers.  I clopped around in my mom’s stilettos with her purse hanging from my shoulder down to my knees.  My little girl swipes a squirt of my perfume when no one is looking and has been discovered in the midst of rummaging through my makeup case to see all the goodies inside. Emulating is a normal, healthy way for a child to discover who they are and where they fit.

But, my friends let us not confuse a child emulating adults with adults who sexualize children.  Sexualizing a child is an act forced upon a child.  It is molestation through images.  IT IS SEXUAL ABUSE!

When an 8 year old can have a “push up” bikini top, a 6 year old can have “Shape-Up” sneakers, and a 4 year old can have a bra, we ALL have a problem.   We pass laws about what adult can marry what other adult but on this, we do NOTHING?  We must stop pretending we do not see the darkness that stares us right in the face.  The darkness of the world counts on us “regular people” to do NOTHING!  I say, we can do better and we must!

I do not need to tell you the companies guilty of these crimes against our babies.  You already know them.  You see their ads and shutter.  You wince and resolve yourself to make sure it never happens to your child.  We shake our heads knowing some mixed up adult (who should not have been able to procreate) will buy this for their child, but we take comfort in saying, “But not my kid!” Well here’s what we have been overlooking.  ALL OF THEM ARE OUR CHILDREN!

From this moment forward, I refuse to buy from stores that use sexualized child models to promote their products.  I refuse to buy from vendors who make products that sexualize children, even if the product I need to purchase does not.  I refuse to purchase any publications by the publishing company that distributes any such questionable material.

STARVE THEM TO DEATH!

Will my one woman boycott change the world and stop the growing number of pedophiles feasting on the flesh and spirits of our babies?  No.  I am not naïve.  But this is my chance to look in the face of daughter and say, “With all of my power, I am trying to create the type of world you deserve to inherit!”