I am by nature a quiet soul. I love the quietness of the morning, of the evening, and of the night. It was very noisy growing up but mostly in good memorable ways. I liked growing up with all of my brothers and my sister in the house. And when they were older, sometimes they came back home as they got their lives together. They were much older than my younger brother and I. That to me is good noise in memorable ways. I was shy. I was quiet. I could sit outside for hours on the porch or lay on a towel on the patio staring at the sky until I was told to come in. So, as I began to have to “speak” in front of people in church and in school, I began to develop my voice and muster up courage. As I was required to write essays or answer “what do you think questions?” in school, I was force to share my opinions. When asked to write short stories or poems, I was forced to share my true thoughts and opinions.
I was quiet but, I was a rebel. I realized I didn’t give typical answers. I realized I had some sort of wisdom that the teachers marveled at. I gave my Sunday school teachers something to think about. I read the Bible for fun and talked to God about some of the fascinating stuff in there and some of the scary stuff. I asked questions. I asked so many questions my dad was sometimes stumped and he had to look things up and get back with me an answer. “But why?” I would ask. “What if?” is another lead in. In church, preachers would visit to preach and if their sermons were boring, I would read the Bible or draw. Sometimes, a preacher would preach and I would say to myself, “Uh, I don’t think that’s what God meant, but okay. I’m just a kid.” And then there were those that were DYNAMIC. They came with research and insight. Those are the ones that honed their craft and studied to show themselves approved, not for clout.
As I grew up, I became more rebellious towards the norm. I wasn’t normal as a black child with natural red hair. I had to learn to live with that. I had to learn how to be seen and stared at. I was fashionably rebellious. If everyone was doing it, wearing it, I wore it different or not at all. As soon as it went out of style or trend, I brought it back with “my style” added to it. If the crowd went left, I went right or at least questioned why are we going left? I needed to KNOW. I needed to KNOW many things. What does that word mean? My dad, “Look it up.” READ. I love to read. I love to know. This rebelliousness, lead me down some twisted roads coupled with my stubbornness and I was met with some very, very BIG LESSONS. Until, I heard God say to me, “Use your rebelliousness for me.” And that is where GOOD TROUBLE began to grow. (Note: Even at work I was known as “Trouble” because I challenged policies, supervisors, managers, and even H. R. I hated the mistreatment of others and the misuse and abuse of authority).
I laugh when I think that this quiet girl by nature, was created to make some noise and to get into some good trouble. It’s funny as I am now coming into some confidence to SPEAK what I think and how I feel about Christianity and spirituality. I mean, men have been doing it since the beginning of time. I wonder how many women philosophers there were back in A.D. and B.C. that never got the exposure that men did. (As I type that, I am not going to research that lol). Maybe at the watering holes and rivers they could share with each other their TRUE thoughts and FEELINGS. The wisdom we will never know, yet I would like to think it was whispered to their daughters and sons.
I’ll never forget a minister telling me that I was “controversial” and I should stop being that way and just preach. I told him Jesus was controversial and he did more than “just preach”. He thought. He taught. He upset the scholars. He upset the religious. He shook things up. He healed. He delivered. Etc. He was crucified for being who he was created to be, yet he rose up from that death (darkness) and successfully completed his mission. Here I was thinking, that we should be like Jesus as a Christian. I wasn’t made to just preach. I don’t even like that word. I like teaching. I like speaking. I don’t like titles, either. I don’t like boxes and I’m not fund of rules that attempt to box me in. And let me say this, when it comes to the notion that we should be “like” Jesus, we cannot be like Jesus as in the sense of copying his personality and his exact mission. It was his. Being like him, should be understood as having the same or similar morals and values, doing what God has called you to do, and mirroring the God like, Jesus like characteristics. I have turning over table tendencies. I have drawing my sword and using it tendencies like Peter. I have war like vibes like David. I have Lydia goals. I have Vashti rebelliousness. I reach for Jael nerves if an enemy comes to the house.
Everyone is called to make some noise in their “own way” and to get into some “good trouble” and that takes guts for some of us timid by nature people. I don’t know if I could have done what those like John Lewis and Rosa Parks did. I do think I would have been who I am. Somewhere behind the scenes, strategizing and organizing. I don’t think I could have been Harriet Tubman. But I would have been one to follow her for my freedom. I think I would have hid slaves for sure if I was white. I think I would have use my privilege at the expense of the hatred and disowning of my family. Making noise and good trouble cost and I am willing to pay the price. I pay the price with side eyes of men and women in ministry. I pay the price by being called, “not a real Christian” and not being invited to speak at some churches (and I am good with that). I like my freedom to move about and to be among the people. I like service and to have my hands dirty in creating change. I don’t mind being Queen but, I don’t need to have my crown on 24/7. It’s for special occasions. Not for every day grit and grind. It’s not for construction work. Some just want to the crown for the jewels, power, and position to fulfill their egos or to band aid their bullet wounds of insecurity. I am mostly, wow, this crown is pretty!. I like it. Do I have to wear it every day? No. I like the crown of humility adorned with humanity, compassion, love, peace, empathy and sympathy. It’s invisible as it sits on the head and can only be seen through words and actions of the heart.
As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” (Romans 10:14-15)
One thought on “Sunday Morning Coffee Musings: Good Trouble”
I saw John Lewis speak once. You might expect that he would be inspirational, or maybe dismissive. He was neither. Speaking to a group of young adults he told us we had a chance to make a difference, and he promised that we did not take, we were no better than the worst Klan member.
It took me by surprise. Not uplifting, not positive but very real. I hope I am better than the worst Klan member in Mr. Lewis’s eyes. I hope.