Hearing that Call…

Seems like just when you get to questioning if you are on the right path, God’s got a funny way of pulling you back and making sure you understand what you are doing is right (or wrong). Of course, this only works if you are open to “hearing the call” and you are listening for it. When we first started this journey more than a decade ago, we didn’t know where it would lead. Heck, it took a while before we even recognized it as a journey – and not just one random trip to Jamaica for our honeymoon. The first “call” I heard was on the plane ride back to Charlotte from Montego Bay in April 2003. On the plane, I shed tears (I am TOTALLY not a crier…so this is a big deal!) for the family I was leaving; the family I had only met a week before and knew for seven days of my then 23 years. The family that showed me the love of people and community, and outstretched their arms to my husband and I as newcomers to that community.

Trucks

The first call I heard was “no worries…you’re coming back”. Since that first plane ride back to our other “home” in North Carolina, we’ve been blessed to get back and forth to visit our Jamaican family many times over the years. This coming August we’ll make our sixth visit back to the place where we spent our first week together as husband and wife. It’s changed a lot since then; people have mobile phones, Facebook and the power doesn’t (always) go out every night with the blowing wind. And, in some ways it hasn’t; there are roadside stands where farmers and fishermen sell fresh fish, fruits and veggies. There’s a community of people who know and love each other and build their togetherness up every day, every week.

Goats

Back to this call I heard. This past week, T.J. treated me to some theatre: playwright Katori Hall’s “The Mountaintop”, performed at Triad Stage in Greensboro. (The story revolves around Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the last night of his life in the Lorraine Motel. If you have a chance to see this two-person performance – here or anywhere – you should, it was life-changing!) We found parking a few blocks away and as we walked towards the theater, ironically (or maybe not so) we passed by the old F. W. Woolworth building where the lunch counter sit-ins happened in the late 1960’s to stand against segregation, and which is now the home of the International Civil Rights Center.

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Upon arriving at the theater Bob Marley played over the outdoor speakers as we entered the main doors. It might seem strange to you, dear reader, that Bob Marley’s reggae music signals the “calls” that I (and T.J., and a number of other Building Jamaica team members) hear coming from the Most High (that’s God, for all ya’ll Southern Christians 😉 ) but it’s true, and it happens as a somewhat normal occurrence these days. But this particular one was special. See, I have lately been a little unsteady in my direction with this work to improve a place not on U.S. soil. With all the turmoil and need here in the States, I question if I am supposed to pour my self and my time into a “foreign” country’s needs. This particular “call” was Marley’s “Redemption Song”. In this tune, Marley sings of freedom from slavery, past, present and future; physical, mental and emotional. Hearing the song, then experiencing the theatrical production that followed, hit home that the human inequalities which Dr. King began fighting against are still present today – and are global, not only in MY immediate backyard, but beyond. And so, the baton of unity and love must be picked up and carried, to all the ends of the earth. GAME ON.

“Redemption Song”

Old pirates, yes, they rob I;
Sold I to the merchant ships,
Minutes after they took I
From the bottomless pit.
But my hand was made strong
By the ‘and of the Almighty.
We forward in this generation
Triumphantly.
Won’t you help to sing
These songs of freedom? –
‘Cause all I ever have:
Redemption songs;
Redemption songs.Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery;
None but ourselves can free our minds.
Have no fear for atomic energy,
‘Cause none of them can stop the time.
How long shall they kill our prophets,
While we stand aside and look? Ooh!
Some say it’s just a part of it:
We’ve got to fulfil de book.Won’t you help to sing
These songs of freedom? –
‘Cause all I ever have:
Redemption songs;
Redemption songs;
Redemption songs.Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery;
None but ourselves can free our mind.
Wo! Have no fear for atomic energy,
‘Cause none of them-a can-a stop-a the time.
How long shall they kill our prophets,
While we stand aside and look?
Yes, some say it’s just a part of it:
We’ve got to fulfill the book.
Won’t you help to sing
These songs of freedom? –
‘Cause all I ever had:
Redemption songs –
All I ever had:
Redemption songs:
These songs of freedom,
Songs of freedom.

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