The raging flood outside was up to her waist and it came up to her son’s shoulders.
Some water had already seeped into their home, and the door that stood between them and total internal flooding was only being held by the little boy’s hands and the back of his mom. His eyes searched his mom’s face for signs that it’ll be alright. She showed it by leaning harder against the door.
Water pressure pushed the door open a bit and some water shoved its way inside but the boy pushed back, holding the door closed for just a little while more. They’re tired. They’re asking for help and rescue. This boy has neither the strength of muscle nor of mind to handle this type of pressure all night long. At some point he will kneel. At some point he will sit. At some point there will be no energy left.
I don’t know how that story ended, but it was one of the gut-churning Facebook Live videos that I watched from a family in my hometown, St. Thomas, United States Virgin Islands during the landfall of hurricane Irma.
Hurricane Irma, “you Son of a B*tch!!!” Hurricane season, I’m speaking to you too!
As a historically displaced African born in the Caribbean, and for many other Caribs and Americans, it seems like the Atlantic Ocean continues to be the bearer of bad news for us. Beating against our doors of self-reliance, security and existence; threatening our safety and happiness.
We don’t want to be overtaken! And for as long as these floods have been around, pursuing the same door, our cause is far from being merely light and transient.
Mama Africa held the door with us but some floods came in; her son is tired and at first he sat but now he kneels. He is not getting weaker. He is getting stronger.
Yet, this flood is relentless! “Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated Injury”.
But the very scriptures that were usurped through cultural hegemony to place us in servitude are the very spirituals we pull from when it says, “….When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him….” (Isaiah 59:18-21)
That standard is humanity’s resilience in the times of catastrophe to choose Love over hate, Truth over wrongs and Unity over division. Not even in God is there a stronger standard. We just hope that that standard extends further than our selective tragedies. But until that day, the son battles the pressure of the waves.
There is something in this universe that justified Abraham Joshua Heschel remarking, “Yet there is a deadly poison that inflames the eye, making us see the generality of race but not the uniqueness of the human face.”
This hurricane season, like Heschel’s quote, the eyes are well defined and yes they are deadly but we are stronger because we outlast it!!
Surge as it will, we outlast it!!!
Blow as it does, we outlast it!!!
Displace as it tends to do, we still survive!!!
“Son, I know that your arms are soaking wet and your hands are sliding off the door, but still lean against it. I know your legs are weary from fighting against the normalization of this burden, but continue your attempt to dislodge it from your shoulders. So if you can’t stand, sit; if you can’t sit, kneel; if you can’t kneel, cry; if you can’t cry, write, but whatever you do stay by that door! Never accept being The Invisible Man.” – Mama Africa (speaking to her child – humanity – about its hope, Love)
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