I have always loved Bob Marley and this song was always stirring. Recently, I took the time to learn the true meaning behind the lyrics. They are somewhat prophetic and have become transcendent of race alone.
“We are going to emancipate ourselves from mental slavery because whilst others might free the body, none but ourselves can free the mind. Mind is your only ruler, sovereign. The man who is not able to develop and use his mind is bound to be the slave of the other man who uses his mind…”
Those lines were taken from a speech given by Marcus Garvey in Nova Scotia during October 1937 and published in his Black Man magazine
Bob Marley made them iconic in 1979…
“I carried Bob Marley’s Redemption Song to every meeting I had with a politician, prime minister, or president. It was for me a prophetic utterance or as Bob would say ‘the small ax that could fell the big tree.’ The song reminded me that freedom always comes with a cost, but for those who would prepare to pay it, maybe ‘emancipation from mental slavery’ would be our reward.”
I began looking for God to show me a sign, a sign he was present and real. I began looking a long time ago; perhaps, when I was twelve or thirteen. We all ask for signs, don’t we? And, quite often we see them. Maybe you ask God to show you a sign regarding a big decision in life. You pray. Then you ask, and sure enough a butterfly appears, or a cricket chirps loudly. Or, maybe a bus honks it’s very loud horn as a car cuts it off right in front of you. BOOM! You just got your sign right?
There is a TV show I am very fond of. I never grow tired of watching each episode. I just love this show. If you don’t know, ask me and I will tell you. But for now I only wish to reference a story once told by a priest in this show. I am paraphrasing but you will get the idea:
‘A man lives on the edge of a river. His friend who is a fireman stops by to give him some alarming news. The river is going to flood and he must move further back, uphill. The man tells his friend, “I believe in God, if the river is going to flood, he will give me a sign.” And, so his friend goes away. Next the town priest comes along and says, “Friend! Come away with us. The river is going to flood! You will be washed away!” The man tells the priest, “I believe in God, he will give me a sign if I need to move. He will save me.” The priest says a prayer with the man and leaves. Sure enough, the waters began to rise. The man’s home started to flood and he climbed to his roof. Along came a helicopter and one of the crew yelled down while dropping a ladder, “Climb the ladder! We are here to rescue you. The flooding will get worse!” The man waived the helicopter off and said if he was truly in harm, God would give him a sign. “I will be fine.” He said, and was suddenly washed away and drowned. When he reached heaven, he asked the Lord, “God, I believed in you. I prayed to you. Why didn’t you give me a sign I was truly in danger? The Lord responded, “I sent you a fireman, a priest, and even a helicopter! How many signs did you need?’
I found my sign a long time ago. Street lights. Every time I see a street light flicker, go out, or come back on as I am passing, I know that is God. Maybe it’s just faulty wiring or an old bulb. But, I prefer to believe it is God letting me know he is there, watching over me. I don’t look to streetlights for answers. I learned early on it doesn’t help. That isn’t the way it works. That would be Easy Street. I don’t speak with any authority here, but in my humble opinion, God will always let us know he is with us if we ask him to. But, it is up to us to choose left or right, up or down, good or bad. If God just gave everything to us every time we asked for it, what would be the point of life? Really! What would be the point?
I am also confident in my belief that regret is a waste of time. To be clear, if I sin or if I do harm, I do regret that action, and often feel sadness or shame. What I mean is I am who I am, and you are who you are, right now, because of each and every decision or action we have experienced in our linear lives. Perhaps my thinking on this will change if we ever learn how to control time. But I doubt it.
In the meantime, I would just like to say thank you. Thank you to each and every person I know and love. Hey, thanks for some of those folks that I am not so crazy about too. Like, that nice lady in the silver Cadillac who failed to yield to the off-ramp traffic (me) and then spouted out a few colorful phrases while also providing SIGN language. I got the message…I love you too, Lady.
We are all struggling. There is always an obstacle, an unpleasant task, a heart crushing loss. There will always be pain, and there will always be sadness. The amazing part is there will also always be hope, peace, love, and joy. There is one very very simple ingredient to life that can bring all of that beauty. Just one little thing that we can share with each other so that together we can feel the warmth and light of God’s love, and love for one another…
Reset your clock peeps.
To LT. Joe and Lena, congratulations on your wedding and good luck in New Mexico.
To Lars, Dude! No, I don’t make money while you have a ten minute conversation with the back door of my car open, one foot in, one foot out. But you did apologize and Lars is a cool name so, it’s all good.
Honorable mention tonight goes to my last rider, Omar. Omar, you sir, are hilarious. For the entire 22 minute trip, I only understood two words while you spoke almost the whole ride. Son, Tequila is for grown-ups. Next time stick to beer.
Sometimes you get knocked down. No matter what you do, things beyond your control can take you down. Last weekend I was knocked down with a medical issue that had me in the hospital for 3 days. I am ok, but have. Had a lingering effect that has limited my physical activity and even kept me from driving some.
Depression doesn’t reveal itself in sorrow. It would not reveal itself at low times. Why would it need to. I was already right where it wanted me to be. No, it was in the halcyonic moments that depression found me. Even now, now that I am aware of it, now that I can control it, it still attempts to damage my calm.
A great way to control depression is to keep moving. That nasty shadow then has to chase you. Spending time in a hospital bed or even my own bed is tough. It means the shadow can catch up and start meddling again.
This is also tough because my health issues are affecting other people. It becomes harder and more stressful for Mindy. Plus at times when I can’t drive, it leaves us in a tough spot financially. It becomes difficult not to take things personally and feel like a burden. I know I am not a burden. But, the situation is still stressful.
I try not to ask for prayers for myself, with so many people out there who are struggling, so many people starving or living in war or terror. But, I sure could use some prayers. Really, not for me so much as for Mindy and the kids. I am working to overcome this recent setback and will hopefully be back to full health soon.
I firmly believe in prayer. I firmly believe God has my back. So, I am telling that shadow to shove it! This too will pass. I am back on the road tonight. I hope to have a productive evening and meet some wonderful people.
Focus on love. Slow down. Let go of your anger and be joyful and kind.
“And love in thought. Love in the words. Love in the songs they sing in the church. And no hard feelings. Lord knows they haven’t done Much good for anyone. Kept me afraid and cold With so much to have and hold.”
A friend and fellow music lyrics explorer recently reminded how powerful this song is. It has long been one of my favorites and I use it for reflection. Reflection is important when trying to figure out how to move forward. What I have learned is, reflection is nowhere near as important as living for today. If you don’t, you won’t be open to God’s plan for you and the true beauty in your life.
I have been blessed with four incredible children. Jake, Katie, Leia, and Ben. I hope I can instill that lesson into their lives and make sure they know one other little bit of wisdom:
When you are confused or in a dark place, music is a powerful beacon of light. God will help you through. And if you ever get lost, call your old man. I will bring you home.
Today is day 9 of recovery for me and today is a good day. Make it count!