Reggae in Heaven

Doesn’t some music just say home to you?

Now, don’t laugh…but Reggae always speaks soothingly of home to me. Spending my summers in Bimini meant that I absorbed the music and rhythms of those around me.

Whenever I hear some of my favorites, I am instantly transported. I think of The Lady Up On The Hill who made the Johnny cakes and Bimini Bread on the other side of the island, or of the dances done at Brother Ozzie’s downtown bar to “Come Back MaryAnn”, or the radio tuned to reggae as the islanders cracked open the newly fished conchs for all of the tourists.

The music was everywhere. It flooded my soul almost as much as the summer sunshine did.

Reggae makes me relish those innocent summers when I played with the dozens of stray puppies without worry for where they would end up.  I miss doing the ring toss in Brown’s Bar downstairs from the hotel, without concern for anything other than how much candy we’d be overloaded with for all of our wins.  I fondly remember dancing with the Islanders, whose only aim was to teach a young lady how to keep time and rhythm to the flow of the island music.

To this day, put some Bob Marley on and I am instantly taken back to that time and place where I was free from stereotypes and ran the island with all of the other children that called Bimini “home”. That music reminds me that there was a time when there were no adult worries beyond what to rustle up for dinner amongst the things that were freshly caught in the waters that day.

Yup. I’m pretty sure there will be Reggae in Heaven.

Three little birds told me so.

Yes indeedy.

Bimini

What music takes you back?

I Need To Remember

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I’ve been giving My Story quite a bit of thought lately.  We all have one. Some of us long to share ours. Some hide it deep in the recesses of our hearts, hoping that we never have to.  And still others seem to be able to tell theirs with abandon.

Which one are you?

God seems to be settling the weight of my task more firmly in my heart. Those Petal Soft Whispers are coming more and more frequently.  Through them, He’s been making it abundantly clear that I am to bring my story to Him, first.  I can honestly state that I am well and truly scared.  I need to remember that Perfect Love casts out fear.

Why do I struggle so mightily to step out in faith, in defiance of that fear?

Sifting through memories places me squarely in the sinking sand of emotions.  I find myself getting stuck on a particular period of time, and then on an exact year, and eventually, I feel like I’m sinking in the quicksand of a Specific Memory. I need to remember that God can pull me out.

Who is my solid rock on which I stand?

I’m at the point where I’m weeding through the parts of my story that aren’t mine to tell.  Obviously, my story can only be told from the perspective of the very heart that taps out the words.  But, I’ve started fretting over the wording of certain thoughts for fear of offending.  I need to remember to heed God’s whispers, not those of men.

If God is for me, whom shall I fear?

I’m going into the deepest darkest places.  But here’s the thing – God keeps shining the light of His truth into those places as I continue to learn to trust Him.  He keeps banishing the fear that tries so desperately to cripple me. My trust becomes more fully formed the more He loves me. I need to remember that it’s a matter of eternal perspective.

How do I refocus on the eternal in the midst of the daily?

It would seem, for me anyway, that this is also a maturing process.  The more words I present to my Audience of One to be sifted through, the more I realize that He has lessons for me that I haven’t mastered yet. I continually have to go back to Square One and ask Him to keep maturing me. I must keep asking Him to fill me with more Love to drive out the fear.  I need to remember that He is a Patient and Merciful Teacher.

How do I learn those lessons more quickly, Teacher?

At the end of the day, my only job is to submit what I feel He’s allowed me to see.  Those glimpses of heaven I’ve been given, here, on earth.  Those insights into grace seen on this side of glory.  Each piece of my story that I bring to God, He tenderly shapes and edits to fit His good purposes.  I need to remember that it is His Story, after all.

What about you? Do you long to tell your story?

May I encourage you to start getting it down?  Or to keep putting it down?  Or to bravely step out, with story in hand, knowing that if God’s been laying it on your heart to share it – then He will use it for His glory.

Or, maybe the desire of your heart isn’t quite fully formed in you. Yet.  I’d like to encourage you to keep praying for your desire to line up with God’s will until it becomes clear.

The truth is, that none of us, no – not a one, is fully formed yet.  We are all a work in progress.  Whatever that work may be.

And our job is to trust, but be ready. We must wait, while holding tight to the belief that God will reveal all in His perfect timing.  Not ours.

Oh Lord, form us fully in Your Love and help us to see Your Light in our story.

What Mama Did

You might be wondering, “Um, Missy, is this still Five Minute Friday?”.  I know, I know.  I like to shake things up once in a while.  This actually still is a Five Minute Friday post.  It’s Lisa-Jo that’s shaking things up a bit this week. And I like it!  She has been highlighting four very different writer-friends’ posts on the theme of “What Mama Did” each day, this week.  Each writer has shared a Mama Memory and how their lives were touched because of it.  You really, really should go check them out! Each one is so very good and unique. Click here to walk down Memory Lane with them. And click the button below to read some other memories.  I’ll just bet you connect with one or nine of them by reading’s end! (And I can’t help but wonder how many tender phone calls will go on today, or soon, between mother and daughter or son. I’d love to be a fly on the phone lines to hear. Oh, I would.)

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Here is my own contribution:

WHAT MAMA DID

Go…

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I think my facial expression captures “Teen Angst” perfectly, no?

Journals and diaries never held all that much appeal to me when I was a preteen. Does that shock you?  I knew they were a great place to store all of your angst and sorrow and bubbling expectation.  I did.  But I never seemed to be able to write in them with any consistency.  And I liked consistency. I craved it.

When we are young, we don’t understand why our mothers might foist their own desires for success or perfection or popularity upon us.  When we, too, become mothers, understanding dawns brightly.  And sometimes, too brightly.

The Nana might not be aware of it, but I was watching her, like a hawk, as I grew up into the woman that I am today.  I have many things to thank her for; but the one that might surprise her most, is my love for writing. And for one particularly heart-wrenching experience that I had with a writing of her own.

As a teen, our relationship was especially tumultuous. Especially.  Her desires for me to live out my days in a manner that would allow her to feel a sense of accomplishment burdened me. I struggled mightily to make sense of my own existence, let alone that of my mother.

This particular day that I am remembering, my passionate mother and my equally passionate father engaged in one horrific verbal battle that seemed, to my 15 years, epic and final.  The whole house was fraught with tension.  She left.  It felt like days.  Rehashing this particular episode with her, as an adult, she claims she was only gone for hours.  It felt like days.

I was going through the hope chest in the guest bedroom. This wasn’t just any old hope chest.  This wooden chest was deep and long and could fit a man’s body inside of it. Easily.  I sometimes, as a young child, would walk by it very quickly, just sure that a person would jump up out of it and snatch me away.

But this chest held things far more precious than a body.  The Nana’s wedding dress.  Baby dresses that I did not know she felt sentimental enough to keep. Snips of first haircuts.  Teeth, that I had mistakenly believed the Tooth Fairy possessed. Scraps of quilts that had promise but were never realized.

And a journal.

Buried deep, underneath the piles of fabric and clothes and baby casts and shoes, was a journal.  My mother’s.

I’d never dared to look at it before.  I’d never dared see what her heart was crying out about.  I suppose, I didn’t really want to know.

I did this day.

As I searched through the chest, I became frantic with the need to know what she had written that made her tuck it, furtively, into the chest and then storm out of the house.

What I read in that journal, while she was gone, brought confusion and pain into an already confused and pained teenage existence.

And in that moment, I realized the power of the written word.

From that very day onward, I knew that a word written with every ounce of the emotion with which it is felt, is powerful.

And I began my own journaling, in earnest, right then and there.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I must go call my mother.  And thank her.