Of course, I have no way being certain, but I guesstimate that I am somewhere in the middle of my life. Whether we are referring to a game, a workout or life; there is something that defines the halfway point. It seems to be a logical time to look back, to look ahead, and to contemplate next steps.
Being still, being quiet—just being — aren’t amongst my strengths. But God has always found a way to creatively shut me up and shut me down.
Quite by surprise and completely due to a blessing, I found myself in God’s den, the Masai Mara in Kenya. This is where God has housed his most treasured creations: animals that weigh 5,000 pounds — yet still move like a principal dancer with the Royal Ballet; pond-mates and field-mates, who aren’t the same species and don’t speak the same language; yet communicate well into the night; birds that are larger than mammals; and a place where it seems that the sun touches the tips of a giraffe’s ears and bear hugs the tallest mountains.
I arrived there and was immediately silenced, as my senses had too much to do, too much to process. Who knew there were that many variations of orange? Were the hippos laughing? As I was soaking it all in; I was also unconsciously figuring some things out. God brought me here, to a place void of my typical distraction to remind me of some old lessons and to teach me some new ones.
We Really Aren’t That Important
We spend a lot of time thinking about ourselves—don’t we? We view the world with ourselves (and our families) at the center.
For instance, unconsciously and embarrassingly, I expected when I went to the Masai Mara for the guides to drive around to show me areas specific to various animals—somewhat like a zoo, no gates, but fairly organized. Quickly, I learned that I was in merely an uninvited, insignificant guest in these animals’ home. The animals didn’t even look up to acknowledge my presence.
I was no more significant to them than a blade of grass.
The world — in its pureness — will function with or without us. The sun is going to rise and set If we take that job, break up with that guy, file bankruptcy, sell the car, gain 20 pounds, wear that outfit again, or not. Life is so much larger than us.
So, relax. Nothing that you are doing or not doing is that big of a deal.
Spend some time figuring out who and what genuinely is important to you and spend your time there.
We Are Perfect
While we aren’t all that important; we are perfect. You are God’s perfect creation—one of his many masterpieces. Every species in the Masai Mara has a sense of nobility: from the wart hog to the Lion. The giraffe isn’t walking around wondering if her neck is too long and the hippos aren’t concerned with their weight. The ostrich is not attempting to mimic the storks’ sound. Each creature is comfortable with who they are. Now that is true freedom. Now I have to know that if God said that in the Masai Mara 570 species of birds are meant to be; and 60 species of mammals are meant to be; and 6,000 pound hippos are meant to be; and Zebras with coats as individual as the human fingerprint were meant to be; then me with all my quirks and you with all of yours were meant to be too. We are perfect. We are as God intended us to be.
I Understand Why People Meditate
God speaks to us all of the time. She tells us our truth; yet we are constantly agonizing over decisions. We spend countless hours talking with friends about what we should do; reading self-help books; copying what friends do because we don’t trust ourselves or our instincts. We just need to remember that inner voice is God and not allow it to get drowned out by everybody else. They don’t know better than you do—or rather than God does. Just shut them out and tune in. That’s what the Masai Mara forced me to do.
Most Things Are Simple
Time is our most valuable asset. We know this, but we spend time more frivolously than money (with people we don’t want, on causes we don’t care about, at jobs we hate, in relationships that make us unhappy) as if we have an endless supply. We don’t. The animals live aware that death is always possible and their time is limited. Accordingly, they seem to do exactly as they desire.
A lot of us spend a lot of time doing things that we don’t want to do for reasons we think are important for reasons we think are important. Ask yourself: do I have to? Do I want to? Then take all of the free time you have and put it toward the things and people that are important to you. It’s life changing. It’s simple.
In the Masai Marai, there is nothing, but everything. There is not one modern convenience, but all God’s greatest creations, including you. And you realize that’s all you need. You realize that you are enough; just how God designed you is perfect; and all you need to do for the next half of this journey is walk in the direction what you deem important in the company of those who you love. And the world will say, Amen.
My intention is for Black people to love themselves and each other. It sounds somewhat silly, I guess; but oftentimes my people are overwhelmed with negative images, bad news, and stereotyped characters about us. I’d like to flip that script. I’d like to remind us, as often as I can, how incredible we are. Read more