Cleaning Out the Attic II

(The following poem is one I wrote for a church event. The theme was “community” so that is where this piece is coming from. What I find amazing is that it was written last year, but it is still relevant to what’s going on today.)

MAKING GARDENS OUT OF CESSPOOLS

Eve,
Eve
What are you doing, Eve?

Just my personal thoughts
On what God
Might have thought
The day Eve listened to the serpent
And ate of forbidden fruit

And Adam,
I wonder what went through his mind
As he stood there watching Eve
He partaking as they devoured
From the very tree
God told them not to touch

And then what they must have said
To themselves
After it was over
After it was all
Said
And done

It’s not enough
It’s never enough for us, is it?

God gave them an entire garden
Filled with plenty of things to eat
With exception to one tree
And yet
We find ourselves unhappy
Until we have it all
Including the things God said
Are off limits

It all brings me to another point

When we see our brothers
And sisters in Christ
Falling away to the temptations of sin
And other things
Why don’t we ever reach out to them?

Too often
We find ourselves saying

Not my problem

Kids shooting up kids
Not my problem
Young girls having multiple abortions
And twice as many sexual partners
Not my problem
Bills going sky high
Crime rate
On the rise
Cities on the brink of destruction
Gangs taking over
Like it’s another world war revolution
People fleeing into boarders
Because there’s no peace in their country

And all the while
Not my problem, not my problem

But when the problem becomes our problem
And the beginning
Of what leads to major issues
Arises
And comes knocking on the door
Staring us down in our faces
We become reactive
When we should have been pro-active
Arguing about
Pro-life or pro-choice
But saints
Last I checked we are supposed to be
Pro-action
All this praying
And we are still nestled comfortably
In our houses
Including myself

Perhaps
It would help
To enter into a classroom
And see what a teacher has to go through these days
No real authority
Just a whole lot of children
And a whole lot of calamities ahead
Miguel and Deshawn have to pass a test
But they can’t even tell you what they just read

Yet again
I hear the whispers
Not my problem, not my problem

Are we no longer our brother’s keeper?
What has happened to us?
Have we all fallen for the lie,
As did I,
That this—
This is all a part of God’s will?
The end is near
So it’s every man for themselves, is that right?
I just wanted to be clear
Just wanted to make sure I understood you

They said
It’s take a village to raise a child
We have more than enough people here
To make ten villages
Yet still
Children are treated like castaways
I don’t care if that kid ends up becoming
Another statistic
It’s what he was meant to be anyway
Long as it’s not my child
What’s the point?
It’s not as if they value anything these days
Let them struggle!
Let them drown!
One less thing to worry about

As if you were all that concerned
Because they were never
YOUR problem
In the first place,
Right?

Have you ever looked at a mugshot
And pondered about that person’s childhood?
How they grew up,
What their life was like,
And how on earth they got there?

I have

Then I think about all those kids I wrote off
When I subbed for them
When I brushed by them in passing
Before then
I thought
Lord,
My child will not be like this
I refuse!
I know because I’ll raise my child right

Assuming that their parent
Or parents
Were not doing
The best they could

I assumed that

And now after all that pondering
I’m not so sure
What to think
Anymore
But as for my name
Being on the list of people
Who gave up on those kids
Well
It has not been completely removed

I wonder
Have you ever
Saw a homeless man
Or woman
And became curious about their life?
I couldn’t possibly fathom
What it would mean
To never know
What a warm bed and a hot meal
Is like
To never experience
The enjoyment of basic necessities
Such as
Brushing your teeth
Combing and washing your hair
Taking a shower
Wearing clean clothes
And being able
To wash the ones you dirtied up

I saw a woman walking
And another with a male companion
And I asked myself
Do you suppose that they were always homeless?
I wonder what led to them ending up here
Sleeping under overpasses
And panhandling for change?

Do you think
They will ever get to have
A home of their own
Or will it always be this way?

I wonder if they’ve eaten anything today?

I do a lot of thinking
And pondering as you can tell
But I have yet to reach into my pocket
Or a cupboard
And give them some assistance

We pat ourselves on the back
On Thanksgiving and Christmas
When we donate to the food drives
We clap for ourselves
When we gather up and give away
But people eat more than twice a year
I’m not saying you should make it your ministry
But
God did say
The poor you will have with you always
So
Where is your generosity then?
Where is your generosity
When mothers are sleeping on the street
With their young children
Because the shelter was too full
And couldn’t afford to take anymore in?

I could ask you many things
But I’d have to ask myself the same questions

A house divided against itself
Cannot stand

If we are a body
A community of foot soldiers for the Lord
The we ought to be shaking
And moving this place
Yet nothing is being done
Everyone wants to be
Left alone
I don’t have time
To bother with other people’s problems, we say,
I’ve got my own

And that seems to be
The biggest problem of all
It’s never our problem
Until we believe it became ours
When really and truly
It was ours all along

We pray the same prayers
And sing the same songs
But change won’t come
Until we take up our crosses
Until we are ready
To bear arms in the Lord
And fight for what’s right
And take back what was given to us
Our children
Our peace
Our lives
Our sanctuaries
Our salvation
Our homes
Our people
All our people

Community
Coming together as one
But if we remain divided
We shall all fall
And burn with the rest of them
Blood is on all of our hands
And we will be held accountable for that
Don’t think that you won’t

Don’t you dare make that mistake

It’s time to take up our cross, church
And walk

God spoke the world into existence
Where there was nothing but void
And darkness
He brought forth light

Surely,
Surely you must believe
That the same God
Who created all of this
Is more than capable
Of turning this cesspool of wayward strangers
Into a beautiful garden
Of choice people
Made for His glory?

Let me remind you
He is more than able
And though Satan wrecks havoc
God’s desire
Is not to see His children perish
In the fire
What He desires
Is a garden
Of flowers
Radiant and exquisite
In holy-filled beauty
From inside-out

He gave us the tools
Said go
One plants
One waters
And I will increase

But there will be no increase
If our will to hope
For a better tomorrow
Has ceased

Do not fear
For God is with you
Now go
And do the work that God has given you
Do the work, o’ ye children
Go
And do the work, carry out the mission

See how God will fulfill the vision

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