Blackademically BloggingOn this day, one year ago, I experienced one of my life’s greatest blows. Losing a parent is as painful as it gets! My daddy’s transition into eternity delicately placed him amongst our ancestors. In spite of his physical absence, however, his spiritual presence ministers to me quite often. At the start of this year (2011), my dad’s voice and presence heavily dominated my thoughts. Obviously I think of my daddy daily, but this was quite “unusual”. I recall waking up one morning with heavy thoughts of him. I literally stopped in the middle of my bedroom and said, “Daddy, what are you trying to tell me?” Feeling sort of mystified about what it all meant, I went on with my day realizing that something was happening. What was it? Within a matter of moments, out of nowhere, I heard in my spirit, “go back!” Interesting, I thought. What was I supposed to “go back’ to?
Over the next days / weeks I received plenty of clarity. (Praise the Lord!) There were things I’d set out to do and for whatever reason, they were still undone. There were things I heard GOD say to me sometime ago and now was the time to act upon them. Have you been there? Are you there now? Well, the words I received in my spirit can perhaps help you to “go back” and complete that of what remains incomplete in your life.
In going back, there are many things we must tackle. My going back is multi-layered. Specific to my daddy, there were some personal affairs for me to handle on his behalf. In addition to him, GOD had divinely placed situations and circumstances before me, of which I was responsible in handling. There were people I needed to meet with and individuals I needed to speak to. There were things I had been called to do and the word had already gone forth for me to do it. The very important layer in all of this, surrounded my work and calling with our children, our youth and young adults. This prophetic and profound message was largely centered on me giving back, thus I had to “go back!”
So, how fitting is it for me to start my Blackademically Blog today? Just one year after my daddy’s transition I am acting on the words “go back”. I have decided to “go back” to my Woodlawn community and give back to the youth there. I made the decision to accept the fullness of the calling on my life, specific to ministry, and it shall ‘start’ in Woodlawn! I “go back” realizing that some of our children are physically dying on corners because of stray bullets. Yet, many of our children are culturally and educationally dying in the corners of their minds because history books lead them astray. And of course, we must admit and abundantly acknowledge that all of our children are not led astray and failing; they simply need our support, presence and power as they continue on their path of success. So, I “go back” understanding the layers of the necessity in this hour. I “go back” recognizing this day in time where we must finish what our ancestors started. I “go back” positioned and purposed for service and as a willing servant.
Will you “go back”?
Blackademically Speaking, we are able to “go back” when we:
Admit our fears!
Stop and reflect on why you have not finished what you started. What has GOD given you that simply will not leave your spirit? Why suppress it any longer? Is fear the problem? Know that you are not alone in being afraid. Stop analyzing everything though. Let Go and Let GOD for real. If He has given you the thought, the idea, the message, then it is GOD’s lovely pleasure to finance it through you. Begin the ordained work; He’ll handle the rest.
Acknowledge our faith (is stronger)!
…Well, at least it should be! For every ounce of doubt, you can win with a pound of faith! Who said it had to be done in steps and measures? I subscribe to the belief of things being done as God orders our steps; thus there will be immense steps taken, leading to immeasurable results~Move in faith!
Arrive on time!
Time is critical to this process of going “back”. What are the policies surrounding your tardiness and/or unexcused absences at your job? What then, are the consequences of us showing up late for what God needs us to do? Isn’t this work just as important, especially when you honestly consider those you are called to help and serve? Besides as you comfortably (and as an excuse) wait on God, the people you are called to help are waiting on you. Don’t go prematurely into spaces unprepared. Pray for the proper preparation and maturity needed to go in time and on time!
Analyze less – Apply more!
Try not to over-analyze what God has instructed you to do. Do not fall victim to, “the paralysis of analysis”. Ask yourself, “am I looking for natural responses to my Supernatural directives?” Don’t over-think this one. Apply more of your faith and less of your thinking. There will be a whole lot of thinking time along the way. Don’t start out thinking about how it all may (or may not) look. You will never get to the end if your beginning never begins.
Accept your role, period!
This one is about YOU and YOU alone. Don’t try and pass the baton on this one~ it is your responsibility to execute and deliver in this season. Your role is to let manifest the things GOD wants of and from you. Stop searching for others to help guide you when GOD is your guide. If they had the answers, they would be going “back” too. Sure there are others on this journey with you, but you must know your role and “go back” to the very deity that gave you the idea and commandment in the first place.
Let’s “go back” and finish what we started~
Thanks Daddy – T.I.P.
Chosen Biblical Reference:
The (entire) Book Of Jonah (i.e. Jonah 3:1-3)
1 Then the Lord spoke to Jonah a second time: 2 “Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh, and deliver the message I have given you.” 3 This time Jonah obeyed the Lord’s command and went to Nineveh, a city so large that it took three days to see it all.
Chosen Book Excerpt:
Champions Break Chains, Chapter 10 [Black Superstars]
T.I.P. Don’t Let it Go to Your Head
“Daddy, if any man is to teach me how to play chess, it’s gonna be you!” Laughing, he said in response, “Oh, now you want to learn how to play chess?” Throughout my childhood years, I watched my daddy literally destroy folk in the game of chess. He would study the board in the same way he demanded my brother and I study our books. As he contemplated moves, he would move his fingers over the pieces as some magician. It was not surprising all these years later to witness these same mannerisms. As he sat here at my place for the first lesson, he explained each piece and their viable moves on the board. The more he spoke, the more I questioned my Ph.D. As I laughed at him I blurted, “Daddy, you wanna slow down? I’m a beginner.” His response was indicative of the woman I was proud to be as a result of he and my mom, “Just listen, you’ll catch on.” The more he spoke, the more I shook my head and borderline demanded that he slow down.
As I sat there honing in on his instructions, I figured it was my listening skills that were the problem. I intently listened all the more and came to the conclusion as to why I was hardly attracted to this board of small squares and funny looking pieces; it was complicated! It was just too much for me to take in and remember. As I felt discouragement come over me I recall saying, “Daddy, this is going to take some time.” He agreed and we confirmed our weekly lessons for each Tuesday.
After going through a book I owned which taught the fundamentals of the game, coupled with the computerized version on my system, he gave me the homework for how to revisit his lessons in his absence. Little did I know that this absence would be long term, as that was my first and last full lesson with Daddy. He made his transition on a Tuesday afternoon, June 22, 2010.
No coincidences – checkmate!
GOD is real - checkmate!
Grieve but Believe – checkmate!
After conflicting schedules and many missed Tuesday lessons, my dad and I agreed to start the summer off right. Tuesday, June 1, 2010, we arranged to meet. Oddly, in honor of my request, my daddy cleaned my carpet that day in lieu of our lessons. We talked and laughed, reminiscing on many things as he worked. After well over three hours, he left and we vowed to convene the following Tuesday. After returning to my place, in walking him to his car, I noticed he left his hat. I sent a text notifying him of such and said I would get it to him. Three weeks to the day later, my father made his transition - checkmate!
Within days of this heart-wrenching reality and en route to the funeral home to view the body, I drove as I often do without music playing. Strangely, this time I continued to blurt out, “Don’t let it go to your head, no, don’t let it go to your head, no, no, no, no.” After about three to four times of so doing, I asked my cousin, “Why is that song in my head like that?” At which she replied, “I don’t know.” That moment was so strange as I had not heard the song in some time nor was it in my playlist of songs. “Was it one of your daddy’s favorite songs?” asked my cousin. “What song wasn’t,” I replied in heavy laughter.
That night at my aunt’s house, after several long hours and various conversations amongst family and friends, I was ready to depart. My cousin suggested otherwise and insisted that I stay longer. While in conversation with her, I mentioned that God had been strengthening me throughout this grieving process. I said to her that I felt a level of intimacy with God unlike before. God made me clear that I could grieve only as I believed. It was a strong point in that God’s presence was very clear to me and the mandate of grieving, as I believed became my mantra. So if I believed that God was real, I must grieve as such. Oddly, the more I grieved, the more I reminded myself of what I truly believed and knew.
In talking to her, I told her of my daddy’s last visit to my place and the sadness that was before me minus his presence now, in teaching me to play chess. I then told her how he had left his hat at my place. As I shared my sentiments with her, I felt the Spirit all the more. It was beginning to make sense. To her I then said, “Wow, don’t let it go to your head.” As she listened, I knew she too made the connection, as this was the very woman, my cousin, in the car with me earlier. Now the question was being answered as to why this song was playing in my head.
Five years ago, my granddaddy Maurice Gill, Sr. made his transition. He was a Los Angeles Dodgers fanatic, which I did not completely understand until recently when I concluded it was possibly due to Jackie Robinson, a Dodger, being the first African-American to disrupt the racial barrier in the Major Leagues of Baseball. Nonetheless, when he passed on I expressed to my aunt that I simply desired his LA Dodgers cap.
When connecting these truths for my cousin’s listening ear, the Spirit felt all the more powerful. I was witnessing the power of my biological daddy from another dimension. I was growing in hearing my Royal daddy spiritually too. I later insisted that my daddy would not rest in peace, as this was automatic in that he knew God and, surely, in being with God, he would rest. No, my daddy was now to Teach In Peace (T.I.P.). In peace he rested and now in peace he would teach his firstborn to teach others – checkmate!
My daddy’s hat was left for me consistent with the hat I desired of his father and namesake. So there I stood speaking as the Spirit led, explaining to my cousin the clarity I was getting, “Don’t let it go to your head, no, don’t let it go to your head, no, no, no, no.” See, my pastor from my college days said to me that he had learned from an elder, “To always wear the same-sized hat.” In other words, no matter how high you go, never get the big head. This wisdom poured itself into this conversation as the connecting point – checkmate!
Two of the most important men in my life and their hats now reminded me, “to always wear the same-sized hat.” It was no accident that my daddy, in his last visit to my home, physically left his hat. It was my reminder of his last visit of laughter, reminiscing and life-centered conversation that, through it all, I should never get a big head. One sure way to wear the same-sized hat is to be King-dom centered. In keeping the King on your dome, in your head (and heart), you remain grounded in what you are only as a result of God, our King.
To all the superstars, know this: what the world offers is nothing like honoring what God provides. It is, in fact, this world that affirms the lie of you being you because of you. The truth is that all you have and all that you are is because of God and His love for us, His children. It is thus all for His glory. Our communities suffer all the more in that we fail to acknowledge the very God who has brought us this far. This gross generalization does not encompass our entire race, as there are many who “wear the same-sized hat.” Yet, this is a word for those who have not fully accepted, “To whom much is given, much is required.” Perhaps we have not best understood that we are all only as strong as our weakest link. That which we have and own should be best utilized for those in need. There is no separating your skills and the reward of such athletically, from the many struggling individuals needing your assistance personally. There is no disconnecting your gift musically, from the mandate to rap, sing and dance positively, beyond some form of entertainment socially.
The Hip-Hop group Brand Nubian and their remake of Jean Carne’s song, “Don’t Let it Go to Your Head,” says:
“Lot of people often ask, ‘Puba, how you givin’ back?’
The way I give back is through the knowledge of my raps.”
Our world is in turmoil. If our world is in turmoil and we are lagging the world academically, for instance, then truly our communities are in greater turmoil. I often say that we are behind the behind. Our superstars must know that nothing about solely entertaining the world is super, particularly if we degrade our culture on the world stage.
The wealthy moguls of our time, the athletes, the college-educated graduates, the actors, actresses, attorneys and other professionals must not let it go to their heads. Acknowledging the Super God that we serve, best prevents us from running the risk of getting the big head. Our communities would be a much greater place if the common folk knew just how super they really were and if the superstars knew they were just common.
One of Hip-Hop’s pioneering female artists, MC Lyte, says:
“In between lives I’m so confused,
What do I do, oh, what do I do?”
In this, her song released decades ago, “Cappuccino,” MC Lyte tells the story of her experience with this drink. This “dream” stems from the power of Cappuccino in which she is left feeling “confused.” Today, one of the most popular places to meet and drink Cappuccino is in Starbucks. This international coffeehouse sells in high volume what MC Lyte helped introduce our younger communities to, and so I argue and insist that, as the star, she made the bucks. Her popularity extended well beyond this song as a lyricist. Arguably one of the greatest female artists, her talent was evident and her lyrical question here is profoundly prophetic. MC Lyte’s question of what to do is for the current-day superstar and the answer is:
As Jean Carne said, “Don’t let it go to your head.”
As my pastor said, “Wear the same-sized hat.”
As I can now say, “We don’t need stars who just make the bucks.”
That last conversation with my daddy on June 1, 2010 ended in my place with me saying to him that I just wanted to serve God and do His will. To that my daddy smiled. Perhaps his purpose was fulfilled. Maybe he felt in his inner soul, he had done God’s will and the fruit of his labor was in hearing me say the same. Truly, I feel God all the more and His Spirit clarified my daddy’s hat left behind. As I complete this essay with his hat on my head, I say, “Daddy, continue to T.I.P. Checkmate, you are now with the real King!”