The week before the New Year ushers in a Judgment Day of its own with the passing of another year. Questions arise in the overview of our past experiences that inform our resolutions and next steps forward—to further investments made, or to reconfigure or revise existing creative and career goals. The final decision may be made to pull up anchor altogether and start a new path entirely. Ultimately, the recompense of whatever decision made will land solely on the decision-maker, as each of us will be left to experience or endure the consequences down the line.
When I first began this blog, I had hoped that I would receive the answers to the questions I had about the realization of my “calling”—as to why it required my being led off a cliff, into an abyss of experiences I had always feared. If I had been presented with a briefing of this path before stepping out on faith at an early age to pursue a career in jazz, and had been told there would be a significant decades-hold placed on its fruition—and in addition, that professional/personal betrayals, acute health challenges and PTSD from domestic violence would be par for the course, I would have promptly turned it down and taken a broader path. And yet, another year has ended and there are still no answers—just an anger that has evolved into a growing suspicion and distrust, knowing that the worst was allowed to happen, followed by an expectation that I must continue on and be present. I once believed that if I knew God and was obedient to what was required of me and did my best, that I would be protected and that nothing irrevocably bad would happen to me. It is difficult now to be engaged after coming into the understanding that I ultimately have no control over what is allowed to happen.
Last week, I came across a story within scripture of a prophet who was entrusted to deliver a message of condemnation to the King of Israel—with a specific instruction to not eat or drink during his journey, and to not return to his home the way he came. After delivering the message to the king, he started off on his way home and came to rest under a tree. An older prophet, who had heard of the prophet’s supernatural authority, approached him with an invitation to dine with him at his home. When the prophet told the older prophet of the instruction he received not to eat or drink and to go straight home, the older prophet lied and told the prophet that an angel instructed him to extend the invitation to dinner. The prophet accepted his invitation, and was killed shortly afterwards, as a result of breaking his fast—but the older prophet remained to tell the tale.
At first reading (and even still) I was annoyed that the prophet had to endure the harshest punishment possible, as a result of someone else’s manipulation. If the old, poseur prophet had not interrupted the true prophet’s path with his lies, the latter could have gone home to his family as planned. Instead his body was buried at the older prophet’s burial plot—with the older prophet requesting to be buried beside him in the distant future.
There are so many things that have happened that I am still angry about from this past year and years prior—particularly the dismissal of my domestic violence case and the lack of closure that I live with every day. The only perceived advisement or takeaway is a notion of accountability that I have been tasked with to redeem the life of the person I used to be before all of these experiences—and to continue walking on a path that gets narrower with each year, exercising gifts that I now feel far removed from. In overview, the only thing I have learned at the close of this year is that I am being held responsible to make the most of what remains and to do the best with what I have been given—and that nothing is promised.
As many usually do, I spent part of my holidays scrolling through social media, looking for something fun and uplifting to escape my thoughts. While searching, I came across dozens of motivational, empowerment memes--none of which I was able to relate to. The only sentiment that resonates within is this: Do your best. When there is nothing else you can do, there is nothing else you can do but that.
In closing, I would like to extend a thank you to those who have been following my blog--I hope my writing has been a source of encouragement throughout this year, and I wish you all the best for the New Year ahead.