Beyond the Mess

There’s a crazy and wonderful thing that happens once you get beyond the mess.
Call it what you will but it only shows up when you don’t let your mess keep you stuck.
The woman with the issue of blood in the bible comes to mind. The story goes that she was bleeding for 12 years and couldn’t get relief. She’d already tried every natural and scientific method known to man at the time but her problem only got worse.
She was basically an outcast according to Jewish law. Once a woman was bleeding she couldn’t be part of everyday activities. Imagine never being able to be with your family and friends, living life on the fringes.
She heard about a man coming to town. Jesus.
This man was said to be doing miracles, feeding thousands with a handful of fish and bread, healing sick people and raising the dead. She wasn’t dead yet but probably thought I am pretty close to it as this is not living.
She had two options, give up and expect never to be well or break tradition and Jewish laws and get into the crowd and see this man.
The story says she thought if only I could touch Him I would be whole. The Hebrew word for whole is the same as peace. A better definition is “Nothing missing, nothing broken.” She wasn’t trying to have a conversation or tell her story. She just wanted to touch this man because surely that would be enough. She’d already told her story, everyone knew her business and all about her non-life. If this man was anybody of note, he wouldn’t need her story.

You’ve got to get tired of the story. It becomes the excuse, the reason why you don’t progress. You get addicted to telling the story and getting the commiserations from others.
She broke through the resistance in her own mind and her need to keep a distance from everyone. Her desperation to be healed was greater than her need to keep the law and to keep accusing eyes far away.
She must have been smelling. Her clothes may have been soiled. She didn’t care. She was already broke and had no relationships left to lose. She was out of options.
She touched Jesus and the story goes that immediately the blood leakage stopped. Jesus felt that someone had tapped into His power and He questioned who touched him. She confessed to what she’d done. He went further and declared you are whole (nothing missing, nothing broken). He not only healed her body but she also received a restoration of her relationships and resources.
You’ve been bleeding for a long time.
Your finances are a mess.
Your home life is in shambles.
You have maintained the façade long enough that you got it together. I know. They say “never let them see you sweat.” Don’t listen. Some situations will require you to sweat, cry, or bleed your way to victory.
Don’t worry about what they will say. Don’t mind the eyes on you accusing you of being someplace you shouldn’t be. Press in. Let them see you bleeding. Expose the areas of hurt, not so they can inflict more pain but so you can receive victory.
You have nothing left to lose.
Beyond the mess of your current circumstance is a miracle. It will be received when you make yourself vulnerable to the very people who have the most power to hurt you. It comes when you no longer care about maintaining an image or reputation and you hunger for freedom and victory more than the accolades of man.
The magic happens when you let go of trying to find your own solution and you surrender to the power of the Almighty to bring about victory in a way that restores and elevates you.
All of creation is waiting to do you good.

Calypso Hard to Judge

We do it constantly. Raise our friends and foes to their highest level of incompetence. Empowering them to continue a malaise that has chased us through the centuries. Always willing to pull down and silence those who show aptitude and gifts in areas we are limited or have none.
Saturday night’s judging of the Regional Female Calypso was such an event. But it is not a one-off. It is a recurring theme across a nation which continues to see itself in isolation to the rest of the world. It continues to live as a stranger’s paradise where once you get off the plane or the ferry, the rules of the outside world do not apply and you are at the mercy of the smiles or the knives of the inhabitants.
This is the part where I’m supposed to write don’t get me wrong I love Montserrat. But if loving Montserrat means I continue to perpetuate a lie then I guess I don’t.
The show was brilliant. Those seven women delivered. Some of them delivered better than others. The final decision to award local singer Silvina Kandi Malone the first runner up slot was a let down on a spectacular evening of music and it was something everyone felt palpably.
Judges decisions are final but when the audience in the park, those listening on radio can tell that a singer was out of her league and not on the level of her competitors and she gets a top slot then there is a problem. Kandi’s lyrical dexterity was limited by the song choices, which were simply repetitive and have been for some time. They did not take us on a journey, bringing us to a place that the other six women did every time they stood on the stage….hope. Rather she took us around and around back to a chorus which made you just want the song to end.
It didn’t matter that they were singing about domestic abuse, gun violence, political systems that fail us. I kept longing to hear more from these Caribbean women. Every song ended with the idea that there was hope and we were it.
When the judges choose to award a performer a EC$7000 prize they did not deserve, they not only disempower the singer who believes they won fairly but the audience, who now wonders if the hope we feel is worthwhile acting on.
Maybe the violence and weak politicians the Caribbean suffers from are a result of other judgments that have gone against what was right, what was blatantly a decision not to elevate those who have worked and delivered their rightful rewards.
The Montserrat Festival is struggling. It needs to position itself among a region of festivals which have more money and larger media footprints and this competition is one way it can be done. However, when we do not allow the competition to function with integrity, we miss the chance to elevate a “local” show to the real potential it has…which is an international standard calypso competition which gives women a platform that is unmatched.
We’ve got to stop pretending we have arrived and are the only stars worth shining. Clearly Saturday night’s performance showed we have a ways to go in our writing and in our stage performance. If we don’t allow our people to see how they truly match up against other nations we will continue to allow them to leave the insolation of Montserrat’s shores and enter regional and international competitions believing they have a real chance when they aren’t even up to the basic standards. (This would be a perfect opportunity to discuss our queen pageant history but I shall resist the temptation.)
Stop it.
Give our people a real chance to grow by judging them fairly. When we can see how we rank against other singers, dancers, athletes, we can know how much harder we need to work to get better. Giving our people false ideas of greatness only permits them to be happy with mediocrity and that will not do.
The world is waiting to gobble up our children. We owe it to them to prepare them fully and with the best the world has to offer, not just Montserrat.

BTW Congratulations to Crystal Cummings-Beckles for retaining her crown. She was in a word, brilliant. Her writing prowess was also seen through the performances by Shaunelle McKenzie of St. Vincent (I wanted her to either win or be runner-up. She was that good.) Menell from St. Lucia…the woman delivered. Kandi could benefit from doing what these women have done which is to try different writers; perform regularly throughout the year; and compete in different forums outside their comfort zones so they can grow.