How have you been? Its been a while since we talked via this blogosphere. You know we’ve been through so much together – You and me, I have been thinking about a blogomentary for us :-). O boy, that will be something wouldn’t it?. Ha! The life of what if’s and maybes …. I do not miss it at all :-)
Dear God, Its been a real pleasure walking with you these last couple of months. Wow!!!! I just love the way you weave, plan, strategize and literally reveal a person’s path one step at a time. Daddy, I admire your patience and your spirit of calmness. I am so glad that you are who you say YOU ARE. I am so elated and excited about you. I am absolutely into you. Looking back I can see clearly now how your patient silence has lead me to strategic meetings, opportunities I’d never have gotten on my own, doors you shut quietly with no explanations yet with a knowing smile. O how I huffed and puffed at you like a petulant child. Sucking in my teeth and shaking violently from side to side, stomping my feet with my fist up in the air demanding power to the people. I am so grateful now father that you took all my attitude without a mumble. Where would I be now I wonder if you hadn’t been so firm with me and if you couldn’t see the future?…
God, I recently came across a poem by Constantine P. Cavafy. Lovely poem. I have read this poem before, even sent it to friends so they could enjoy it as much as I thought I did at the time. Thing is, this time around, the poem lit a florescent bulb in my mind and it came alive in a different way. Nothing had changed about the poem. The words were the same and it was still authored by the same greek guy in the 1800’s and yet it felt different, new, almost ecstatic. I imagine that my experiences have led me to this point. My understanding though poignant before has now reached a new dimension. My knowledge has finally given way to such wisdom, Wisdom I strongly suspect can only come from you. I surprise myself when I talk sometimes.
Anyway so the poem ” ITHAKA” – opens by addressing a metaphoric traveler.
When you set out on your journey to Ithaca, pray that the road is long
First of all, who on earth prays for a longer journey than necessary in a dispensation when everything is on a fast track lane? Cavafy’s poem as I read along reminded me of the Odyssey’s hidden truth, that the hero’s journey to Ithaka is the soul’s journey home. In other words pray that your years on earth are long in that your soul may finally get to its destination – Genesis 1:26- Back to when the dominion call was clear and to God’s original plan. Ancient tradition says that Homer’s epics, the Illiad and the Odyssey, combine into a grand mystery tale, understood by initiates as describing the stages and struggles of the soul’s inner journey.
When you set out on your journey to Ithaka, pray that the road is long”
full of adventure, full of knowledge...
O goodness!!! How many times have I decried the path I am on. With its bumps and turns, impatient for the destination. Wishing to close my eyes, open them in a second and I’d be at the destination? Almost like a cosmos effect. All in perfect order.
To arrive there is your ultimate goal. But do not hurry the voyage at all.
If we were to just look at this without spiritual discernment, The poet is simply saying that the destination of the journey is Ithaka, which is the island off the western coast of Greece to which Odysseus returned after the Trojan war. Odysseus’s journey was a long and difficult one. It was ten years before he was able to rejoin his wife Penelope in Ithaka. As I read this poem over and over again with each sentence gleaning new meaning, I plunged into research to find out what CYCLOPS and such meant. As it turns out, The Laistrygonians, the Cyclops, and “Angry Poseidon” were among the most terrifying of Oddyseus’ enemies. The Laistrygonians and the Cyclops were gigantic cannibals who ate most of his followers. Poseidon was a vengeful god who persecuted him for years. I imagine the poet chose these enemies to symbolize conflict, particularly conflict with people or powers that are much bigger and more powerful than us. Praise Jesus because by redemption, we need not fear these external conflicts: “…you won’t meet them / unless you carry them in your soul However. According to this worldly poet, The stops along the journey are not roadblocks, they are stepping stones. O yea I have heard that many times, seen it as statuses on facebook said it to others when they appeared tired from their own journeys. But somehow I failed to register it on my own heart. Now that I think deeply about it, even that statement on its own is not true. Seen clearly, the journey and the destination are a single continuum – Id est, The river pours into the sea, and they are one. Seated on the slow-moving river, we already touch the sea. O My God- You so deep! How did I miss this one?
This reminds me father of the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Corinthains. This verse made sense to me yesterday in church. 2 Corinthains 11:22-32 From the message bible : Do they brag of being Hebrews, Israelites, the pure race of Abraham? I’m their match. 23 Are they servants of Christ? I can go them one better. (I can’t believe I’m saying these things. It’s crazy to talk this way! But I started, and I’m going to finish.) 24 I’ve been flogged five times with the Jews’ thirty-nine lashes, 25 beaten by Roman rods three times, pummeled with rocks once. I’ve been shipwrecked three times, and immersed in the open sea for a night and a day. 26 In hard traveling year in and year out, I’ve had to ford rivers, fend off robbers, struggle with friends, struggle with foes. I’ve been at risk in the city, at risk in the country, endangered by desert sun and sea storm, and betrayed by those I thought were my brothers. 27 I’ve known drudgery and hard labor, many a long and lonely night without sleep, many a missed meal, blasted by the cold, naked to the weather. 28 And that’s not the half of it, when you throw in the daily pressures and anxieties of all the churches. 29 When someone gets to the end of his rope, I feel the desperation in my bones. When someone is duped into sin, an angry fire burns in my gut. 30 If I have to “brag” about myself, I’ll brag about the humiliations that make me like Jesus. 31 The eternal and blessed God and Father of our Master Jesus knows I’m not lying. 32 Remember the time I was in Damascus and the governor of King Aretas posted guards at the city gates to arrest me? WOW!!! This man is saying he has been through all these and yet! Grace abounds for him. He still says he serves a living GOD!!! O I wish we who claim “Christianity” can say this without a doubt. Staying the course no matter what. Not allowing the “Spirituality Syndrome” to sink us. No no no no no no !!!! someone needs to hear this! You would have though with paul’s abilities and anointing, nothing could touch him. And yet here we are, seeing him flocked and stoned and still standing.
Huh! Moving on with the poem ITHAKA, The story continues: Cavafy writes on saying,
…and purchase fine merchandise,
mother-of-pearl and coral, amber, and ebony,
and sensual perfumes of all kinds,
as many sensual perfumes as you can…
I think he suggests that worldly experience, the senses, a certain amount of materialism, these too are part of the journey. The physical world is the realm through which the soul journeys. Encountering marvels and terrors the soul strengthens and comes to know itself. Knowing itself in victory and adversity, the soul is finally ready to return. But to navigate through such bewildering, overwhelming experiences, the destination must never be forgotten:
Always keep Ithaka on your mind.
In order words, For us who are christ followers, Never forget the real destination. Heaven. O yes! be in the world, enjoy the fruits of your labor. Infact by Kingdom dominion extremities, we are to BE FRUITFUL, DOMINATE, SUBDUE, MULTIPLY- All that is in the world is our fathers and thus its ours. So yes strive to have the very best things in life. I tell you anyone who claims that Christianity connotes poverty needs to go back to sunday school. But all the good things in life does not mean we won’t go through the fire. No hear me good, Don’t rush through the journey, impatient only for its end. The adventure is your soul’s story. But always remember the Kingdom of God on earth. Always know who you are and whose you are. Hear Apostle Paul plead the case for all Christ’s followers in 1 Corintians 4:9-13 – It seems to me that God has put us who bear his Message on stage in a theater in which no one wants to buy a ticket. We’re something everyone stands around and stares at, like an accident in the street. 10 We’re the Messiah’s misfits. You might be sure of yourselves, but we live in the midst of frailties and uncertainties. You might be well-thought-of by others, but we’re mostly kicked around. 11 Much of the time we don’t have enough to eat, we wear patched and threadbare clothes, we get doors slammed in our faces, 12 and we pick up odd jobs anywhere we can to eke out a living. When they call us names, we say, “God bless you.” 13 When they spread rumors about us, we put in a good word for them. We’re treated like garbage, potato peelings from the culture’s kitchen. And it’s not getting any better.
Wise as you have become, with so much experience,
you must already have understood what these Ithakas mean.
O thank you daddy because now I know that no matter what happens, theres always a learning curve to each experience even if the enemy tries to make us feel like we are going through these hardships because of our own decisions. The wisdom we attain with each step reveals the destination’s true meaning. And it is just as true to say that the destination’s gift is contained in the journey itself.
Ithaka has given you the beautiful voyage. Id est, Life has given each of us a beautiful journey full of stories, setbacks, mishaps, and victories.
Everyone comes from somewhere. There was a time and place that shaped us and made us who we are. For example as we reached adulthood we left home. Some went far indeed, even as this poem recommends. Ironically, the farther people get from home (physically, temporally, and ideologically) the more they want to return. – O how I miss Ghana :-). The great risk, however, is of idealizing your own personal Ithaka. In the penultimate stanza Cavafy warns against expecting too much:
Ithaka(life, God)gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you would not have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.
The point of life is the journey and the experiences along the way. If you go long enough you will eventually get back to where you began. As natural as this is, this starting and ending point is simply that: a starting and ending point. It is the path in between that makes life worth living.
Dear God, I now understand what the intellectual folk mean when they say humans expect too much as though life owns us something when in fact it is us who owe life. To absolutely live in the midst of adversity, death and betrayals. Father, I am not sure what happened to me but suddenly, theres this calm, this inner gut feeling strength I never thought I could posses. Nothing has really changed with me. I am still BARAKA…. but O no thats a lie, I am new. I am Baraka with new grace. Yea I know not faith, but grace. The grace to smile still…. go through the motions and still be laughing. Jumping around like a little girl on a roller coaster ride with her daddy coupled with a sugar high :-)…. Its an amazing feeling. Its exhilarating and I am absolutely immersed in it. Thank you daddy for showing me that the fire may get even hotter but your grace is always ….. alllllwwwwwaaays sufficient :-)
Your very into YOU Daughter