Find Your Zen Again

The truth is like a lion: let it loose and it will defend itself. —Saint Augustine

Autumn leaves crunch under my feet like a forbidden Kit Kat bar. And yet I keep walking—far away from the noise of the day.

I don’t want to hear. I don’t want to feel. I want to heal. Scars on my body. Gone-with-the-wind crazy bed hair, and I really don’t care.

He beat me down to nothing, and he left me there. Everyone watched. Some cheered and others laughed. Some looked on in dismay while others in disbelief.

“You Nigger!” 

Those words have been on repeat in my mind for months. A strange, white man called me that. His words sucker-punched me so hard that I could barely breathe. His friends laughed, and when I told others, they were silent. Not one ally. Not one, “I’m sorry for how our race has treated you. What can we do for you? Do you need anything?” 

Pushing to the front, I keep walking. Who can you trust to have your back? I no longer listen to their words; I watch how they act. And how they don’t.

Maybe they are overwhelmed. Maybe the full moon partial eclipse has dimmed their light. Whatever it is, I’m not feeling it at all. Call? No, no one called. No one checked on the strong. So where do I belong? Which tribe?

Another crunch under my feet, and this time I notice a hunter in the distance. It’s deer season. They remind me of gentle resilience. Maybe they have compassion. Perhaps I’ll follow them. And so I do.

Following their twisted trail, and I’m led deeper into the unknown woods. What will I find there? Camouflaged hearts. Flesh ripped apart. Stale energy and the stench of hatred mixed with hunger make their way to the deer stand. Another silent kill. The bounty increases daily.

They lurk in shadows at night, these otherworldly beings with holy verses tattooed on their bodies proclaiming the Gospel. Their “Good News” sits atop the dinner table. Fresh cooked “deer a la carte” with green bean casserole bubbling over giving thanks.

Thanking God for the meal that they slaughtered and the lives that they bartered, left hanging in trees.

What does this have to do with me? Everything. Native American drums rise up around the campfire, uh-oh, wrong move. Ancestors rising….

Leaning against a tree with hot tears streaming down my face, I relent. Concede the hole, and let them have their fill of pumpkin pie and lies. This time I mean my goodbye.

Dear God, it’s not my job! It’s not my job to teach them how to treat me or anyone. If they want to learn how to love like you, they are going to have to lean in and listen. Leaves in the wind, selectively they choose their prey. Some for dessert and others to amplify their voices of ally-ship, cloaked…. I pray they don’t choke. 

Saving the Name-caller’s life, I hand him a glass of water and tell him that Jesus loves him. I put down “David’s knife.”

Are they guilty? Are they remorseful? Do they feel any kind of empathy? We are not going back there again. It doesn’t matter who won this election. I’m chopping wood and taking up collections.

It’s time to travel a new road, and everybody can’t go. They want you to get in, but they want you to change the minute you arrive so that you fit their design. Diversity and the Deer, Nigger and Silence is all that I hear.

Taking this departure has been a long time coming. New trails, new people to help unite this divided country. New healings, no feelings.

There is a mountain ahead in the distance, and if I just step out in the faith that I myself preach, perhaps, just maybe, new souls I’ll reach.

I am no longer here. I’m present and absent at the same time. Clearing my mind.

Taking the podium has never been easy for me, but neither has seeing words kill a soul faster than a mockingbird. Nothing spoken. Nothing heard.

“I have been given this life because I’m strong enough to live it.” The sage’s wisdom returns to my heart like a well-watered garden, and out of nowhere, the illusion turns into a real Eden.

Solace and Silence. The greatest retreat that will change the world. TALITHA CUMI—get up, little girl! Arise now and go tell thy father that twelve tribes await His appearance and His clearance. Thy kingdom come! Let all things that are yet to be seen be already done.

Don’t rush the healing process. It’s just recess. They will be back, and we will be ready. Masks off. Face-to-face saying grace at this prepared table of stolen innocence where both angry words, a dead bird, and silence become their defense.

Can someone please pass me the salt, but turn on the lights first, please? Say Grace. Give it. Live it. I’ve carried more violence in silence than a television series. I forgave…for the least of these. I’m free. 

Natasha Stevens is passionate about humanitarian efforts ranging from empowering girls and women through education, writing, counseling, and speaking engagements, to hands on mission work in various places, including the eradication of forced child labor and early marriage through human trafficking. She loves a hearty laugh in summer gardens as much as a healthy bowl of oats in winter. She enjoys interacting with people from all walks of life, giving back where needed, and ministering the love and grace of Jesus without a title.