As we close out this section on the essence of who you be “beyond time” and prepare to look at identity “in time”, let me just say that the truth is in you. Indeed, the very inspiration for this Lenten Safari began bubbling to the surface almost 12 years ago while I was completing a seminary assignment on identity in my Spiritual Formation class. Before I wrote a single word and without a strategy or a single musician, I imagined and proposed that my presentation would be spoken word put to music and movement.
One morning around 4 a.m. I was aroused from my sleep with an urge to write, and the words to the poem for my assignment miraculously poured out of me and onto the page. With a sigh of relief that the words had materialized, I was ready for the next step–putting it to music. Thankfully, the free-spirited musician at the church I was attending agreed to help–selecting the perfect song and graciously donating his time and the use of his equipment. The divine inspiration of Spirit gave me the movements and the choreography to bring the words to life. The truth was in me all the time, and the resources to embody the assignment were available to support me. So, let me just repeat those five words that I began with…the truth is in you and not only that, but the resources to embody the life you were created to live are available to support you!
Between the time that Jesus was conceived by the Spirit and the time he was affirmed by the Spirit at his baptism, Jesus, like each of us, had a plethora of life experiences–some that reminded him of his true essence and others that tried to distort the image of the divine in him. The extent to which those experiences impact us varies, because not all experiences are created equal, but they do not change the truth. From my childhood, people knew that if they asked me a question, they had better be prepared to receive the truth—the truth as I saw it anyway. Early on, I also felt free to share my truth, and soon learned that children were to be seen and not heard—not because what I was saying was not true, but because as a child, I had no authority. As the only Black child in my middle school Gifted and Talented class, I also learned that my truth was certainly not the default, but even more egregiously, it was not welcomed nor worthy of consideration.
Nevertheless, I was born with this God-given fascination for truth, this capacity to see beyond what was being said or done to what was really true. In Black circles, there is a saying that is often spoken when a child articulates intuitive wisdom beyond their years. People sometimes say, “That child has been here before.” Now, whether or not you believe that we have the capacity to live more than one embodied life or not, I believe we all arrive here with wisdom that is not just beyond our years, but “beyond time.” The question is whether that wisdom is nurtured or negated, whether it is developed or denigrated, whether it is used for good or abused for evil.
My ongoing search for truth has been a hallmark of my journey as a lifelong learner. It has led me to learn from different faith communities, cultures, and contexts. It has attuned my heart to the truth—recalling what I know “beyond time” and incorporating that knowing with my embodied life “in time.” Regardless of what is going on, remember that the truth is in you!
RECOMMENDED JOURNAL EXERCISE: Take a few moments to reflect on the following questions and write your answer to each in your journal. Take about 5 minutes for each question.
- What life experiences have reminded you of or affirmed your true essence?
- What life experiences have tried to distort the image of the divine in you?
Finally, spend at least 5 minutes on each of the following:
- Reflecting on your childhood and anything you may have intuitively known
- Reflecting on your truth and how you would like to intentionally nurture it
Tara LaShawn Seabrook is a self-proclaimed “free spirit,” a public, practical, and prophetic theologian; a spiritual and social justice activist; a creative and cultural artist; and a prolific teacher, speaker, and writer. Currently, she resides in Guatemala where she is finishing up a 2-year volunteer in mission commitment with a non-governmental organization before returning to her native Charleston, SC in the spring of 2017. Her book based on her original poem, “I Am She: The Anthology” will be released later this year.