Prayer is not an old woman’s idle amusement. Properly understood and applied, it is the most potent instrument of action. Mahatma Gandhi
“Mornin’, Lord. I’ll make this short and to the point, Jemma prays. I love ya’ and much appreciate what You done for me. I’m sure glad I woke up with the sun still shinin’ on this ole’, but smooth, face of mine (hee-hee) and walkin’ as best I can after all these years run by me. Whew! My purple tulips opened up yestidy, but I guess you’d know ‘bout that, huh? Glad my eyes still workin’ so I can see yo’ magic when it comes.
Gotta ask for a whole lot of forgiveness this mornin’, Lord. My great grandson disrespectin’ his teacher like he did. Scared that po’ chile to death blowin’ up in that place like some storm or somethin’. I grabbed him by the throat - loosely though. Wasn’t tryin’ to kill my own blood! Guess I gon’ and don’ some things right, though. You still lettin’ me have my ice-cold Pabst Ribbon and all. I do ‘preciate all my childrens and the puppies Gladys just had. Lot of good memories, Lord. Lot of mean ones too, but I’m gonna thank ya’ for ‘em all. Want folks to know ya’ like I do; like my mama knew ya’. Don’t take much but sometimes I don’t understand your thinkin’. But guess that’s none of my business, huh? Folks jus’ gotta see how ya’ work things out, and ya’ do do that! But would ya’ do me another big favor? Would you do something with the devil’s brothers down there in Kentucky and South Carolina. Those are the craziest white boys I ever seen!”
I thought it might be appropriate at this juncture in this world of insanity, malice, greed, corruption, divisions, and enormous racial disparities to introduce you to 85-year-old Jemma Alexander. Indeed, there’s no one like her; such a delightful and inspiring enigma. She talks to God like HE was sitting next to her sharing in her favorite meal of deep fried catfish, coleslaw, mac and cheese, and hush puppies. Grandma Jemma was a bright star in everyone’s life who met her. They fell in love with her quirky, yet very wise persona. This very sagacious matriarch instructed her loved ones to call up the ‘real stuff inside them, meaning reserved power. Definitely need it when we’re boxin’ with the satan’s goliaths. Our families, our children, our teachers, our President and Vice-President need Jemma’s spirit of faith, love, and hope now more than ever before.
“Our babies are all shook up, Lord. And now they goin’ back to school. How they gonna’ learn somethin’ with so much stuff happenin’ ‘round them? Folks betta’ be talking to YOU so you can help them; help us all. My great grandbabies so far behind in their book learning. Kind of on purpose if you ask me. Those babies scared, too. Hear poppin’ sounds close and ‘fraid they might get hurt. But I knows betta than to ask YOU for an explanation! Just gotta’ trust ya.”
After the last gulp of her nightly beer, Jemma would slowly stand up to stretch, look up at the blanket of sparkling stars covering the dark skies, and say, “Thank you, Lord. That was pretty dog gone good! I know, she would say with a giggle. Ain’t no beer drinkin’ up in heaven. I know you ain’t gonna stand for that kind of carryin’ on in YOUR house.”
This remarkable sage had few inhibitions and never hesitated saying exactly what was on her mind. “I don’t want anyone to misinterpret what I intended to say.” After she had been blessed to live 75 years 10 years ago, her forthrightness included boldness with the Lord, too!
Throwing her head back, surprisingly still full of long, salt and pepper coarse hair and laughing hardily, Jemma took her declaration another step forward. “I’m on my way outta here! I’m goin’ enjoy what I want, when I want, while I can!” It has been said life can be a simple as love and prayer. Where the two mingle, there can be no jealousy, resentment, or fear. Could the miracle of become a person of prayer begin with just two words: thank you?”
“It's me again, Lord. Come reportin’ that it was a pretty good day. Went down to the Center today to shoot the breeze with some of my old buddies and have my favorite catfish dinner. Loves my catfish, Lord. Ya’ know I do! 65 years some of us been knowin’ each other. That’s really somepin’. And some of them been there for me, you betcha. Whipped Reggie in some dominoes, too! He gets so mad when he loses to this old lady. They should know by now that I’m the Queen of the ‘Bones’. (Hee-hee) Took some of my buttermilk fried chicken and collard greens to Fanny Louise yestaday. Know she ain’t got too many days left down here; that she’s on her way comin’ to meet ya’. Wanted her to enjoy a lil’ sumpen’ real good fo’ she made that trip!
Just think we all gotta pray a bit harder now, Lord. This world’s goin’ plum stupid thinkin’. If somethin’ don’t give, we ain’t goin’ have no chil’ren to grow up to be man and woman. Most of ‘em don’t even know who Ya’ are anymore. That’s the problem! We need your help to fix this stuff! Gonna do what I can to save my own. If I have the time, I’ll try and save a few more that don’t even belong to me, too! I want it betta for them than I had it. Now don’t go to thinkin’ I’m not happy to be here, though. I’ve had some real good times. ‘Hee-hee’. Maybe sometimes too good a time.
Eyes a closin’ so I guess it’s time to go. Gottta’ big day tomorrow. Goin’ sing in the choir caus’ it’s Christmas. I like those old songs, Lord. Somethin’ ‘bout a Silent Night. Snowed today again. Kind of quiet and pretty and all. Saved that runt puppy. Named her Billie after Billie Holiday. Ya’ might have to take care of another problem for me. Ya’ know I don’t sit ‘round watchin’ my roses bloom or playin’ with puppies. And sometimes I cross the line.”
Your life, your mission is what you make it. Only those who are expectant of good tidings and demonstrated active faith will bring the manifestation to pass. Glad you got a chance to meet one such example in that of Jemma Alexander. She always makes me smile and gives me hope. Let us pray deeply and diligently with all our hearts that an army of dedicated, compassionate warriors with the right intentions and power can unite and help bring about a ‘loving’ change in this very sad and deeply (Divided States) of America. Let us pray more caring adults will recognize we must do far better for our children. They certainly deserve a fighting chance!
“Every word we speak is a prayer coming into reality. I can, I am, I will, I choose, I have, I love, I create, I enjoy.” Robert Tennyson Stevens
Adaptation excerpt: “Ba’al Perazim” by Jetta Dya Jones