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‘Everything is Everything’ – Ms Hill’s philosophy.

 

Everything is everything
What is meant to be, will be
After winter, must come spring
Change, it comes eventually

–       Lauryn Hill

This song came to me during my quiet time this morning. Surprised , I actually stopped my reflection  and  reached for my laptop as I was intrigue to know what  word God had for me in this song. Especially since this is not even my favourite Lauryn Hill  song – I’m a Doo Wop (That Thing) kinda girl.  I not only went onto Youtube and end up rocking (still in bed) to the song but had to look up the lyrics as I was struggling with understanding what Lauren Hill was saying in the rapping section of ‘Everything is Everything’. This is where I fall down on my street knowledge.:-)

Anyway in between struggling with my netbook and trying not to swear in my time of quietness/reflection, not getting carried away in listening to hip hop  music on Youtube, wishing I had Lauryn’s physique and beauty minus the hairstyle; sorry I may like the Doo Wop but forgive me for my narrow-mindedness but dreadlocks is not my thang!

So what did I hear from this moment of revelation?

“Everything is everything
What is meant to be, will be
After winter, must come spring
Change, it comes eventually”

Reminding me of Ecclesiastics  3, that there is a time and season for everything; but since I have recently become a Eugene Peterson fan – author of the Message version of the bible and  I since I am going down the road of Lauryn street talk, I will  quote the contemporary version of this passage.
There’s a Right Time for Everything

1 There’s an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth:

2-8 A right time for birth and another for death,
A right time to plant and another to reap,
A right time to kill and another to heal,
A right time to destroy and another to construct,
A right time to cry and another to laugh,
A right time to lament and another to cheer,
A right time to make love and another to abstain,
A right time to embrace and another to part,
A right time to search and another to count your losses,
A right time to hold on and another to let go,
A right time to rip out and another to mend,
A right time to shut up and another to speak up,
A right time to love and another to hate,
A right time to wage war and another to make peace.

But how do I explain the ‘after winter must come spring’ line?

In my attempt to find a bible passage that qualifies this, one of the cats is scratching on my bedroom door for food interrupting my quiet time and since it’s after 9am and we don’t want to involve the RSPCA, I better feed them – Pause!

I need to get one of those automatic cat feeder – the one with a timer. A friend of mine said that he believe God is going to teach me something through these cats. Please don’t misunderstand me, I love cats (okay maybe now I realise that I like cats) especially if there are not mine and they are outdoor cats. I’m slowly beginning to resent having my quiet time interrupted, the responsibility and having to clean up the mess! And then I thought, if God ever grant me the grace to be involved in ministry then these cats are slowly teaching me how to deal with the interruptions without resentment, exhibiting impatience, maintaining holy thoughts and avoiding the temptation to swear and a great lesson in cleaning up the mess when you don’t like mess, don’t have a clue what you are doing and at times resent doing it. I constantly keep asking myself why I am doing this. – a single good looking woman in her mid-forties who choose not to have kids! Help! …I’m just helping a friend.

Anyway, the cats are fed – the mess is cleaned up and I am trying my best to resurrect my thoughts and time of reflection. So where was I?

‘After winter must come spring’ I searched the internet desperate to find a verse to match Lauryn’s hip hop proverbs. The only verse I could come up with is in

Psalm 30:5 which says, “weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” This verse is probably most often connected to weeping through hard times with the hope that they won’t last–a “this too shall pass” sort of thing. At times I feel that these cats are adding to my winter and probably my friend is right that God is developing in me tolerance and endurance , reminding g me that  “this too shall pass”.

The lyrics of the song continues as follows;-

I wrote these words for everyone
Who struggles in their youth
Who won’t accept deception
Instead of what is truth
It seems we lose the game,
Before we even start to play
Who made these rules? We’re so confused
Easily led astray
Let me tell ya that
Everything is everything
Everything is everything
After winter, must come spring
Everything is everything

The words above highlight our own powerlessness ‘losing the game before we even start to play’ recognising that  God is in control – ‘the battle is not ours but the Lord’s – 2 Chronicles 20:15  or according to the Message version “This is God’s war, not yours.”

It encourages us to stay strong reminding us that God won’t put on us anymore that we can bear but  will provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. – 1 Corinthians 10:13. His plan isn’t always clear for us to grasp but it is exact and He always have our interest at heart. And so all we can do is refuse to lean on our own understanding, embrace truth instead of deception , remembering that He has us in the palm of his hands. If we just keep holding on to Him – with our hand in his hands ,accepting His invitation to cast our cares upon Him, we will never fall, never be alone and we stay strong! In His word it is promised that the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

At the same time Lauryn is revealing to us her own background and struggles in her youth, speaking to those who find themselves caught up in such situation, encouraging them to persevere, hold on to truth instead of being led astray.

And here comes the hip hop street talk – see if you can make sense of this:
I philosophy
Possibly speak tongues
Beat drum, Abyssinian, street Baptist
Rap this in fine linen
From the beginning
My practice extending across the atlas
I begat this
Flippin’ in the ghetto on a dirty mattress
You can’t match this rapper / actress
More powerful than two Cleopatras
Bomb graffiti on the tomb of Nefertiti
MCs ain’t ready to take it to the Serengeti
My rhymes is heavy like the mind of Sister Betty
L. Boogie spars with stars and constellations
Then came down for a little conversation
Adjacent to the king, fear no human being
Roll with cherubims to Nassau Coliseum
Now hear this mixture
Where hip hop meets scripture
Develop a negative into a positive picture

I guess Lauryn is saying;

My philosophy includes speaking in tongues , beating drums

Abyssisian? I had to google this – Wikipedia, and then I wished Chris was nearby – a friend who we called Wikipedia as he always have a long explanation for everything:-)

According to Google – “The Abyssinian is a breed of domesticated cat with a distinctive ticked coat “ I thought not cats again!!! And then I came across another definition realising that Lauryn’s Abyssinia  refers to Ethiopia – the modern nation

Phew! thank God for that!

So my philosophy includes speaking in tongues, beating drums, modern Ethiopia, street Baptist – now that’s a new one on me,

Well, the fact that Lauryn mentioned  ‘Rap this in fine linen’ brings back memories of an old-fashioned cultish religious movement in Jamaica  called Kumina –  The religion of the slaves  based on African beliefs and practices, such as ceremonial spirit possession, spiritual healing, sorcery, and drumming and dance as forms of worship. I remember as a child stopping with my grandmother, being caught up in their meetings which was fun, usually in the open streets dancing to the beating of their drums.  They were always dressed in white long linen gowns with their head wrapped in the same material. Fondly known as  “Pokumina”  or “Poko” referring to their dance. I am revealing my age!
Lauryn went on to say that from the beginning her practice reaches across all cultures learning this from her early experiences sleeping in the ghetto on dirty mattress. Eugene Petersen (author of the message)  felt that his experience as a pastor started from his early experience of selling in his Dad’s butcher shop and interacting with people of all cultures. Showing that our vocation/career can be traced right back to our childhood or early experiences.

Lauryn continues  to highlight and describe her strength as a result of this experience i.e. ‘more powerful than Cleopatra’.  Her journey probably includes writing graffiti on the tomb of Nefertiti – the great Royal wife of an Egyptian Pharaoh known for her elegance and beauty.

“MCs ain’t ready to take it to the Serengeti”

Serengeti – Tanzania’s oldest and most popular national park, also a world heritage site and recently proclaimed a 7th world wide wonder. I am guessing that Lauryn is referring here of the struggle she had in her work as an actress, singer/rap artist not being taken seriously by the then promoters and when broadcast nationally experience the criticism that her rhythms were too heavy which she likened to ‘the mind of Sister Betty’ –  Betty Shabazz, the widow of Malcolm X who was an African American Muslim minister and human rights activist.

Now on researching Betty Shabazz  I discovered that  she was not only Malcolm X’s wife but was an American educator and civil rights advocate, stressing that the promoters at the time may have thought that Lauryn’s rhythm’s came across too strong – too radical? too intelligent?  too African American and exhibiting a strong sense of cultural identity?

At some point, Hill was nicknamed “L Boogie“, as she began to convert her poetic writing into rap verses and what she described next in the lyrics;

“L. Boogie spars with stars and constellations
Then came down for a little conversation
Adjacent to the king, fear no human being
Roll with cherubims to Nassau Coliseum”

This speaks of how she began to look up to the sky – sparring with stars and constellations. I imagined Lauryn either lying on top of a flat roofed house or on top of hill looking up in the sky for some direction as I usually do as a child. Then she came down for a little conversation i.e. prayed adjacent to the King ,  probably Haile Selassis – the Rastafarian prophet.

She went on to describe getting over her fear of human beings once she found her place close to the King and then going off to Nassau Collesium feeling she was guarded by angels, able to turn her negative situation into something positive , given a new direction to combine her hip hop lyrics to Scripture. This is in a sense similar to what Eugene Petersen has done in translating the Scripture into an Americanised version – becoming a popular best seller, and so did Ms Hill in her accomplishment including the album the Mis-Education of Lauryn Hill, her time with the group the Fugees and her acting career.

So she rightly sings…

Now, everything is everything
What is meant to be, will be
After winter, must come spring
Change, it comes eventually

Sometimes it seems
We’ll touch that dream
But things come slow or not at all
And the ones on top, won’t make it stop
So convinced that they might fall
Let’s love ourselves then we can’t fail
To make a better situation
Tomorrow, our seeds will grow
All we need is dedication

So the final message is;

Change will eventually come. There are times when you feel like you won’t even touch or accomplish your dreams – it’s too far off! If it’s meant to be it will be. It will come slowly or not at all and the people on top who could help will not as they are so caught up and insecure about their own position or success, fearing that if they help you, they might fall. What a selfish world we live in!

So Lauryn’s words of wisdom is, if you find yourself in such a situation as we’ll all do at some point, the key is to learn to love ourselves. If we do that then we cannot fail to make our situation better. All we need is a little dedication and tomorrow our seeds will grow.

It’s 13:08 pm. I started my quiet time/writing at 8.30 am and after many interruptions, numerous telephone calls and requests , I think I’ve got the message.

So I’m off to put into action some Lauryn Hill’s theology and love myself by having a late breakfast.

Let me tell ya that,
Everything is everything
Everything is everything
After winter, must come spring
Everything is everything

I got the message Lord!:-)

Everything is everything
What is meant to be, will be
After winter, must come spring
Change, it comes eventually

According to Ms Hill the album entitled ‘The Misunderstanding of Education of Lauryn Hill’ is a play on low and high culture coming together, acting as a bridge between the old and new generation putting these styles together to build a continuum so that there isn’t such a disconnect between the generations – mixing the traditional with the contemporary.

I pray for a ministry that will be as Lauryn Hill describe – a carrier of the message that will bridge the gap between cultures, generations and people from all backgrounds, providing a place where they can develop and trust their own voice. I pray that God will provide me with the dedication and perseverance to do so and most importantly, amongst all this, teach me to love myself.

Galatians 3: 28 MSG

In Christ’s family there can be no division into Jew, non-Jew, slave and free, male or female. Among us all we are all equal. That is, we are all in a common relationship with Jesus Christ. Also, since you are Christ’s family, then you are Abraham’s famous “descendants,” heirs according to the covenant promise.

 So then, Go get your inheritance! 🙂

Blessings

K

27/10/2011

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