The Wilderness by Matasha Lee
When the Israelites were freed from their oppressor, they were brought to the wilderness where they stayed for a great amount of time. Within the wilderness you had those of old with old mentalities desiring to worship God in the ways of what they knew and go about life the way they knew before, not desiring to change, and not desiring to experience something new. Their desire was to make the wilderness their home, but the wilderness experience wasn’t supposed to be set up for them to make a home, but for them to survive until they reached their promise land, so much so, that their food was provided for each day and nothing could be saved or the canker worms would eat of it. The wilderness is set up for survival. You wake up and move toward your destiny, you eat, sleep, and honor the One who has brought you thus far. You don’t set up camp, worship services, and you do not make the wilderness your home. You must continue to move forward.
I look at my generation today and we have the keys to our promise land but we are still out picketing the ways of old, and we can’t move on because of so much anger camped inside of us from our ancestors of the past. We burn down the shrines that suppose to represent prosperity but really represent our downfalls. We are burning our homes to the ground because we do not desire a wilderness experience. We are the generation who should be awarded the promise land, yet, we are barely surviving with nothing but faith keeping us afloat. We are at the verge of turning into our forefathers, and casting aside our dreams. Why, simple, we are tired. We do not desire to picket; we don’t desire to be beaten by police, shot like dogs, to afraid to step outside our doors. We desire a chance, and many of us lose hope because we don’t see that chance in sight. So, what do we do, we make homes in the wilderness, we start families in the wilderness, children are raised in the wilderness, we grow up in the wilderness, we run wild in the wilderness, not going anywhere. We are waisting away, and yet you have idiots believing that when they turn on their television that these young people who are rioting and looting stores are destroying their homes when they are really destroying their wilderness experience. They are unconsciously or consciously destroying what many have desired to represent to be their promise lands. They are looting, stealing because they desire to feed their wilderness experience. No one is providing directions to the promise land, the leaders of today are calling them thugs and not by their true name, promise ones. Our ancestors have already been beaten, hung, brutalized, destroyed, that is not supposed to be my generation. My generation was asked at an early age, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” We had dreams put inside of us, and told to go to college. We are the generation of the American Dream, but look now, it is slipping away, and yet we continue to wander around with no goals in sight. We are suppose to be under a declaration that declares that we have the inalienable right to Life, Liberty, and The Pursuit of Happiness, but how is that possible when all three are being taken away, college prices are sky rocketing, there are areas that will not even allow buses in their community to keep certain people out knowingly knowing that they have the best schools around, but they only desire certain people to attend it. These days you can afford college through financial aid, but where will you stay because there isn’t any money left over to board, and you still have to eat, and survive because let’s face it, college is an wilderness experience, that is why dorms are set up, not mansions or two-story homes, you have ramen noodles to eat, not at five star restaurants, you are in debt from student loans until you graduate and find a decent job, and if you have graduated from college you know that isn’t the truth and it isn’t easy to find a job at all, even though you went to school to have a career not struggle to receive minimum wage because how will minimum wage pay for $20000 of debt, when it can’t even help you find a decent place to lay your head. God forbid you make any mistakes while you are in college because you may end up paying for it for your entire life and don’t dare change your mind of what you desire to be because you may just end up paying even more money, and don’t be behind on your education because then they will charge even more for the basics before you ever get a chance to head towards what you desired to go to school for in the first place, but, yes, let’s keep sending our children off to school because it is important to receive an education, I don’t deny it, we just won’t make it accessible for everyone leaving people with that route closed and departure signs to exit left and head towards the welfare line, or McDonalds while shoving advertisements down our throats reminding us that you just haven’t gotten to the promise land.
I use to think God hated me because I didn’t have nice things and barely had any food to eat. And, because I had made mistakes and had children out of wedlock, two to be exact, by the age of 21, I thought he had casted me away, written me off. I didn’t seem blessed because I had lost it all, so many times, school, jobs, home, I wandered around in my wilderness experience, feeling abandoned and alone. I found out as I kept traveling down my road of life that He didn’t. If anything He became my experience. He became the wind when I had to walk a long way home to push me when I was tired. He became food when I needed to eat, water when I needed to drink. He became opportunities when I needed cash on hand and an umberella to protect me in the storm. I know about my wilderness experience so well, so I am not quick to judge the anger of my brothers and sisters. For, I weep for them, I weep because I know how they feel. I know what it is like to grow up on the south side of town, what is really considered the black side of town. I know what it feels to desire to shine but yet still want to fit in because you don’t desire to shine alone and you definitely don’t want to leave your friends behind who are struggling to come to terms with seeing that there is a better world out there than the one that is been handed to us. You don’t want to become more than what your family sees you becoming because then you may think you are better than the next person causing you to be alone, don’t dare have nice things because you may be outshining the next, so the cycle continues up and down, never amounting to anything, never going anywhere. I’ve had the priviledge to step outside of religion and learn from different teachers of life which has drawn me closer to God but what has drawn me even closer was in really dark moments when I had no one to call on, and no electronics to get to the greats, when I had to fall on my knees with blindness of tears, and humble myself before God, those moments led me to love Him more.
Now, how do we get out of the wilderness? How do we stop having a wilderness experience? Here is some honesty, first, we must stop fighting each other. Let’s X out the cops and the racist people of the land and those stuck in their ways, let’s not focus on them. Let’s focus on US; we have to help each other heal. We have to accept each other’s greatness. We have to stop building homes in the wilderness and keep striving for our dreams and goals to come about. We can’t worry about the debt we consume along the way. When we live for God there are certain things that can’t harm you. You may be in the wilderness but you will not be of it. You will travel through and it will not take you forty years to come out. You will see our generation take back control of our environment and change the way things are operating. Our children will not be afraid to love their enemies. They will not be afraid to sit by someone different than they are. They will be raised to love each other, even if that means relations. We will accept those who are heterosexual as well as homosexual or gay. We will accept one another for who we are, genuinely. We will not tear each other down because we desire to pursue our dreams. You know we don’t suppose to be picketing, rioting, or looting. You know when you take those things it will only lead you further into the wilderness and what you’ve stolen will be eaten up and you will not get the experience you desire out of it because it wasn’t put on your block for you to prosper. It was put there for you to seem dressed well as a wanderer. It is a golden shrine that must be destroyed but not by your hands, but by you actually moving forward into being Owners yourselves, so when you get ready to buy up the entire store you will have the ability to buy for those who have no shoes, where it will last until they are able to follow in your shoes. We have the power to change the world. We have the power to enter into our promise land. It starts with us. We have to forgive, and we have to heal. I know it wasn’t fair and you be damn if what they did to our ancestors will happen to us. We want their blood, but it can’t happen by us shedding our own. We have to stand in a more powerful way. We have the ability too.
Let’s leave our wilderness experience, once and for all, and head towards our promise land. Let’s declare a new decree: We are free to be the promise Ones. We are a chosen generation, a priestly hood. We weren’t meant to die in the wilderness. God rose up our generation to be leaders, to stand up for one another. I am standing with you. I am pushing. I am not giving up, and each time I try I am showing you that life is worth living, not just surviving. We weren’t meant to just survive. Christ who loves this outcast generation said He died so that we can have a right to the tree of life. We are meant to prosper in a land flowing with milk and honey. It is our birth right to live a full life. We see life differently because we are different. We are the age of today that has everything we need equipped in us to face any storm that comes our way and any challenge that we need to overcome. We may be in the wilderness, being laughed at, talked about, they may think we will not rise to be all that we are suppose to be but we will because we are meant to enter into the land that God has reserved for us. I’ll see you there.