A Mustard Seed
Ten days ago, I met a beautiful person full of passion and personality. She was looking for one of my colleagues who had been a guest speaker at one of her classes. I had seen my colleague leave the building for her walk on campus and her door was still closed. Apparently she had not yet returned. She is highly disciplined and walks every day.
This beautiful spirit, our visitor, was in a hurry, on her way to China for a week, she exclaimed. But she wanted to make and confirm an appointment for her class which would resume after Spring break. Still looking at the closed door, she asked me, “Are you married?” What an odd question. Is this lady trying to hook me up with someone? She does not know me! I wondered. My face must have reflected my disbelief at her question after such a brief encounter.
She informed me that she teaches psychology and one of her classes is “Psychology and Human Sexuality”. She stated that my colleague and her husband had discussed the topic of Human Sexuality in her class and how it applied to their married life. “I need a couple who has been married for a long time”, she said. I told my new acquaintance “I am just the opposite. I am single. Would you like to hear a poem? “ She said “Yes.” I began to recite my poem (which was published in Indiana Voice Journal, Nov., 2015):
Father God, nothing is hidden from you
You know my brokenness, my foolishness, my pain
Still you blessed me with beautiful gifts….
The professor immediately covered her ears and said “Stop -- I don’t want to hear anymore. You must come to my class as the guest speaker.” I agreed, even though I am not a speaker, but I am compelled always to recite my poetry. Three years ago, I discovered the glory of the Lord. Since then, I say “Yes” to every opportunity because, in myself, I understand nothing, but I trust Him and know I am on a journey and the Holy Spirit is guiding me. There is a lot of movement in my life where I see the Lord at work even in the midst of my circumstances of pain and lack. I know this will be my best year yet.
For example, last weekend, for an International Women’s Day celebration, I was invited to share my poetry at an event and I said, “Yes.” A few days before the event, I received a flyer. The event was titled “Calling All Women, Femmes, and Queers.” There was no judgment here. I observed how God uses me. I have a deep affection and love for people. The event gave me an opportunity to reflect the grace of God. I showered my love on God’s children. My work was well-received. The core of my writing is celebrating human dignity; as a result, I call out injustice like Jesus did, and celebrate His abundant love, the goodness and kindness of Jesus. God has already blessed the just and the unjust. Every time I share my poetry, I tell my story, my testimony, and I get an opportunity to stir and build faith.
So, yesterday at the class on Psychology and Human Sexuality, I was given the entire class period with over 25 students. The stage was set. As the students entered the classroom, calypso music was playing. Calypso music was developed in, or is indigenous to, Trinidad and Tobago (where I come from) and contains a lot of sexual innuendo and political commentary. According to Greek mythology, Calypso was a nymph who fell in love with Odysseus and held him captive for several years with her singing. The backdrop for this presentation was a graphic of a lady in red, which had accompanied my essay “Scared by Red” (IVJ, June 2017).
This marriage of the music and image gave students a glimpse into my culture: wild abandon. I proceeded to tell a variety of stories about my background and read several poems, “Seduction,” “Reminisce,” and “Stolen Moments.” The students were engaged and had several questions. The professor and some students made a note of the IVJ website. More importantly, I was able to weave in my story about my spiritual growth and how my spiritual gifts were revealed to me.
I ended the presentation with two poems.
I never thought
I would want to be
I sat on my bed
and called your name
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.
stained my cheeks.
I've always had someone
but I never cried
I cried for me.
Next to Me
you do not want to be in the room
next to me
you would wonder what is going on
I moan and groan and thrash and move around
so many things touch my soul
when I am
when I am reading,
when I am reading
The Holy Bible.
The professor expressed how shocked she was at the end of the last poem. “After all of that, it was just the Bible?” she asked. I was able to testify that my passion and love has intensified now that I have a relationship with Jesus Christ. I know there is no other love like His. I know the power of the cross and the beauty and joy of His never-ending, perfect love. I shared about the beauty of the language in the Bible and its purpose; the revelation that the Bible is a manual for life. It is very personal, intimate, prophetic, and romantic. The experience of resting in the arms of Jesus gives me peace and makes me complete. I hunger and seek God’s guidance and wisdom. “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering without hypocrisy” (James 3:17, NASB). I am taking every opportunity He gives me to plant a seed, even if it is the size of a mustard seed. It is springtime and that seed will flourish, in the Name of Jesus.
Elizabeth P. Brooks is originally from Trinidad and Tobago and now calls Tampa Bay home. She is deeply concerned about human dignity and the need for social justice. She is outgoing, loves the sound of laughter and the power of the word. She is a performance poet and has had several poems and two non-fiction essays published in Indiana Voice Journal. She is the author of a recently published chapbook, “You May Applaud Now and other poems” and she is currently working on a novel and many other projects. Elizabeth is a reference librarian at Saint Leo University in Dade City, Fla., and volunteers as an adult literacy tutor in Tampa. She is a contributor to the Huffington Post. Elizabeth writes the column "A Call to Love" for Spirit Fire Review. You can visit Elizabeth at her Facebook page here: Elizabeth Brooks