When I was younger, I woke up from dreams (and sometimes nightmares) often. I would pull out a piece of paper, a napkin, anything I could write on and jot down notes to use in my writing later. I don't know when or why I quit doing this. About a year ago, I was startled awake from a dream about my kiddos in Africa, and the notes turned into this the next day:
I AM AFRICA.
I AM YEARNING. I AM DUSTY BARE FEET
AND CALLUSED HANDS, YELLOW EYES AND PINK
SMILING LIPS. I AM THE PROMISE OF A RAINBOW IN THE
MARKET FABRICS, THE NOURISHMENT OF YAMS, MANGOES,
AND FISH. I AM THE MISSING ARMS OF WAR AND THE HALF-
DEAD LEGS OF DISEASE. I AM DRIPPING SWEAT ON MUSCLED
SHOULDERS, STRENGTH TO CARRY THE WEIGHT OF LIFE. I AM
GAP-TOOTHED, BIG-BELLIED LAUGHTER. I AM THE CRY OF THE
ORPHAN, THE DREAM OF THE WIDOW. I AM DRUMS AND
CLAPPING, DANCING AND SINGING. I AM REJOICING IN THE MIDST
OF SORROW. I AM HUMBLE FATHERS, PRAYING MOTHERS, JOYFUL
SONS, AND RISEN DAUGHTERS. I AM SUNSET COMMUNION WITH
SUNRISE WORSHIP. I AM BROKEN LIMBS, BROKEN BODY, POURED
OUT FOR MY PEOPLE. I AM SWEAT, BEADING ON THE
FISHERMAN’S SUN-TANNED SKIN. I AM
THE ACHE IN THE SEAMSTRESS’ FINGERS,
THE PAIN IN THE CARPENTER’S JOINTS.
I AM LAST YEAR’S TEARS, THIS MORNING’S
SONG, AND TOMORROW’S MYSTERY. I AM
ARMS STRETCHED OUT, HEART OPEN,
EMBRACING CHANGE TO COME. I AM
THE BREATH OF LIFE IN THE FACE
OF DEATH, DAYLIGHT ON THE
OCEAN’S HORIZON. I AM QUIET
PASSION. I AM BOLD BEAUTY.
I AM RENEWED STRENGTH.
I AM A NEW GENERATION
OF PEACE. I AM THE SPIRIT
AND HEART OF GOD. I AM
A CONQUERING LOVE,
LIVED OUT LOUD.
I AM AFRICA.