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You Tube’s three stanzas of the anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing” moved me deeply, its one hundred-year-lyrics still sung in Black Churches, in Black History Month seminars, and other events. The anthem’s vision speaks to those willing to listen: a plea for Liberty to the God of silent tears.

The dismal failure of the Civil War Post-Reconstruction in late nineteenth-century America compelled James Weldon Johnson, lawyer, school administrator, prolific writer, and poet in Jacksonville, Florida, to compose these lyrics. Tears flooded him after listening to his brother’s rendering them in the word-painting technique: the melding of images upon the soulful melody in A flat major, often used in spirituals.

“ Lift Every Voice and Sing” was first presented to honor the1900 visit of educator Booker T. Washington to the Black school, Stanton, where Johnson was principal. Those five hundred singers, many becoming teachers, carried the anthem with them, and taught other classrooms, which, in turn, spread this vision of hope.

In 1919, the NAACP proclaimed, “ Lift Every Voice and Sing” the Black National Anthem of America; it also spirited the1960s Civil Rights Movement led by Dr. Martin Luther King.

YouTube carries several versions of this stirring anthem.

At 6:30 A.M., I awoke with this inspiring dream:

A restorative expert invited me to join a mixed group of artists to work with him on an ancient Gothic chapel, fallen in disrepair and almost obscured by the surrounding virgin forest. He provided the necessary scaffolding, tools, the paints and shellac. Tedious work followed on the frescoes and mosaics that had adorned the walls, ceiling, and arches. Imperceptibly, the original Christian motifs s began to reappear and told a different story from the one we were painstakingly removing.

This glimpse into my psyche heartened me. Like the ancient Gothic chapel, fallen in disrepair and almost obscured by the surrounding virgin forest, my spirit-house has grown old, encrusted with scum, distressed. Yet, someone has noticed: A restorative expert, God in disguise, engages a mixed group of artists, symbolic of balanced energies to spruce up the centering room in my psyche as I deepen my end-of life work.

He also provides the necessary scaffolding, tools, the paints and shellac that suggest the sixteen helpful practices in CPA’s Tool Box: meditation, literature, meetings and phone contacts with members, journaling, etc.—all critical for scraping the dross from my spiritual faculties to allow the full emergence of my authentic story. This is a daily task, with no time offs. Setbacks still occur, but,  “Oh well!”—I just begin again until the next one.

Psalm 16:11 You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Such is promised those who enter the sanctuary of their hearts and listen and obey. The guidance is there. We’ve only to follow it.

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