Six categories – story

Jamilla and Dante’s podcraft was hurtling towards the surface of the planet at an unhealthy rate. Their honeymoon was about to be cut short due to a terminal case of gravity. Little did they know that they had a lot more detective work to do. They simply thought they were about to provide a lot more work for their office.
They had headed to Altair 5 as a cover anyway. Too many other podcrafts had gone down unexpectedly in the past month to be a coincidence. They knew from their many years of working for the office of Judge Jones Malone that sometimes the best way to solve a crime was to become part of it.
They were peacekeepers, both of them, but they were also in love. Dante had noticed Jamilla first. She’d sashayed into Judge Malone’s office that dusty August afternoon, plaspapers in hand, looking for a job as a detective. Her mechanical horse Rusty Nut was tethered up just outside, refueling at the energy trough. Dante thought she sure filled out her crimson chaps well. The fringe swayed in a way that made him look at her a bit longer than he thought he was supposed to.
But there wasn’t time for such memories now. The planet that they had looked forward to spending some quality time on was coming up far faster than they liked, and there wasn’t anybody else on board to help. It was up to them.
And the angels.
In the middle of the cramped podcraft, filled with everything they’d need for a vacation that also was a cover for an investigation, Jamilla put her hands together. She prayed like she always prayed, out loud, unscripted. She prayed to God, the Creator, the Source of all. She prayed to the same God who parted the sea so the Israelites could escape from their enemies. Even though there was no sea this time, the danger was the same. She had no idea what God could do in this situation, but she knew that God could do anything, and hey, it couldn’t hurt to ask.
And the angels came, four hundred of them strong. They came out of nowhere and they surrounded the craft, lifting, buoying it up. Some of them held it on their winged shoulders. Some of them fluttered their wings nearby to keep the ship cool from the reentry. They came, gloriously, triumphantly, majestically.
They were invisible as always to everybody but Jamilla. She could see them from the podcraft’s port window, crowding together. The spaceport tower controllers were oblivious to what was going on. They just thought that the ship had suddenly righted itself. All they knew was that they were going to have a lot less paperwork to fill out now.
(This is what happened when I tried to combine as many categories as I could. I ended up with African American, Mystery, Romance, Christian, Western, and Science Fiction. If you tried to put all those stickers on the spine of one book, you’d never see the author or title. )

Knowing the soul

Western medicine treats the patient like a machine, not like a person. They see the body as the sum of the moving parts, but they don’t see the soul within. They don’t understand the connection between the two – they don’t understand that you can’t separate them.

But then, this is because Western society does the same.

This is the same with modern food production. Animals are treated like parts, like products. They are not treated fairly or humanely. They are not even accorded the kindness we give to pets that live outside. They are treated as a commodity. Their physical needs are barely met, and everything else is ignored.

This started with women and birth. Women used to give birth at home. Then it changed so that women were expected to give birth in a hospital. Birth stopped being a private thing, a personal thing. It started to become as impersonal as possible. Strangers assisted your mother when you were born. Strangers took you away from her just after. You were just another baby in a bassinet. They had to put a nametag on your arm to make sure that you didn’t get mixed up with the other babies who were there. It wouldn’t do any good to send you home with the wrong family, would it? If you’d been born at home, none of that would have happened.

But that is just the tip of the iceberg.

Do we look at the packaging, or at the gift inside?

Do we judge a book by its cover? Sure. All the time.

Women are judged all the time for their appearance and not their ability.

How many people do you know by name? How many people know yours? Plenty of people see me every day. Some have seen me every week for the whole time I’ve worked at the library, and they still don’t know my name. Some, if they know my name, only know the one on my name tag. They don’t know the name I like to go by. They don’t know anything about what I like to read, but they insist on recommending or even giving me books to read.

We can’t get upset about how everybody else has been doing this, and how long it has been going on. The change begins with us. We have to be the change we wish to see in the world.

We can change this. We have to stop and look people in the eyes. We have to slow down and really connect. It starts with us. It starts today. Turn off your cell phone and really connect with one other person today. Ask them how they are doing and wait for the answer. If they say “fine” and they don’t look like they mean it, ask again. Be brave. This can be someone you know or a stranger. Sometimes the people we think we know, we really don’t know at all. Sometimes we’ve been faking it with small talk all along.

It doesn’t have to be everybody you meet. Start with one. If you feel brave, try two. It is hard at first but it gets easier. Just don’t let it get so easy that you forget to really do it.

Imagine what the world will be like if we all did this, every day, for the rest of our lives? Time to start. Let’s go.