“Bad Choices in Dark Places”
Excerpt from: Chapter 28
Zeke and The House of Possibilities
Zeke and Manny were standing outside Black Madonna Temple when a rail-thin young man with a jittery stride walked toward them. His shoulders were hunched and his hands shoved deep in his pants pockets. Sean was once a gifted artist whose work was finally being recognized and celebrated. Unfortunately, his talent could not save him from the poor choices that led to his drug addiction and homelessness.
Sean saw Zeke and quickened his pace, hoping to pass unnoticed. Zeke ignored him until he was within arm’s reach. Then Zeke grabbed the young man and whispered in his ear, “When you’re ready to get out of Hell, come see me!”
Sean snatched his body from Zeke’s grasp and hurried away.
“Still want to know who I’d like to kill, Manny? Drug Dealers!” Zeke’s face contorted as he watched Sean turn the corner. His heart broke a little more each time he bumped into his young friend.
“It ain’t easy watching somebody you love hold a gun to his head and pray for strength to pull the trigger.” In the absence of Divine Intervention, Zeke knew instinctively that Sean would one day take a direct hit at his own hand.
“Makes me wanna pull out my M-16 and put a hurtin’ on every drug dealer I lay eyes on!” There was unbridled passion in Zeke’s voice.
Manny could easily picture Zeke with an M-16 twenty-five years earlier, but the good Reverend spoke as if he had just recently blown somebody away.
“But that’s not an option …” Zeke mellowed and moved on.
Manny was still caught up in the moment. “Now what’s a Preacher Man doin’ with an M-16!”
Zeke smiled sheepishly and changed the subject. “Know anybody with a hundred thou, Manny? That’s what it’ll take for me to build a Center that can really do some good. Black Madonna is not a House of Possibilities … not yet!”
“You’re doing good work here, Zee.”
“Yeah but without big money, we barely make a ripple. I want to create a tidal wave!”
“What would you do if you had the money? What’s your Dream?”
A spontaneous smile filled every nook and cranny in Zeke’s face, as if it levitated from some place deep in his soul. It was obvious he had spent quality time with his Dream.
“Lord, Lord, Lord. Here’s my blue-sky scenario. I’d buy that vacant building next door, renovate it and build a center to teach and empower people.”
“Teach them what?”
“How to see themselves as GOD sees them.”
Manny’s expression indicated that he was clueless about what Zeke was saying.
“Manny, I believe GOD sees us as His children. That’s who we really are, even though some of us are scared and screwed up. And that’s why we don’t operate in the power He has given us. We don’t see ourselves as HE sees us!”
“The scared and screwed up part I get, but the power …”
“I know you don’t, but that’s because you don’t see yourself as GOD sees you. Not Yet! When you do, you’ll know what power you have and how to use it.”
“Mom was somebody I thought really knew GOD.” Manny paused and looked away, “But I was wrong about that.”
“No, you weren’t wrong! Lisa just made some really bad choices. She was dealt a new hand in the Game of Life and she didn’t know how to play it. But what’s worse is she stopped seeing herself as GOD sees her. She believes the Deck is stacked against her. It’s hard to recover from that, Manny.”
“You’re talking about Pop now, right?”
“I don’t know, Manny. Only Lisa knows that. But what I do know is this. No matter what happens in life, you have to remember one thing. God’s help is always available to you, if you’re willing to take it.”
“So you want that new Center so you can teach people how to cope with life.”
“Yeah, that’s a big part of it. But first I got’a teach them how to really SEE themselves as GOD sees them. If I can do that, the coping with life part is almost a no brainer. You dig?”
“You’re talking about a Renaissance, Zeke. Harlem’s Renaissance has come and gone, man.”
“Nah, Manny, this is different. I’m talking about a Renaissance of the Spirit! The new Black Madonna Center will be called The House of Possibilities!”
“You’ll need more than a hundred thousand, Zeke.”
“Nah, Manny. Reuben broke it down for me. The hundred thousand is just Seed Money. He said we’ll start small and work up to the Dream!”
“Reuben said what?”
“You may not have noticed, but Reuben is a financial wizard!” Zeke lowered his voice, “Just between you, me, and the lamppost, Reuben’s hooked into three organizations that need major funding for their projects. He just pulled Madonna in. We’ll have to wait our turn, but it’s a good move. Jackie and Mike don’t even know about it yet. So keep all this under your hat! You dig?”
Zeke watched with amusement as Manny’s eyes widened with amazement. Zeke continued, “They don’t know about most of the stuff Reuben’s into. He’s very private about this all … even with them. Reuben does a lot for those organizations that he can’t talk about or take credit for and still be effective.”
Manny pulled Zeke into direct focus, “How does he …”
“Listen, there’s still a lot I can’t tell you about what we’re into … Reuben, Jackie, Mike and me. It’s good work, Manny. You’d be proud to be part of it. But for now, keep your lips tight about all this!”
“Wait a minute, Zeke. Are you saying …”
Zeke laughed and pulled back. “I ain’t saying another thing but this. Reuben ain’t no slouch. The brother’s got a lot of clout in some interesting places. And he can turn money over like you wouldn’t believe. Reuben is a bad Mama-Jama when it comes to Money! The guys don’t call him Wall Street just ‘cause he works there.”
Manny’s face lit up again, “Really?”
“Oh yeah. You should talk to him. He likes you so I know he’d teach you some stuff … if you’re interested.”
“Oh yeah! We need a black Mexican American Bill Gates on the team.”
≈ ≈ ≈ ≈ ≈ ≈ ≈ ≈ ≈
I’d love to get your Comments or Questions here or on Facebook.