The Weekly Oracle
There is so much violence that our young people are facing in every corner of our world. And for many young people the only time that their story is told is during a funeral. I wonder how much different our lives would be how much richer, if young could people could tell their story while yet alive. There is also a legend of a certain people in New Zealand who are able to communicate with rocks. If that is true maybe we can learn to communicate with our children.
There is a land, full of young people, young men, and full of violence. The violence of war, the violence of the people, the violence of the land. And young men rarely reach adulthood or elder-hood. In this land there seemed to be so many funerals and ceremonies for dead young men. And at the funerals we hear crying and stories of bravery and hope and love. And this is the experience of this land. This colored the music and food and family of the land. Everywhere in the news or gossip the conversation is about the young men.
And no one knew what could be done for the mothers’ cries and fathers’ depression and the wives’ sorrow. But the land began to hear and feel and respond. For their existed a mysterious relationship between the people and the land. A kind of call and response. So that when the people acted the land responded. And when the people of the land cried the land heard their cry. And for a moment the trees and birds and rocks and all life shone brilliantly, for the land sensed the tender heart of the people. But the new life was unsustainable and could not flourish for the people had not yet learned the value of all life especially the grounding and life sustaining power of grief. And so everything started to fade and age and become weak. The leaves turned brown and flowers wilted and the old men and old women became gravely ill. And there were no blossoms or new fruit or young calves. And the rain no longer fell.
And all the leaders of the land came together for a consultation to see what could be done. And all the reports were the same. Death was creeping over the land. And the wise women and men could not find a solution. To stall death. To deter decay. To stop the violence. And when someone thought to bring a young man into the consultation violence and decay only descended on the ceremony.
And one morning a young boy about the age of 15 was walking along a lane and he saw a rock. This rock seemed to call out to him and speak his name. He looked around but no one else seemed to hear the call. And he stooped down and picked up the rock. And as soon as he touched the rock he heard a story. A story that was compelling. A story of war and violence and bravery. A story of heartbreak and sadness. He heard the entire history of the land. And the more he heard the more he changed and soon the boy became a man.
And when the leaders and kings and parents called another consultation the young man happened to be passing by and went in to the meeting. No one saw him enter but as soon as he entered the meeting was transformed. And everyone in the room began to hear the same story. And the frustration and depression and anxiety and anger disappeared. And no one said a word. Until the new man stood up and told the story of the rock. And he led all the people to the place where he found the rock. And then an old man heard his name and he saw his rock, and then the leader of the consultation heard his name come from the rock in front of him. And everyone found their rock and their story in their rock.
And the violence lessened and eventually ceased. And the death and decay ended. And new blossoms appeared. And the members of the consultation told their friends and family about the rock and everyone went to the place and there heard their story and found their rock. And families became loving and peaceful. And in every region everyone had their story contained in their rock.
And all was peaceful and the people played music and sang songs and enjoyed food and celebrated. There were marriages and baby naming celebrations. And at one of the celebrations when everyone had their rock and their story a young man entered who did not have a rock. At first he was invisible to the throng. But he did not notice for he was listening to his own story, it did not come from a rock however, it came from within his own being. And at these gatherings it was customary that whoever desired could stand up and speak from their rock. And the young man stood up to take his turn. But as he had no rock no one paid him any attention, they ignored him and his story. For the people did not understand the life negating force of neglect and rejection. For rejection and neglect not only destroy stories but the people and their land as well.
Later that evening a familiar strangeness was in the air. Decay returned. And so did death. It began as it had started with youth violence. And soon people were going back to the rock trail to retrieve more rocks but now the rocks no longer spoke. They were silent and confusion and sorrow again covered the land. But the young man who had his story within him grew stronger and stronger.
For the land had become silent. Without a song. And without a story. And without wisdom. And when the young man was seen in town speaking all supposed that he was mad, talking to himself. Later that evening when the young man was eating his meal on the street. A young lady overheard him and her curiosity got the best of her and she inquired of the young man’s strange behavior. He intoned his story to her which mesmerized her. She wondered if she too could possess this strange magic, the ability to possess one’s story in their own being. She learned to hear her own story and then to tell the tale.
The two of them went to her friend with this special ability of hearing and sharing one’s story. And whoever learned how was immediately transformed. And they traveled on from friend to friend passing on the power of one’s story. They eventually arrived again at the consultation of kings and parents and the powerful. They did not need to announce their presence for those assembled could see a glow and heard the singing of a new song. And immediately the powerful were disarmed and began hearing their own stories in their own language, and weeping ensued, but not the weeping of desolation and despair but of a cathartic love that was born of understanding.
And the land was happy again. And the sky was content. And the birds made new acquaintances. And the rocks cried out.
Through storytelling, poetry, singing, dancing, preaching, and facilitating spaces and times of cultural wellness, Alan Kevin Walton King creates a space for love. Bringing together his experience and training as a religious minister; along with training and performing with Griots and professional artists in Senegal, Mali, and the Gambia; his work in Post-Katrina New Orleans as a community organizer, a whole-hearted participant in second line dance performances, and as a preacher in communities looking to rediscover their vision; and most recently working as a psychotherapist and healer. Walton King Lives in Los Angeles
Alan Kevin Walton King: firstname.lastname@example.org
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