Yesterday was March 11, 2021. Olivia and I made reservations to see Reva for Chakra cleanses up in Asheville, NC. I’ve been having problems with shortness of breath and wheezing for more than three months now; I finally went to the health food store, Good Nature, and bought some natural curatives. The problem has gotten very disconcerting because in this last month I find that I don’t have enough air to complete sentences or that I have to stop talking completely and rest because I am so short winded.
Now, Olivia and I have been, for over twenty years, in the same spiritual classroom. We study, pray, and journey together. So, God often speaks to us together. He will speak either through one to the other or to both simultaneously, sometimes, even through our dreams. When He speaks, He cracks the veneer of our understanding; He shows up with a tangible clarity that is necessary for the revelation of truth.
So, yesterday we’re both talking about our upcoming cleansing and how as a teacher, scholar, and mentor, it would be horrible if I could not speak anymore. I’ve had Parkinson’s for the last 23 years and I’ve seen patients who had lost their ability to talk. Mostly, I’d seen them in the waiting room of the Parkinson’s Treatment Center. I couldn’t remember what they looked like, but the one person I clearly remembered in every detail was Muhammed Ali. I specifically recall him doing an interview, and he could barely move, only nod. I remember thinking; “My God, he’s not even that old. That’s my hero. I watched him float like a butterfly and sting like a bee. This was the man who could take any punch and laugh. He had spoken his greatness into being: ‘I am the greatest,’ was his rallying cry!”
Today, March 12th, Olivia has a conversation with a business woman. The woman tried to barter with Olivia, offering her studio space for creative services. Olivia and I had already come to an agreement that bartering empty space for creative power was not equitable; in fact, considering the level of her talent, it was grossly unfair to Olivia. When the woman brought up the possibility of bartering, Olivia explained to the woman who I was and that we had made an agreement that would not be broken because it was in Olivia’s best interest. She mentioned that I had Parkinson’s, and the first thing that the woman said was, “like Muhammed Ali.” As Olivia is telling me this, the whole specter of Muhammed Ali’s muted nod, bowed head, and shuffling feet came into view. I heard God speak; “you have to fight every day for your life.” His words set me still.
I understood that he didn’t mean that I should put myself in combative situations or relationships; He meant every little choice we make, must be made to declare our strength in Him. He meant that we demonstrate our unity with Him in every way possible. This is how we resist the temptation to doubt, to sell ourselves cheaply, to undervalue our creative power. We are not just God’s possessions; we are His reflections! Each of us can rightly cry out;
“I am the greatest! There will never be another like me! I am the greatest fighter that has ever lived! I am…”