3/29/06

Soul Food

We served up a different kind of nourishment in the kitchen today. The sustenance didn’t come from any of the five food groups, but from each of the senses. My children have grown fond of a phenomenal folk musician named Eric Bibb. Earlier this week I happened upon a new CD and we’ve been singing along to Judge Not Your Brother for a couple of days now. The song sings a parable about a street confrontation with a panhandler. The children recognized the story was about one of the men who live under the bridge near our church we pass several times a week. Why these men are begging for money is often the subject of discussion. As is why I sometimes give money and sometimes do not. Although not completely foreign, the subject matter in Bibb’s profound lyrics still needed explanation to my children of 6, 4 and 3 years.

The questions the children were asking were tough for me to explain, so this afternoon we used crayons, markers, and paint to express what the song meant to us.



Judge Not Your Brother (lyrics by Eric Bibb)

Passed a young man on the street dressed in rags couldn’t have been more than 25
Lying on the sidewalk in a sleeping bag and a sign that read:
Your kindness keeps me alive
I remember I stopped and turned around couldn’t hold my tongue saying something about that sign bothers me
So I asked him, “Why’s a guy like you healthy, white and young living off working folk’s charity?” He said,

Judge not your brother
Walk a mile in his shoes
You see he’s doing the best that he can do
Like me and you

My mouth fell open wide shocked by the truth
The look in his eyes was wise and sad
He said, “Brother, I was born a rich man’s son, but I gave it all away, every last dollar I ever had”.
He wanted to know how it felt to be humbled by disdain, pity and indignation.
He asked me if I’d read the book Black Like Me. He said it was his inspiration.

Judge not your brother
Walk a mile in his shoes
You see he’s doing the best that he can do
Like me and you

Just when we think we know what’s really going on
Life serves us a surprise
A lesson to learn again and again
‘Cause we’ve all been victimized by prejudice and lies

Judge not your brother
Walk a mile in his shoes
You see he’s doing the best that he can do
Judge not your brother
Walk a mile in his shoes
You see he’s doing the best that he can do
Like me and you.


I started the afternoon project thinking I would teach the children something. From their illustrations, they gleaned a thing or two. But, as always I am humbled by my role as a mother and I realized the lesson Eric Bibb was teaching was for me. I have been judgmental lately and this song struck a chord. It fed my soul, nourished my heart and plated up a hearty reminder that we are all just doing the best that we can do.


1 comment:

amamgets said...

I so love this family.