24 on the Block

January 16, 2014 at 12:21 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

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Heroin Part 1: Exit 9

April 28, 2013 at 10:24 pm (Life, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Drug_Addiction_by_ScottyRobottyI braced myself against the cold morning wind, blowing through the 8th floor balcony of the Memorial Parkway housing projects. All night long, I nodded on an old dingy couch that was tossed out by one of the tenants. Last night’s shot of heroin managed to keep me warm and unconcerned, but as the dawn would soon brake, so would my high. I was no longer in the posture of delight that the night had left me in, but was instead exposed to the abruptness of the sun, curled up in a fetal position.

I cursed myself every time for not taking heed to the old time dope fiend’s caveat “always save a little for the morning”.  As I rose up and staggered down the hall towards the elevator (which I forgot was out of service), I slammed my frail body against the staircase door and was met by the stench of urine, blood, and alcohol. Broken bottles and crack pipes along with empty wax bags of heroin arrayed the pavement floors of the stairwell. Every floor I descended upon from the 8th down to the 1st, the words “My God help me” bellowed up from my belly and through the trembling lips, of one who has been plagued by all the marvelous ailments of a drug addict: Homelessness, hawking desperation, hunger, perpetual feebleness, and that delusional mind-set that one is not as bad as everyone sees him to be.

I realized oddly enough that I couldn’t walk flat footed as I made my way to the adjacent building where Uncle Mike lived. From the soles of my feet came a sharp burning pain, a pain that I managed to be indolent to in order to sympathize with the demands of my addiction. I would coax this untamable beast with utopian promises of a perfect oblivion where the agony of time and the ridiculous preoccupation of sobriety was absent. I pushed the 5th floor button on the elevator and luckily for me, it went up. I had no plans to knock on my uncle’s door for anything. Heck, I didn’t even want him to be aware of my presence, but for the sake of the projects security personnel, my uncle’s residence was my residence. As I drew close to the apartment door I listened to see if anyone was up yet. It was still early enough for me to doze off on my uncles balcony before he and his girlfriend would head off to work. With my head tucked in between my knees, just a foot away from the apartment door, I fell into a dark sleep of confined agitations. My ceaseless bouts with asthma only served to intensify the core of my sickness. It was the heavy breathing, my moaning, and wheezing which carried that pitiful tone of supplication into my uncle’s apartment. That sound was not foreign to my uncle’s ears as he stood by so many times before to witness my struggle for air and my mother’s frustration in her attempt to bring relief to me.vancouver-drug-addict

Uncle Mike was horrified when he opened his front door only to find me slouched over, mumbling, and swearing, at the demons that crouched over me. This was the brother of my mother and he loved me dearly; with tears rolling down his face he scooped me off the ground like I weighed 50 pounds and shot straight to the bathroom. By now I was wide awake in my pain and in the stench of my flesh. He turned the bath tub on and proceeded to help me out of my clothes. When he tried to take off my socks I screamed out in pain. I didn’t realize that under both the soles of my feet were open bloody wounds and my socks had dried deep inside them. Panic and horror gripped me, but my uncle acted quickly and laid me in the bathtub which had filled up by now.

I remember him telling me to lay back and let the warm water soak my feet enough for the socks to be unglued. It was perhaps an hour or two before I sat in the living room with my feet propped on Uncle Mike’s knee as he dabbed my wounds with a q-tip and some type of cortisone cream.

The passion of his pleas were threatening to this callous heart as he continued to implore my recovery I had by now resigned myself to the hopelessness that was and was to come. Later that night as the sun was setting, I plucked the butt of the Marlboro light cigarette through the balcony fence and darted straight for the stairwell.

Despite my sore feet I managed to hold tight of the staircase railings until I arrived at the bottom floor. Right before I exited the building I could hear the echoes of my uncles cry; “Mijo No! No, no! Wait, wait, come back!” But I was gone… (excerpt from Dangerous Potential the book coming soon)

Alex Diab

Image Links: First image by Scotty Robotty  http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=Drug+Addiction&FORM=RESTAB#view=detail&id=BEE5206475BC808B00F8FA3D53DFC19D5724B5E5&selectedIndex=89
http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=Drug+Addiction&FORM=RESTAB#view=detail&id=EB6345755318FBDBA50E64C1AFEA41678C3462D0&selectedIndex=86

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OUTCAST

April 13, 2013 at 7:31 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

a short poem

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Agonized soul, why not be bold?

like the morning sun that rises,

to silence the dark night watches.

I say to myself I am

a burning light of Glory fire.

I walk,

for my walk is looked upon by the threshold of death,

I stretch my arms upward to the heights I rest,

My fingertips kissed by eternity’s lips,

Never again will I give my pearls to the pigs.

This is I

wretched but blessed,

take it or leave it,

I shall not transgress,

nor dress the wounds of that great offense.

Inevitable darkness

I wont pretend,

I’ll still unsheathe my sword and contend without end…

– Alex Diab

Google Image: http://free-images.gatag.net/en/2011/12/06/180000.html

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gods of the Land

February 23, 2013 at 6:11 pm (Life) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

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Since the age of 12 I’ve had run-ins with the authorities, was in and out of juvi hall until I reached an adult age, and was sent off to Trenton State Prison housed in the management control unit (MCU) for being creatively unmanageable. At the end of my sentence Chicago’s Cook County Jail ordered my extradition from Trenton State and eventually, I arrived on a cold October morning into Cook County’s Division 1, the same division where they once housed the notorious gangster Al Capone.

I was briskly escorted through the long Holland tunnel-like corridors by several grim-faced guards and led upstairs to one of the many galleries where hundreds of prisoners were housed. F-4 was the first tier where I would settle in for the next several years. As a mere member of the Latin kings I was determined to rise up in the ranks and prove myself loyal to the crown.

Prison riots were nothing more than opportunities, for it was here that I could demonstrate feats of courage by laying down my life for my gang. Never before in my life had I experienced the sensation of we die together… all or nothing… “king love.”

We drew strength from each other as we huddled in our cells forging weapons of war, smoking pot, and reciting the creeds and articles of our gangs manifesto. It insulated us from the harsh reality that many of us were never getting out. The never-ending threat of riots and retaliation kept our anticipation heightened like that of firefighters, being called out at any given moment.

Within every prison and on every street corner those that were Latin kings and many others as well were struck by the image of lord Gino. His disposition was haughty, yet enchanting. The legendary tales of his fierce command defied all other so-called authorities and intrigued many, including inmates and even prison officials.

Despite my unabated allegiance to lord Gino and my fearless pursuit of acceptance, there was something deep within me that urged to be confronted, awakened, or destroyed, but what? Every so often, whenever perplexed, I would nudge it away and resume in my trail of madness. A madness, that kept me secluded from acknowledging the misery of my condition.

My personal involvement and experience in the gang life as one can imagine has contributed greatly to my study and research of the philosophy and anatomy of gangs, with an emphasis on prison gangs. For it’s in prison where the once young gang banger, irascible and reckless, morphs into a state of impeccable rage, naturally possessing the potential and charisma of a leader, they seize the once in a lifetime opportunity of taking the reins of power as master and commander of his own fleet.1361657937078

Chicago and Los Angeles have always been the two major cities that have given root to the established gangs in America. It’s what I have dubbed as the two-headed demon of all mother gangs and despite their incarceration, prison gang leaders, have always been the gods of the land.

As all our local state houses, senate, and congressional chambers that make and implement their laws into the fabric of our society so it is, from the prison-house where orders, dictates, and laws go forth and pervade the culture and dialect of our young impressionable generation.

There are those organizations that go as far back as the 60’s, 50’s, and even 40’s, but at no other time in gang history has the formation, allegiance, and establishment of power been more pivotal than the 1970’s. It is in this decade where there was a shift of a historical propensity, emanating from behind the barb wired walls of Americas most dangerous prisons.

  • In the Illinois department of corrections both Gustavo Colon better known as “Lord Gino” and Baby King Gonzales received their homage as the two ultimate crowns of the Almighty Latin King Nation.
  • In 1978, they helped to form the people’s nation, an alliance with other power gangs under the five point star. This was the same year that the imprisoned leader of the GD’s Larry Hoover known as King Larry or The Chairman formed the folk’s nation under the six point star.
  • While in prison Vice Lord leader Willie Lloyd wrote the Amalgamated Order of Lord-ism proclaiming himself king of kings.
  • Between 1972-1976 while incarcerated Jeff Fort Black P. Stone Nation leader became chief Malik, Malik meaning king and founded the El Roukns Nation.
  • In South Central LA the two founders of the Crips Stanley “Tookie” Williams and Raymond Washington rose to power.

This was undoubtedly a monumental era for the new gangster superstar, fabulous and magnificent, in all his nefarious glory. It was a time of consolidated hierarchies and structures, where the science of colors, sets, and insignias exacted a tribute of unfeigned loyalty, comradery, and yes even martyrdom.

With the advent of the hip hop generation right around the corner, the foundation had been laid by this decade of absolute dominion. Gangster rap would soon ascend with the sharp crackle of a whips edge. Many of the drive-bys and gang land executions would not go unaccompanied without the omnipresent chorus of a songs lyrical claim of grandeur and immortality. The hypnotic melodies of money, murder, and power would inflame a whole young generation of souls. One pop star couldn’t have said it better when he sang “young hearts be free tonight” and I venture to say : free to be a victim, a casualty, a number all while foolishly believing that you’re feeding your team, doing you as they say.”

What I want to bring to light here is how all these men pursued their positions of power within the same frame of time driven by the same purpose and hunger to be king, chief, and lord. The irony is in how they each sought to distinguish themselves as superior and unique, but have instead succumbed to the inevitable participation of governed cattle, marshaling under the banner of collective bondage. Their fates have been sealed by life imprisonment and death. It is obvious that each of these men possessed the gift of leadership and I truly believe that they were endowed by none other than the God of the Scriptures who has said: “Let us make man in our image after our likeness and let them have dominion.” It is sad that these with the greatest potential to lead the outcast and the maimed into the land of promise have instead exchanged the glory of God and become vain in their imaginations. Isaiah the prophet says about them:

But this is a people robbed and spoiled; they are all of them snared in holes, and they are hid in prison houses: they are for a prey, and none delivereth; for a spoil and none sayeth, restore.”

Hear me, and hear me well these men are unequivocally piled up treasure and jewels in the hands of the Mighty Rock of Jacob, but instead they have become to the prince of the power of the air, nothing more than spoils of war in a safe box which we call the penitentiary.

If I may divert the attention of this young generation away from the glamour and seeming glory of gangs and drugs to acknowledge the tragic end of these men, many have been sentenced to life confinement with no human contact.

For example, after serving 25 years in State prison, Gino Colon, prepared his exit from the Menard Correctional Facility, where a limousine would await for him out front. As he prepared to make his way to the prisons front gate, federal officials apprehended him and read him his rights.

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1997-09-19/news/9709190091_1_latin-king-gangster-disciples-street-gangs

As he stood before the judge Gino Colon pleaded with the court to have mercy on his children and wife who was an alleged conspirator to drug trafficking. Today he is housed in the United States penitentiary in Colorado.

Others like Willie Lloyd who barely escaped life in prison was not able to dodge the bullet after many attempts on his life (from his own henchmen). He was finally shot multiple times on a Chicago street and as a result he is paralyzed from the neck down. Though the spinal injury coupled with medications makes it hard for him to communicate Willie was able to say in an interview: “Turn away… Turn Away from the gangs. Gang life is not anything to be glorified”

I would like to leave you all with my most urgent quote: “The highest commodity of fear is enmity.”

Alex N. Diab

Photos and Images: Chicago Tribune and personal files

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February 16, 2013 at 10:30 pm (Uncategorized)

For the sake of new viewers who are not familiar with my testimony we have re-blogged our first article. I pray you are blessed by it.

Dangerous Potential Ministries

In 1996, while awaiting trial on murder charges, inside Chicago’s infamous cook county jail, I received a visit, the only visit I could count on… my lawyer. He informed me that I could take a 20 year plea bargain or face a possible death penalty if I went to trial.  As his words slowly faded into my thoughts I contemplated my “options” and looked back at my life of violence and self-destruction. Having no one to confide in and nowhere to turn to for relief, I came to the stark realization that I was alone… no wife, no kids, and no hope for a future on the outside. On that same evening I covered the bars of my cell door with towels, not to be seen by the rest of the inmates, and proceeded to call on a God I did not know. I made a deal with the Lord…

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The True Art of War: Enter the Rest

July 16, 2012 at 8:36 pm (Life, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , )

The True Art of War: Enter the RestMany of us have been burnt out by the strain and exertion of fear, overwhelmed by the weight of our financial burdens, exhausted from trying to maintain a healthy and stable environment for ourselves and our children. The uncertainty of our tomorrows and the pressures of today have kept many, if not all of us, in a state of mental turmoil with unrelieved feelings of inadequacy. I know what it is to be tired beyond physical fatigue and the toil of a long days work, beyond tossing and turning at night and losing hours of sleep, beyond the drudgery of another monotonous day. What I’m talking about is a heaviness that seeps into your very bone and resides there for months at a time and even years. I’ve learned to appreciate what the psalmist meant when he wrote that Joseph’s soul entered into the iron (Psalm 105:18 AMP).

Besieged and over-worked we have become damaged goods. Of course we are called to be active diligent contenders who celebrate hard work, but not at the expense of that rest and peace that is readily available to us for the taking. What I’m trying to say is that we can unsheathe our swords and go to war for our faith, our finances, and our families, all while abiding in that restful place. As I sat this morning meditating on the mind of God, I was reminded of a king named Asa, who learned the true art of war by resting in God while going to war against his enemies. 2 Chronicles 14:11 and Asa cried out to the Lord his God and said, “Lord it is nothing for you to help, whether with many or with those who have no power, help us Oh Lord our God, for we rest on you and in your name we go against this multitude.”

So whether your enemy is sickness, poverty, fear, threat of divorce, loneliness, depression, wayward children, addictions, imprisonment, you can go against this multitude in the name of God and prevail! It makes no difference whether your troubles are many, for He (God), will treat the multitudes of our problems just like the few. Unfortunately, we are quick to forget how God has rescued us, we stop depending on Him and think that we are better off without Him, besides what will people think? We begin relying instead on people’s opinions and on our own efforts of gain and accomplishment. But just like Asa, a prophet by the name of Hanani came to him in 2 Chronicles 16:7-8 and said: “because you have relied on the king of Syria, and have not relied on the Lord your God therefore the army of the king of Syria has escaped from your hand”. The prophet reminds the king in verse 8, about how God delivered him in the past with greater opposition: were the Ethiopians and the Lubin not a huge army with very many chariots and horsemen? Yet, because you relied on the Lord, He delivered them into your hands.

People we must go back and remember the times when no one was there for you, when there was no hand powerful enough to set you free from the trap that shut down on you. Remember how the snare of the fowler was broken by HIM and for YOU. For the same God who delivered you yesterday WILL deliver you yet again today!

Above Only and Not Beneath,

Alex N. Diab

Image: Bing  https://dangerouspotentialministries.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/6.jpg?w=300

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Thirty Years to Life

July 14, 2012 at 4:42 pm (Life, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

In and out of juvi hall since the age of 12, my husband Alex Diab-Abdalla Jr, became his father’s co-defendant in 1988, for what the media dubbed “the boom box murder.” His father was convicted and sentenced to thirty years to life and my husband who was just 16 at the time, served four years in the Jamesburg Juvenile Detention Center. Once he became a free-man and was faced with the harsh reality of the great dysfunction in his family, it was only a matter of time till he became again incarcerated, this time landing him in the same prison as his father. The following is just a brief reflection of that experience…

Gloria Diab

5,4,3,2,1… and the new year of 1993 met me with a hole in my heart, as I paced my 5 X 12 foot cell in the north compound of Trenton State Prison. Four DD was the tier; it consisted of only two floors which ran against one side of the wall. Directly across the opposite side, against an isolated wall, was a huge, square, hard glass booth that served as the officer’s station. I was securely housed on the first floor, known as the flats, in cell 24 on a 23:1 lock down basis.

 

On the second floor right up above me, to the far right, was cell 41. Securely locked down also, was the man who once cried over the asthma that threatened to take my life at the tender age of two; the one who obstinately fought and argued with teachers, counselors, judges, probation officers and relatives over the rebellion and pent up fury of my young delinquent life… My father, inmate number 223677, peered out from inside his cell door, as the New Year ushered in with its menacing reminder that the world had gone on without us.

Every inmate stood at his door to holler and wave at each other through the reflection that was clearly visible from the officer’s glass booth. If I stood at my cell door and looked straight ahead I could see my father’s reflection as clear as a mirror standing before his cell door… waiting for me to wave. But instead I briskly flipped my light switch off, bit down on my quivering lip, and fought back hot tears of pity and anguish, as I forced myself away from the portrait that life had seemed to have tauntingly painted before me, of my dad as a lost child… caged lion… failed father.

I laid on my bunk and balled up into a knot, as I desperately sought to breathe life to those vague yet yearning memories into existence. Memories of the hearthy home that we once had and how I used to wake up to the sweet smell of my father’s extraordinary pancakes; of the rides to Coney Island, and the brilliant night lights of New York City. And how as we crossed the Verrazano Bridge, in the back of dads brown Lincoln town, my little brother and I, amused ourselves with the make believe world of children’s play.

We often came up with naming the imaginary creatures that resided in the vast waters under the Verrazano. For instance, I had a giant whale friend, whom I named Pookie. With every trip we took a cross that bridge, we anticipated Pookie’s welcome and protection. As the years went by however, Pookie seemed to have withdrawn himself from the abrupt soberness of a callous existence which we call reality and back into the land of wonder… waiting to be summoned again by the next child of innocence.

Alex N. Diab

Newspaper Clippings from the Middlesex County, The Home News, newspaper

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Children of The Ruins

June 29, 2012 at 11:18 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

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They are the “damaged remnants” of a dysfunctional and disheveled lot. They are the branded ones that have ascended with fire in their hands to help, heal, and bind up bruises of an unreachable wretched generation. Theirs’ is the undisputed voice of power that raises the dead and relieves the most grief stricken of souls. They are the Children of the Ruins.

I’ve often wondered about the controversies of reconciliation and redemption in the hands of the ruined. The incessant struggle of the soul to retain that peculiar brokenness of “undignified repentance” in the face of absolute morality, for the ruined can never be embraced by reason, righteousness, or law, but by irrational and effortless purity.

I can remember the time working at a steel factory exchanging the thoughts of life with a man twice my senior. We had covered many different subjects of which factory workers tend to speak upon during lunch break, when we came to the subject of redemption. Many people there had known of my criminal past and although this man was intrigued with my story and person, he could not bring himself to understand how I, with such a background, could be excused, forgiven, redeemed, and carry on in life without so much as having some sense of condemnation gnawing at my consciousness.projects1

For how can one accept the reconciliation of the person who has lived in a wretched state of addictions, where signs of recovery and hope disseminate before the menacing reality of death and permanent futility? Or of the man-child who is “destined for greatness”, but is instead apprehended and caged with an identity crisis… destined to be forgotten. Only his failure and ruin attest to his existence. Or of the young mother who has to fend for herself in providing for her children; forlorn, and stripped, she is forever excluded. All she can hear are the haughty echoes of hells laughter. Yet it is the ruined ones who love much for much has been forgiven them, they thrive on the impossible, the tragic, the hopeless.

There exist even now a system cleverly catered by the stratagems and mind-binding voices of a great opposing kingdom bent on deceiving and reigning down devastation on the fearless yet isolated soul who bears the scars of conflict; plagued with the dreadful contentions of humanity and heaven, of sin and salvation. This is where the greatest challenge, by the accused to the accuser, is eternally uttered…

“Who shall lay anything to my charge? Who is he that condemneth me? Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us…” Romans 8:33-37

                                                                           

Alex Diab

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QSIVjjY8Ou8&feature=related

Images: Google https://www.google.com/search?um=1&hl=en&tbo=d&rlz=1C1OPRB_enUS521US521&biw=1600&bih=756&noj=1&tbm=isch&sa=1&q=alphabet+city+new+york&oq=alphabet+city+&gs_l=img.1.0.0j0i24l9.135831.136194.1.138343.2.2.0.0.0.0.187.281.1j1.2.0…0.0…1c.1.3.img.fbel2PzTJnk#imgrc=_

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Dangerous Potential… What does it mean?

June 18, 2012 at 5:03 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Many people have asked me, “What do you mean when you say Dangerous Potential?” Well to begin with let’s look at the definition of potential according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary:

po·ten·tial adj  \pə-ˈten(t)-shəl\

: existing in possibility: capable of development into actuality

Synonyms include: quiet, dormant, inactive

The positive aspect of potential is that the possibilities in life are limitless.  We are capable and unfettered not only in the travails of pursuit, but also in the pleasantness of aspirations. Potential breeds impossible opportunities, but with it we run the risk of remaining in a constant cycle of the mediocre where we are sequestered in a stubborn state of conformity. The peril in great potential lies in the failure to recognize and respond to the gift, the purpose, and the power that we each possess. We must dig deep into ourselves in proportion to our measure of potential; for the greater the potential, the greater the possible ruin.

Dangerous potential is the power to violently seize our crisis and failures converting them into opportunities, triumphs, and conquests. It is the place where we herald the banner of “enough is enough”, “now or never”, or – “even if I must die for this”.

Personally, I have made many mistakes that at one time kept me in a perpetual state of defeat and shame which only served to arm me with innumerable excuses and self-agonizing diatribes. My self-esteem, worth, and identity were mercilessly crippled, nonetheless, there was something in me which did not allow me to remain quiet and subdued. It provoked this fierce urgency which demanded that I not discern my adversity and affliction as an opposing force which sought to render me impotent, but rather recognize it as a cleansing agent… as fire purifying gold.

It is on the heights of these turbulent terrains, where I have learned to embrace Dangerous Potential. It is here, where I have subjected indifference and offenses to bow, bitterness and anguish to cringe before me, and fear to behold the terror of my dangerous rising!

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The Word and The Bird: Remembering Mother York

June 14, 2012 at 1:38 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

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I wonder how many people remember the enduring smile and the motherly magical touch, of the 5 foot 2, sugar brown, black woman, who melted the hearts of the most vicious gang lords of the South, North, and West side of Chi towns windy city. Mother York was the undisputed “mother pope” to the prisons gang leaders. Her Sunday morning pit stops at Cook County jail, drew the unified attendance of all the gangs despite their vast affiliations and colors. From A-well to C-well, they all came in groves. In rank and gangster file, Vice Lords, Kings, Disciples, and Black Stones swarmed the pealed oil paint staircase of Division 1. Strict decorum attended their solemn march to the prisons chaplain area, where “the word and the bird” awaited all. We not only devoured the bird down to our stomachs, but embraced the word in our hearts.

Yes, Mother York’s famous fried chicken with that soul-ish kick, her signature potato salad sprinkled with colorful jelly beans, and the piercing warmth in her eyes, subdued the fears of our tomorrows and the shames of our yesterdays. As Mother York tended to the stray sheep, the scattered ones, many if not all were suspended in that brief precious moment with the warmth and power of her words. Words of wealth… words of a mother’s assurance… the oh-so-tender words that these emaciated children lacked and craved for. Her southern drawl of, “all is well my chil’ Jesus is comin”, echoed in our very souls.

There is a movie by Stephen King called The Stand and unlike many of King’s movies; this one in particular carries a prophetic significance. The events of this movie, depicts the corresponding aspects of the end of days and the rise of the anti-Christ. The small group of chosen survivors is the remnant and the prophetic leader is none other than an elderly black woman by the name of Mother Abigail, who leads this chosen flock by the mantle of the prophetic that rests on her life. Mother York was our Mother Abigail. She was one of the few voices who guided me through my wilderness journey.

Oh how we lack such voices today! One of Comfort… Courage… and Power!!!

Above Only and Not Beneath,

Alex N. Diab

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3CQJRJscPI

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1995-12-13/news/9512130367_1_jail-minister-cook-county-jail-mother-teresa

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