We Don’t Do That to Family
By: J.C. Jackson
(Week 2: Creative Nonfiction)
I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to honor lately. How it was ingrained in me--this deep rooted need to respect one's elders at all cost. This need was etched into my essence and I appreciate the artist that stenciled this thought into me.
Today I thought about my Uncle.
He was my Great Uncle.
He’s passed and gone somewhere I’m not sure of. His sins were so heavy I questioned whether Christ’s back could have carried the weight of his sins. If I’m being honest, I question if Christ's eyes could even look at him.
He was a Pedophile.
A Habitual Pedophile
A Legendary Pedophile
We never discuss it. Our family. Never openly. Always in secret between two family members. Quickly whispered. Legendary abuse passed down from generation to generation. From child to parent. Neighbor to neighbor. Bedtime stories of warnings to not visit that house. Whispering, “Don’t sit on that man’s lap!”.
But no one spoke it out loud. He kept building legends. Making a name for himself. Tearing apart the souls of little boys and little girls.
He was my Great Uncle.
We never told anyone. Never ratted him out because, “We don’t do that to family.”.
Do what? I always wondered. Hold family accountable? Make family pay for their sins?
When he died I thought about repentance. How a part of repentance is confession and changing. I thought about how Jesus does hold you accountable when those confess and change ingredients don’t form in your heart. I thought about how it’s a shame we, our family, don't hold family accountable.
Because Jesus sure does.
My Great Uncle.
He’s probably burning in Hell right now.
Because, “We don’t do that to family’.
Nurture the Green: By J.C. Jackson
For the first time in my life I didn’t cry when a plant died…
When I came back from Dallas and walked into my once luxurious garden and saw that my Amazon Mecca was dried up, I said, “Oh no!”. But on the inside, I pushed out relief. Not all my plants died. However, the main attraction looked like it was on its way to the morgue.
I told my family how the December 23, 2022 Houston Freeze devastated gardeners, and I began to chop off the dead parts. I scrutinized as I cut. Looking for green, but silently soothed over my Banana trees split from life.
Her name was ‘Banana Girl’ and she was sassy and flirty. Her leaves danced at night. Twisting and swirling. Embracing the wind. She moved to the rhythm of Cameroon’s Makossa music. Remembered home every night, and she paid tribute. Banana Girl had many children. She kept them close. Always gave to them. Always covered them. She protected the ones she produced. A good momma.
On a Tuesday I realized Banana Girl was sick. She caught something from some plant. She was, “Shaking that tale” is what the old folks would say. “Now she got something she can't give back!”, wrinkled lips would mutter. I quickly rummaged through my cabinet and found an ‘elixir’ that would fix her right up. I sprayed…waited…cut back…prayed, and sprayed some more. She would seem alright but then her disease would spread more. I knew the source, but I couldn’t reach every spot. Banana Girl was too tall. I didn’t have a ladder to cut back those top places. I asked for help and no one had the time or desire to help me save her. Then the December 23, 2022 Houston Freeze hit. And Banana Girl was close to death. Afterwards, she was still sick but I could reach the infection now.
I was relieved.
Consoled because I didn't have to find a ladder, or beg for help, or…
All I had to do was cut back the dead, clean up, and nurture the green.
I decided then, that process right there was how 2023 was going to be for me.
God already knew he was gonna allow a storm, so why am I trippin?