MJDP logo-1“I Should Be Dead” An Open Letter to My Sisters by Miles Jaye

Simply put, had it not been for the prayers of my mother, from a time long before I could walk or talk, I would be dead by now.

Hannah was an unhappy woman. She was married but without children, a source of shame and ridicule at that time, so, she prayed for a son. When her prayers were answered, she dedicated Samuel to God. She said: “I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the LORD. For his whole life he will be given over to the LORD.” 1 Samuel 1:27-28

At the beginning of this year, after returning from a Seattle gig with the Whispers, the Stylistics and Bloodstone, I stepped onto my scale and looked down in shock – 350. I adjusted my eyes and looked again, trying to process what I could hardly believe— 350. I was 6’2”, 350 lbs., and at 60 years of age, I was on my way out of here by stroke, heart attack, or in the quiet of a normal night of sleep.

I asked myself how I could have gotten to this point, I’d never been this size before and was actually fit for most of my life—always a conscientious eater, but I realized, the combination of three surgeries, the stress of the music business and the rigors of running a new restaurant had finally caught up with me and had taken its toll—I was a wreck. My ship had run aground. What now? What could I do about it?

Rev. Al Sharpton was guest speaker at Bethel last Sunday. He spoke about what to do after the wreck. He cited Acts 27:40 as his text: 42 The soldiers planned to kill the prisoners to prevent any of them from swimming away and escaping. 43 But the centurion wanted to spare Paul’s life and kept them from carrying out their plan. He ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and get to land. 44 The rest were to get there on planks or on other pieces of the ship. In this way everyone reached land safely.”

Sharpton’s message focused on his mother’s faith, prayers and perseverance after his father left, leaving he, his mom and sister to fend for themselves in Brooklyn housing projects, on food stamps and welfare. He said she didn’t get to swim to shore but she grabbed onto some planks from the storm battered ship and they made their way to the safety of land. He still feels the cover of her prayers.

I was recently reminded that prayers do not have an expiration date; therefore, my mother’s prayers and her mother’s prayers are still upon my life. When Lillian lifted me, my sister and brother up in prayer, she was petitioning on our behalf and providing cover over our lives.

When I decided my life was worth saving, I went “green again.” I had gone “green” before— vegetarian, vegan, macrobiotic, but this time not simply as a good health option, this time it was a life-saving option. Now, six months later, I look down at that same scale and 50 pounds and a lot of lettuce and cucumbers later, I’m still here to write about it. But, I know it wasn’t the lettuce or the cucumbers, it was the grace of God in answer to prayers sent in my behalf by my mother, Lillian, long before I was born.

Sisters, to think that your prayers are generational has got to be mind-blowing. Do you know how powerful that makes you? What can be more powerful than the love and prayers of a woman of faith— mother, sister, daughter, wife? This nation needs you! The world needs you! Our sons and daughters need you. My brothers need you!

Do you know how strong and beautiful you are? I’ll remind you of what I shared with the brothers. Malcolm X said: “You’ve been had! Ya been took! Ya been hoodwinked! Bamboozled! Led astray! Run
amok! This is what he does!” Don’t believe what the “world” says about you. Don’t buy into what they say is beautiful, you are already beautiful. Your features are beautiful, your hair is beautiful, your skin is so many shades of brown and beautiful– especially without the ink. Your voice is distinctive, your brain is sharp, your soul is deep, and your spirit is powerful.

Why am I still here? Today, I’m 50 lbs. lighter and 100 lbs. stronger, but I know it’s the faith that Lillian instilled in me by her own example and by lifting me up in prayer—and for that I say thank you.

www.milesjaye.net miles.jaye@gmail.com Miles Jaye is currently working on new music!

Miles Jaye