On Love

A poem post:

On my Knees Kinda Love

I’m

on

my

knees

praying…

asking my Father for His guidance once again,

and He answers (He always does):

He instills in me this renewed hope…

in Love no less.

So after I thank Him for one more day and for one more chance to do His will

and for my progeny and everything before and after,

I  stay on my knees and pray,

for the kinda love that’s reciprocal yet imperfect

the kinda love you enjoy exploring

the kinda love you look forward to giving

the kinda love that makes your insides feel like molten lava and peppermint carefully mixed together by a Love Chef

the kinda love where respect resides

That serious silly kinda love that sends you to the ends of the earth in your head wherever you are  (standing, sitting, not even moving)

The kind that smells like patchouli and sandalwood and vanilla and leaves a fresh rich chocolately after-taste in your spirit.

I’m

still

on

my

knees

’cause I’m asking Him to show me how to give that kinda love

how to be that kinda love

to allow me to be a comfort, a friend, a rock, a shoulder, a mutually loved one who has so much love to give that she never grows weary of releasing it into the universe.

And before I say Amen,

I thank him once again because for a while there

just for one tragic minute,

I couldn’t even imagine that kinda love.

07/09/2011

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Part II

I wrote most recently about a brief conversation I had with a young teen about relationships. I encouraged her to guard her heart and to listen to her gut. I’ve got more musings, having just returned from my cousin’s beautiful wedding this  weekend.

I noticed that this hopeless romantic didn’t immediately gush and wipe away tears at the first wedding bell. Instead I said a deliberate prayer for the couple, having lived and learned the importance of finding and having a help-mate who truly takes that God-given role seriously. I have an electronic sticky note on my laptop computer desktop in which I’ve carefully crafted the following words: Unconditional love avoids the finite, the demand for reciprocity; it gently and lovingly pushes forward as it seeks harmony, acknowledges human worth, and recognizes the infinite potential for companionship.

I prayed that everyone in attendance– as well as those who weren’t but who knew of the event– was in spiritual concordance that this couple’s success would be based on its incorporeal foundation and growth. I know how my cousin was raised, and I watched him naturally employ his upbringing with his new wife.  He was patient, kind, loving, and seemed content with his public promise to be the head of his household, guided by God.

And God is love.

That is all.

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My Sanctuary

I’m sitting in a sanctuary right now.  My writing sanctuary. I’m not alone. I’m enveloped by me, myself, and I. After a full 365-degree circle of a year, I find myself in a space that allows me to reflect, celebrate, and just take it all in.

The neighbor’s weed-eater whirs in the background, beautiful sunlight illuminates my writing space, and I’m recalling a recent conversation with a very pragmatic and beautiful 15-year-old who had just heard me tell her never to relax her personal standards and allow anyone to remove her from her purpose. We were chatting about relationships.

“Well, why did you settle?” she asked. She is aware of my impending divorce and wondered how and why the tenure lasted as long as it did.

I told her that I was willing to forgive because none of us are perfect. For that matter, I needed forgiving too. We all do. But I went on to say that we have very unique journeys and that the choices I made were not necessarily those which she should aspire to mimick. What is most important in my case is that I have learned lessons and even more importantly, I will share them with those who care to hear what I learned. Your great reveal might inspire them to take action, give them hope, or prove to them that they can survive life’s tumbles. That’s what I want her to aspire to do, I told her.

Protect your purpose and guard your heart, I maintained. Pray for discernment, be patient, and take a step back to assess before making decisions. It’s called maturity, it gets better with time, and you cannot rush it. Love means so much more when you can recognize and appreciate it. Until then, it is only a figment of your imagination.

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Good Grief

(This post is not to espouse perfection, but rather to acknowledge the blessing of having the opportunity to reflect, to learn, and to grow…)

Lately, I’ve been given glimpses of how God must feel when we reject him.  I now know of His grief. A life-long friend and I were discussing how over the years we have co-signed for each other along the way, all the while maturing into the women we are today. Our kindred spirits are those of action. We want to “fix” things, and so we have used our time mulling, crying, strategizing, and even calling each other to rewind certain vitriolic conversations where we high-fived each other over the airwaves with smug, false, and short-lived contentedness.

We’ve come to realize that intellect can only take you so far, that self-imposed answers to the issues of our lives have limits, that control is relative. God is in control, and He’s ready and willing to take the lead in our lives. But when we reject Him, he grieves, much like a parent does when a child is disobedient.

I now understand the grief I cause God when I am disobedient because my own personal experience with rejection has opened my heart to understanding that grief. It’s an indescribable hurt, but one that nonetheless and obviously has been necessary in order for me to become aware of the fact that as difficult as it may be to step aside and let Him lead, it is what we must do as we carry out our life roles.

It may be easier said than done, but it’s a lot easier than going in circles. I’m convinced.

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Dad: The Original Model

With three boys–two of whom are chronologically considered men but who are not totally independent yet– in tow under my tutelage as a woman doing her best to love, mother, teach, protect, and give more love, my thoughts are constantly bombarded with the “mold” I know as Dad. None of my sons are dads yet (and yes, I can wait), but that which it takes to be a dad starts light years before a literal seed is sown.

What I know about my Dad is that he represents maturity, accountability, perseverance, strength, passion, love, and courage. Add to that a sense of humor, a love of God, family and humanity, and an ability to serve as my muse even when I mistakenly and involuntarily activate the TMI (Too Much Information) switch, and I see near perfection. He represents a masterpiece of a man, that to me, is based upon unconditional love. But just as importantly, my Dad understands and demonstrates the gravity and blessing of fatherhood. And he was well-prepared for it, raised by a nearly perfect Masterpiece in my dearly departed grandfather.

So although the cliches, “they don’t make ’em like they used to,” or “they broke the mold when they made him” tend to threaten my thoughts about his male contemporaries, I hold out hope and pray that my boys will be slowly seasoned like their grandfather because the fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree.

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Ain’t Nobody Playin’

I’ve been blessed over the years to have good, solid girlfriends. You know, the ones with whom you’ve been through the highs and lows together, the family spats, the boyfriend troubles, marriage woes, births of children, rites of passage, even riffs between and among the girlfriends, only to survive with a stronger sense of friendship and self.

Most specifically, I am reflecting on a mantra we released into the universe every time one of us would meet a new beau. We would remind each other that if the man needed correction, we were up for the job. “Tell him you’ve got a girlfriend who carries a razor under her tongue,” we’d say with narrowed eyes and a little neck action. (Not to mention the fathers, uncles, brothers, nephews, cousins, and Pookie down the street.) “Ain’t nobody playin’.”

Still our mantra, and now in our late 30’s and 40’s, we’ve become Sisters in Christ along the journey of trials, travails, and tribulations– coming into our own and learning to understand that we actually had no control over other people’s actions, just our own. We know now that when we exercise our free will without the benefit of prayer and allowing God to guide us, anything was bound to happen. So our muscle-flexing mantra was merely a threat (well, for some of us).

But what hasn’t changed is that we still have each other’s backs. And as we ponder life together, we’re there to tenderly pick each other up when someone or something has carelessly handled and left us in a crumpled heap, and to celebrate at every turn when the downside turns right-side up. And not only do we lift each other up and have each other’s backs, but we have learned how to pray together unceasingly because we know that prayer is the ultimate constant in our lives and is life-changing.

We’re just like paper, fragile and easily torn but tough enough to carry the stories that reveal the light at the end of a very long tunnel. When crumpled, paper is still paper. Uncrumpled, sometimes even taped back together, it is ready to serve its purpose again, bearing the scars and folds of its life. We recognize that we come from good stock: rooted trees that gave all they had to create and send us out into the world.

I thank God for the paper handlers who love me, crumples and all. They ain’t playin’.

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A Special Place

There’s nothing special about me.

What I mean is I’m no different from the next woman, mother, entrepreneur, person. Everyone was born with a purpose. Where our paths diverge is how we arrive at that revelation and what we do with that knowledge.

Oprah, for example, has used her life lessons to help build up others. So tears well up in my eyes when I watch footage of her selfless giving “binges”, paying it forward rather than participating in massive personal acquisition.

Oprah, like you, like me, has had her moments in the valley. She may be a billionaire but she’s human just like the rest of us. What I’m trying to say is life will consistently challenge you with grief, heartbreak, disappointment, devastation, anger, and (just fill in the blank). But if we learn how to face those low moments, the celebrations and victories will take us to unimaginable heights!

There’s a scene in the movie, “Diary of a Mad Black Woman,” where the protagonist Kimberly Elise is narrating from a journal her character is keeping throughout the movie to document her feelings as she experiences the depths of devastation. In this particular scene she speaks of the days getting easier to face as time wears on because she is learning authentic happiness. She says, “I find myself…wait a minute, that’s it, I’m finding myself.”

In the past, I’ve used the fetal position as a coping mechanism. Harmless enough. Wasn’t hurting me or anyone else, right? It wasn’t necessarily helping either. Just recently, I had an epiphany while standing in my kitchen: I hadn’t been in that fetal position in a long while. Instead, I have replaced it with time “in my closet.”

It’s a position and place I “find myself” looking forward to experiencing at any time and in any place. So, here’s my revelation: just know that life’s curveballs will come but where you find yourself will make all the difference in this earthly world.

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