Housekeeping and The Holy Spirit

I was doing some housekeeping this morning and was reminded of a parable I once heard.  It will be easier for me to tell the story as if I’m the girl in it so please indulge me. This story is about the Holy Spirit.  For many Christians the Holy Spirit is still a mystery to them.  Jesus talked about it here:

John 14:26

But the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will cause you to recall (will remind you of, bring to your remembrance) everything I have told you.

 

Although many Christians may believe in the Holy Spirit, they don’t often realize Him as a part of their lives because they don’t know how to fellowship with Him.  Many of us who really want Him to be a regularly active part of our lives keep striving for this perfect relationship that will allow us to be more like Jesus when he was here on earth, yet how to maintain the connection continues to elude us.  Don’t believe it’s possible? Then why would Jesus even bother to remind us of everything he had told us? I don’t really want to delve deep into the everything right now, but just as a reminder, part of that everything was talked about in Matthew 10.

 

Matthew 10: 1

 And Jesus summoned to Him His twelve disciples and gave them power and authority over unclean spirits, to drive them out, and to cure all kinds of disease and all kinds of weakness and infirmity.

 

All means all, and it’s a word that does not exclude.  And, last I checked we too are his disciples, and his instructions for us are the same as they were for the twelve.  But why aren’t we doing what they were doing?  Well, here’s the story I was telling you about earlier.  It came to my remembrance because of the brutal heat we’ve been experiencing in my area. Yesterday was about 106 degrees but it’s only supposed to top out at 99 today.  I’m grateful.  Although I want to just sit in a climate controlled environment all day and do nothing, even if I could, these comfy places have to be cleaned from time to time.

Back when I still lived in Oakland, in a house with no air conditioning, I was laying my lazy teen self on the couch complaining about the heat.  My mom told me that if I got up to mop the floor the air would cool down.  I looked out the corner of my eye being careful not to move my head with the serious side eye I was giving her.  I wasn’t dumb.  I knew that my mom was just trying to trick me into doing chores and I also knew not to let her catch me eyeballing her.  “Really mom, I wasn’t born yesterday.” I still had a smart mouth, I liked living on the edge. “No really.” She said.  “If you clean the floor it will be easier for the cool air to blow through.”

No matter if I believed her or not, I knew that I was going to end up mopping the floor because that is what she wanted done.  I had no choice but to yield, but I did it with a smart remark.  “I know you just want me to mop the floor, so I’ll see if what you’re saying is true anyway.” So, mop I did.

Now mopping is not a difficult job, and as many of you should know, just as you start nearing the end of your work area the beginning should be starting to dry. It was just at that moment that a stiff, clear breeze came through the windows.  Instead of being stifled by the grit and grime on the floors, since I had swept them away and cleaned the floors with a mixture of disinfecting hot water and vinegar the grime was gone.  The wind could sweep through the house easily and the breezes could cool us as they dwelled.

Now, imagine that the grit and grime on the dirty floors is the sin in our lives that we haven’t prayed and asked God to forgive.  Imagine prayer is the vinegar water mixture I used to clean with.  Imagine the obstacles that we remove before mopping like the furniture and fixtures, that are totally useful when we need them, but not very useful when mopping, are our responsibilities.  They are important, but must be set aside when it’s time to connect to The Father with prayer.  Imagine those movable fixtures, like the garbage can, are holding garbage in our lives, and like real garbage, need to be removed from our homes/lives daily or it starts to stink.  And, just like the real garbage can contains a variety of stinky selections, so do our spirits.  They can be named, doubt, disbelief, jealousy, condemnation, fear, etc., etc. etc. Now imagine that wind that came easily into the newly cleaned space is the Holy Spirit.   Finally, imagine how beneficial it would be to do some housekeeping in our bodies, minds, spirits, environments, our temples. Even though the Holy Spirit is still with us simply based on the fact that Jesus said He would be, the cleaner we stay, the more we can feel Him, and the longer that feeling will dwell. Amen?

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Organizing Against the Odds

It’s a long 4-day weekend for me, thank God.  But most of the time, long weekends just mean catch up time.  Catch up on chores (inside and outside), administrative house duties (I need an assistant really I do), washing conditioning de-tangling and styling two natural heads (texture 4c), sewing (I actually love this optional task), meal planning, and grocery shopping.  Typing that last sentence just made me want to get back into the bed and give up.  In fact I would do exactly that if my hair weren’t currently wet, so instead I’ll get a second cup of coffee so that I can get things crackin’ up in this piece.  Woo hooooo!!!  LET’S DO IT!!

Okay, pumping myself up is not really working and truth is I often wish that all of these responsibilities would just go away, or that just maybe I could actually take a vacation on vacation days.  But when you’re a single parent like myself, even organizing a vacation becomes a huge task and the idea of just lazing around the house tending to only what needs tending often looks more appealing than anything.  I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling this way and that these feelings are common among us single survivors.

Honestly when I first became a single parent 16 years ago I couldn’t imagine that I would be single this long.  After a while, I just became reserved to the fact that this is how things are, but I refused to fall victim to the claims of statistics.  I didn’t want people to feel sorry for me and I damn sure didn’t want my children to feel the effects of this ” issue” (for lack of a better term), any more than they had to. This is the drive that keeps me focused.  I know that there are many factors that I can’t control here, but there are also many that I can.  That’s the key, taking control of the things you can.

I told myself that when I started writing again that I would make sure to share some parts of my own life that could possibly help others.  No, I’m not going to try to tell you how to be a single parent, but I’d like to share some of my own practices that have helped me immensely.  For example, people often accuse me of liking to cook.  I’ve been called a foodie, a health nut, and a picky eater.  The truth is, that I like to eat good food and can guarantee that will happen more frequently when I prepare my own meals.  I like a lot of variety and so what looks like the habits of a foodie are actually just me being adventurous.  Okay, I’ll admit to liking meals to be healthy, after all I’m growing kids here and I think that cooking from scratch is best for growing kids.  I’ll admit, I can be a little extra when it comes to most things and if that looks like picky than so be it.

I can not express how important it is to be organized as a single parent.  Alas, I have two kinds of spaces in my home, the meticulously organized and the pitifully disheveled.  Most often this has to do with the fact that I simply can’t afford to arrange my space the way that I want and it takes some time before my mind will lend itself to any other possible options.  I’m a brat that way, and like I said earlier, a bit extra.  But menu planning is just not an area where I can give into those flaws.

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YES, OH YES! That black and white is an antique marble topped console by the way. Chandeliers all around please.

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ORGANIZED YES, BUT NO, NO, AND NO! NOT GLAMOROUS ENOUGH.

You can easily see the negative effects of lack of planning in the kitchen. Do  you have unending selections of microwave entrees? Is the only raw ingredient required in your kitchen water?  Do you stock up on Jiffy products?  If you answered yes to at least one of those questions you might want to consider menu planning because that wasn’t how things were supposed to be. The fact that women work outside the home or are the only parent in a home should not be an excuse for giving our families less.  In fact, it’s for these reasons that we should want to give them more in certain areas.  The kitchen is one of the areas I choose to exercise a higher quality.  This is why I meal plan meticulously, because they deserve it.  When I don’t meal plan, the microwave reigns along with just-add-water solutions. One day, I’m going to be so well planned that it will show on my waistline too.  I like comfort foods, that’s my weakness.  But those where only suitable when we used to spend our days working in the fields.  We needed those extra calories.  For now, I’m content to share what I’ve done so far with the hope that some of you will be willing to share as well, and then maybe I’ll have more healthy choices.   In the mean time this half and half menu will have to suffice.  However, if you have a very active family this menu should work great for you.  Eat and plan well my friends.  You’ll thank yourself for it.

 

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DISCLAIMER:  Due to my adventurous streak about 30% of recipes this month have never been tested, however they come from a very reliable source. A couple of food events may not have recipes listed because they are my own but if you know me personally you already have my contact info and know that I’d be happy to share.

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Hate and Forgiveness

Yesterday someone I hate texted me.  When I realized who it was it was as if my memories were brand new, but since I was alone I began to spit fire into the air instead of directly at that person.  I refuse to even deal with them and never respond to texts or answer calls.  I’m too proud to change my number to avoid someone completely so unwanted communication is something I have to deal with from time to time.  After the air around me cooled down I asked myself, “Self, what must I do to prevent the memory of this person from affecting me so deeply?” And almost immediately my Self told me “You must forgive.” My lips pressed together to make that sharp airy sound that usually precedes the phrase “Chile please!” And then a clear and shocking realization came to mind but it’s so true and I accept it.

I’m in love with this hate.

Now unless you purposefully put yourself in or are forced into a position to be abused, it is rare that you’ll get the opportunity to be done as dirty as this person did me and mine.  But, as you know this is just a part of being a part of mankind.  We mistreat one another and oftentimes go over the edge.  There may be someone out there who thinks I did them wrong.  I wouldn’t know because I’m not currently seeking forgiveness from any (wo)man even if I should be.  There’s a thought to ponder.  The people you hate may not even know you hate them, so forgiving that person would set both of you free.  When you forgive you can convert the energy you used holding the grudge to a positive force to be used on yourself or others.

In my case I have this you’re-dead-to-me hate.  If I never saw this person again I would be well satisfied.  They will never get the opportunity to make it right because I’m not interested in that.  I will never trust them again, ever and wouldn’t cry if they died.  Now that I’ve clarified my position, let’s see what the scriptures say about all this.  Because as you can see, I’m in need of a word.

Mark 11:25 (amp) And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him and[a]let it drop (leave it, let it go), in order that your Father Who is in heaven may also forgive you your [own] failings and shortcomings and let them drop.

Now of course this is the scripture that concerns me the most.  I do not want to prevent myself from being forgiven by not forgiving someone.  I usually tell people, you can hold a grudge as long as you want, but don’t be going around wearing “I’m Forgiven” signs.  God won’t rush you into forgiveness but just know where you stand until you do.  It enrages me that in a way I could be giving the person I hate this amount of power over me.  Seems ridiculous right?  I’ve been done wrong before, and because that person never sought to communicate with me again they were easier to forgive.  It was like that was their gift to me.  But this person may be struggling with guilt and feels they can do something to undo the pain that they caused.  I don’t know and I don’t care.  I know the bible is on my side when I read Psalms 118:8 (msg):

Pushed to the wall, I called to God;
    from the wide open spaces, he answered.
God’s now at my side and I’m not afraid;
    who would dare lay a hand on me?
God’s my strong champion;
    I flick off my enemies like flies.
Far better to take refuge in God
    than trust in people;
Far better to take refuge in God
    than trust in celebrities.
Hemmed in by barbarians,
    in God’s name I rubbed their faces in the dirt;
Hemmed in and with no way out,
    in God’s name I rubbed their faces in the dirt;
Like swarming bees, like wild prairie fire, they hemmed me in;
    in God’s name I rubbed their faces in the dirt.
I was right on the cliff-edge, ready to fall,
    when God grabbed and held me.
God’s my strength, he’s also my song,
    and now he’s my salvation.
Hear the shouts, hear the triumph songs
    in the camp of the saved?
“The hand of God has turned the tide!
The hand of God is raised in victory!
The hand of God has turned the tide!”

This is not unlike how I was feeling when the offense was being committed against me in the first place.  I don’t trust the person now and I never will again in the future so why do we need to talk, so I can rub your face in the dirt?  What was taken away from me when you were in my circle God has restored.  The only time I’m re angered is when the idiot reaches out!

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But I have to ask, if it’s okay to enjoy so much victory in the demise of this barbarian how and why do I forgive at the same time?  I feel like Jean Grey of the X-Men.  For you poor souls who don’t follow comic book characters, Jean Grey is a sort of super telepath.  Most of the time her powers are under control, but when her back is really against the wall she turns into the Phoenix, who’s powers she really can’t control all that well.  Well, one day she lost control completely and it didn’t end well at all.  I can’t let this idiot turn me into the Phoenix whenever I hear their name.   The power of the Phoenix is an awesome deadly power I’d rather not ever see.  But I guess, just like Jean Grey, I have to learn how to keep this part of me in check.  I still have to learn to forgive.

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The Hairstory

Almost as soon as I wrote about what I learned about hair vitamins I kept thinking about hair perceptions.  Now before we go any further I need you to understand that I’m cool with you wearing your hair however you like.  It’s your hair and your self-image.  However I am not cool with you damaging yourself for the sake of your self-image or for the maintenance of the image others have of you.  Let’s dig deeper shall we?

When your baby starts eating solid foods and eventually becomes a toddler, you probably start carrying snacks around in your bag.  This is because the toddler although walking around and terrorizing the community, is still used to, and expects the same feeding schedule as he/she did as a baby.  Depending on how nurturing a parent one is, the toddler may have several snacks with beverages between regularly scheduled meal times.  An older kid knows they have to wait until an appointed time, but a toddler does not yet understand this concept.  He/she still has growing to do and has not yet come into awareness when it comes to eating schedules.  It is my theory that for as long as this treatment is maintained, it will take equally as long to wean the child from that behavior.  Again, depending upon how nurturing or enabling you are, this could take up to 4 years.  If you’ve carried around snacks and juice until the kid was four, you can’t expect him/her to be able to fully accept the idea of waiting until meal time until they’re about eight.

Using this concept as an example, think about how long the black woman has been taught to hate her natural hair. Also think about who her enablers are.  As an adult the exact apex of self-hatred is different for everyone.  For adults in a growth cycle, at some point we develop an awareness of who we are and begin to seek out ways to love ourselves.  Our awareness can blossom for a myriad of reasons.  We could become protégé to a wise mentor or just simply spontaneously decide for ourselves that we want to learn how to love ourselves totally and completely.  Again, when and how this occurs is different for everyone and we shouldn’t pressure or judge someone who is not yet our equal when it comes to self-love.  In fact, I propose that if you are judging someone because they don’t share your same beliefs about hair then you don’t love yourself as much as you think you do.  If you did, you’d be more understanding of our plight, and more patient with your sisters.  Loving yourself means understanding yourself and learning how to take accountability and not blame others.  This takes time and we’re all a work in progress.

I’d like to say that you can wear your hair however you want without damaging it but that’s just not true.  If you are wearing your hair in a way that is damaging to your scalp, hair shaft, or hair follicles please stop.  There are very few people on the other side of your destructive behavior available to help you, and so much of the damage you do will probably be permanent.  You know what you’re doing wrong but something in you won’t let you stop it.  I beseech you, stop hurting yourself.  It’s not worth it.

Traction alopecia.   I started with this one because it’s an epidemic in the black female community.  We want our edges smoothed down darn it and we’re willing to loose hair to make that happen.  Those curls will never set properly and hold if those curlers aren’t in there tight!  Those braids won’t last as long if they’re not in there as tight as you can stand!  If I don’t use the combs in my wig the wind could come take it away.  If you don’t have a female friend or relative close enough to you to call right now who has bald spots she gave herself consider yourself unique.  Many of us can’t say that.  Many of us, including myself, are the ones with the bald spots.

Chemical Relaxers.  You can grow long healthy hair with relaxing.  But, if your hair is not healthy and you’re still relaxing you may need to stop.  Anything you do to repair your damaged hair will be countered by continued chemical processing.  Allow you hair time to heal.  Imagine what your hair would be like at its healthiest state.  Consider that as a hair goal.

Long Term Styling.  I learned at the natural hair meet up why single braids can be damaging.  The braid pattern puts unnatural kinks in our hair.  Add to those kinks the weight of synthetic hair and you’ve created a fulcrum out of something that wasn’t meant to withstand such force.  If your hair is already weak you could cause yourself a lot of additional breakage.  I’ve heard people refer to a braids style as letting your hair rest, but your hair is actually working harder.  If you feel compelled to braid consider using human hair since it’s lighter and more flexible than synthetic.

Weaves.  Please see above.

Most of us have hair that is healthy enough to withstand some harsh treatment at least some of the time, but it’s unreasonable to think that constant mistreatment will yield good results.  I could have given you alternatives to these practices but I look at it like this.  If you met a person who’d recently lost a lot of weight they aren’t going to say they did anything besides weight loss surgery or changed their diet and exercise habits.  You already know what you have to do, and surgery is always a last resort and may not work if you don’t change your habits.  You are an intelligent woman so consider giving yourself the best you have to offer.

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Girl, What’s Up With Your Hair!?

This weekend I went to my first natural hair meet up.  I’ve been natural for almost 9 years now.  Before then I would play around with the idea in my head but when I discovered that I was having a little girl, I knew that I needed to commit.  I always told myself that I would never subject her to straightening because of some of the horrors that I endured under the hot comb.  I thought that it would serve her better to learn how to wear her natural hair beautifully.  Or, like I tell my kids, “work with what you got.”  So, what this meant is that I would have to learn how to wear my own natural hair first.  Easier said than done right?  You better believe it!  And Ladies, I’m not going to go into the hair damaging practices that you know you need to avoid, that’s for another time.  But if you want to repair your hair, stop those practices and keep reading.

The team that hosted this event wanted to focus the group on healthy hair by telling us which vitamins did what for hair.  My hair is thick and healthy and so is my daughter’s but I needed some advice on how to treat eczema on her scalp. I have it under control everywhere else on her skin but there’s always a patch hiding out somewhere on her scalp.  And, left unchecked it can get ugly.

We weren’t just told about supplements but we learned about which foods carried the most of these vitamins.  Although the hosts (Komaza Hair Care) own a healthy hair product company they were not pushing their product at all.  I have to respect that, and I didn’t buy any either.  This group is strongly against co-washing.  For those of you who don’t know, co-washing is the practice of using only conditioner to wash your hair.  If you google, the Curly Girl Method you’ll see what the basis is for using this method instead of shampooing your hair.  The meet up hosts argued that co-washing leads to build up of product in the hair follicles, something they’d proven with a high resolution microscope.

Personally I alternate weekly between co-washing and shampooing.  With this method I noticed that I am losing less hair while manipulating it and that it is much easier to style than before.  I shampoo because like one of the stylists said, “Imagine washing your clothes with only fabric softener.  They’d be soft but not as fresh and clean as using detergent would make them. “   This has also been my experience.  I can’t co-wash at all on my daughter’s hair.  Her scalp demands 100% commitment to nurturing with no lapse in routine.

Some of my favorite discussion was about what certain elements do for/to your hair.  For example, take glycerin.  Glycerin is a product that is typically used to retain moisture in hair.  But, how well this works for you depends on where you live.  Like most humectants, it absorbs the moisture in the air around you.  So, if you live in a humid climate your hair will absorb water, but this group claimed that in dry climates like ours it would absorb the dust and dirt in the air.  One of the problems that I have with my hair is that I can’t retain my styles.  They are lush and beautiful at the house and dry and big at the end of the day.  But, glycerin is only the 7th ingredient on my favorite product so I’m going to keep using it with something to combat this effect before giving up on it completely.

On the standard hair texture gauge this is 4C hair stretched out.

On the standard hair texture gauge this is 4C hair stretched out.

Although I am not a victim of hair loss (I loose hair but it’s not thinned to the point where you can see my scalp), I learned that those who suffer from this issue may have Vitamin D deficiencies.  I’ll leave it up to you to research the benefits of this vitamin for hair growth but the logical part of this discussion has to do with our main source of Vitamin D.  The sun.  We’ve always known that our dark skin provides us with natural UV protection from the sun (to an extent that is, I would advise that you still use sun screen).  But just like turning up the oven too hot and burning your food on the outside before the middle is done, we can’t withstand the amount of sun exposure we’d need before getting our fair share of natural Vitamin D.

I could write an entire essay about what I learned this weekend, but instead I’ll just leave you with some keyword search suggestions so that you can do your own research.  Type in the phrase “key-word and hair”, and start there.  Good luck and good hair.

KEY WORDS

Hydration, sulphur, silica, iron, protein, vitamin A and beta carotene, B vitamins, Vitamin C, Omega 3, horse tail

P.S. For my daughter I will first introduce her system to probiotics in order to balance her good bacteria since eczema can be seen as a form of yeast.  If that’s not enough I’ll add omega oils to encourage the natural production of oils on her skin.  My kids don’t do well with multivitamins so one at a time.  Also, I’ll avoid my normal practice of oiling her scalp.  Although I only do this on wash day, the oils are feeding the yeast and helping them thrive.  Which would explain why my decision to minimize oiling helped with control, but seems I may have to eliminate it completely.

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Fecal Eye Syndrome

Stick with me. There’s a point to that title.

When we were kids we used to spend the summers with my grandmother.  We spent the days taking adventures down long country roads on foot or just hanging out around the house, or in the yard catching huge insects that I’d probably run from today.  I remember we spent so long out one scorching hot day that my jellies melted.  For those of you too young to know or too old to remember those were one hundred percent plastic shoes.  The buckle was even sometimes constructed of plastic.  When we got home I inspected them, and the soles which used to have defined grooves and patterns were just flat and smooth.  I thought that was pretty cool.

Huge dragon flies of every color would come into my grandmother’s yard.  She grew all kinds of beautiful flowers and she was good at it.  When there was a funeral or other occasion that required center pieces she’d pull out huge footed urns from somewhere and make elaborate arrangements from the flowers in her yard! She was amazing that way.  Unfortunately green thumbs aren’t always hereditary.  I kill plants.  Anyway, I don’t know if it was just my youthful perspective or if Mother’s yard was really like some sort of fairy’s paradise.  It had to be.  This colorful garden retreat in my head has to have been real at some point and not just something I dreamed up.

When dragon flies would land on the flowers, they would be so engrossed in that moment of respite, that you could sneak up behind them and grab them by both sets of wings.  Ever so carefully.  We’d get a close up look at them and then let them go. Mother kept little bamboo cages back there which we’d keep caterpillars, crickets or praying mantises in.  We could never figure out why they kept escaping even though the older kids told us that the caterpillars had changed into butterflies and flown away.

I don’t know how many of us kids were at Mother’s that summer but on this particular day we were just having fun running around out front.  Mother comes out to tell my brother, Lenny to stop what he was doing and mow the lawn. Of course he was ticked off!  He wanted to keep doing whatever he felt like doing like the rest of us.  The assignment of this chore took him to a level of pissed-tivity like none other.  Well, not really like non other.  I actually remember him having a funky attitude about a lot of things.  It was a characteristic we’d all learned to adjust to but sometimes, like this day, it could get funny. Real funny.

Lenny got out the push mower.  Ya’ll remember those.  This version of the mower was easier to use and didn’t require gasoline or oil or the strong needed arm to pull that wire to get it started.  As a matter of fact I have one myself that I got from Amazon.  Seemed more practical for me to step back in time a bit.  Anyway, my brother was so angry at having to mow the lawn, he approached this job with a fat attitude.

Now just in case you’ve never mowed a lawn.  Before you begin you should clear the grass of any foreign objects such as rocks, trash, large branches.  Anything that could get caught in the cutting blades could fly into your face and be potentially hazardous so this is an important step. A step he skipped.  Each push of that mower was done with anger, PUSH! The frustration of being singled out, PUSH! Contempt at having been pulled away from whatever he was doing that was more important, PUSH! But Lord knows he’d better not defy Mother and NOT mow, PUSH, PUSH, CLICK, CLACK! Arrggggghh!

You see, Lenny had neglected to pick up some dried up dog poop.  He saw it, and rolled over it anyway.  No, it didn’t just grind to dust and roll under the blades of the mower.  It flicked right into his eye.  There was no doubt in his mind what had happened and so he ran around the yard frantically screaming to the top of his lungs, “There’s dookey in my eyeeeee, there’s dookey in my eyeeeee!”  But the rest of the kids, we just laughed real hard as we watched him running around flailing his arms.  And to this day, sometimes when I think back to that event I erupt into an uncontrollable tearful laugh.  But what I also do is tell my kids when they get an attitude from having to do a chore, “Look, don’t get dookey in your eye.”  And there are so many creative ways to give that warning too.  It’s special because I know only my kids will understand what I mean when I say things like, “You seem to be coming down with a case of fecal eye syndrome.” Yeah, we’re special.

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What-Teen?

In about six months my first child will become a teenager.  About this I am feeling some kind of way.  I can remember the day he was born so clearly sometimes…

The days leading up to his arrival were stressful indeed. I’m sure I’ve never had a more stressful time in my life. As usual I was awoken at around 2 a.m. by his constant moving and repositioning. But this time was different. What was normally just an irritating discomfort was now accompanied by intense aching. I couldn’t really tell where it was coming from. So, I decided to do what I usually did and got up to use the bathroom. This would relieve me. When I stood up, something fell from between my legs, and that’s when I knew it was happening. At first, I was a little fascinated by the fleshy matter that lay on the floor. I picked it up to examine it and from my studies knew there had to be much more coming. Throughout the night I would see more and more of this fleshy, bloody, gel like substance fall to the floor as I tried to walk around. Also, the pains around my abdomen grew more and more intense as the hours passed. And, I was alone.

I tried to wake my brother sleeping in the next room, but at 2 a.m. he was delirious. He acknowledged that he knew that I was in distress but then just dosed back to sleep. I was still alone. After months and months of screaming and constant arguing and accusations of entrapment, the feeling of solitude is not what I needed right now. Somehow, BD1 had managed to pull himself together long enough to act civilized. He could tell that I was avoiding him the best I could just because I felt so hurt, so disrespected, so rejected, all the time. I had never invited him to any doctors appointments because I didn’t want to be around him. I mean, I loved him and wanted him, but it was obvious that he didn’t feel the same about me. I wished I could change that.

He finally realized that if I was actually going to give my joy his name, that he would have to act like for at least a short period of time that he cared something about me. I fell for it. So, in my distress, I called him. He immediately left his graveyard shift and off we went to the hospital. I won’t try to describe the next 24 hours here, because that’s not what this post is about.

Have you ever played with one of those little wooden ball and maze coffee table games? There’s one out there where the object of the game is to get four balls to the corners of a box all at the same time. You may be able to manipulate 2 or maybe even 3 balls into the corners, but while trying to get that last ball cornered, the others fall out. It’s very frustrating indeed, and a very good example of how my life was going at the time. Also, not too far fetched from how my life is going now. There always seems to be one part of your life that’s tragically upset. Think about it. If you’re healthy, you can’t be grateful for that because you’re broke. If you’re healthy and financially stable, you can’t be satisfied with that because you’re single and lonely. If you’re healthy, rich, and married then you’re not in love. If your healthy, rich, married, and in love, then you and your mate can’t conceive and you feel incomplete without offspring. There’s always something we’re longing for and the world is unjust if we don’t have it.

My girlfriend warned me that when he first came out, his face would be smashed and misshapen from the trauma of being born, but not to worry, it would be o.k. by the next day. She was so right. That morning, sitting in that hospital room, alone again, having just a few minutes earlier wondered if my daddy was going to come to the hospital to visit me with a great since of longing in my heart, I decided to pick him up, even though he didn’t cry for me. I looked into his face and all four of those little metal balls where immediately cornered.

I couldn’t remember why my arguments from previous weeks were so important to me. I couldn’t remember why I needed so much to be loved and nurtured by the men in my life in order to feel valued. I couldn’t remember any important points I wanted to bring up to those who had irritated me. Nothing else in the world mattered more than that little bundle of love I held in my arms. All of my answers were in his eyes. I felt so satisfied that I could have died in total peace the next time I slept.

Of course, this feeling didn’t last long. But, meeting him helped me to understand that this kind of peace is real and it does exist. Someone once said that you will never be closer to God than when giving birth. I have to agree because even though I believe that I have a degree of peace now that helps me to get from day to day, my peace has still never been as pure as the day I met my first born child, my son, my hope, my joy,my frustration, my pride, my anger, my focus, my future. Raising him has by no means been a luxury cruise, but I’ll never forget what he gave me that day.

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