Sunday, June 24, 2012

“They shall still bear fruit in old age; they shall be fresh and flourishing,
 To declare that the Lord is upright…”    Psalms 92:14-15

While out shopping the other day I noticed a little girl with what appeared to be her grandmother.  The older woman walked slower pushing the cart while the little girl danced and pranced down the aisles.  At one point they found an item to purchase and the grandmother questioned if it was the correct item. The child emphatically though not disrespectful said, “I KNOW that it’s the right one.”  Then she let out a loud sigh and placed her hand on her hip as if to say “Come on old lady let’s keep it movin’ !”  I had to chuckle to myself, because I remember that as a child I thought life itself was moving too slowly.  Maybe that’s why you hear people constantly telling kids to “Be still! “ Stop moving around so much!” Can’t you sit still for a minute?”    Maybe not, they are so chomping at the bit to get things going!  Only to want it to slow down as you get to my age.  LOL

But as I thought about it, it came to me; here we have the youth with vitality and physical strength, and the matured, though moving a little slower, but has the wisdom that only comes with experience.

The impatience of youth to have things happen now compared to the patience of a matured person is a study in life…period.   I am convinced that the impatience comes because they have not experienced much yet.  Because once you’ve fallen a few times you soon learn to slow it down and think about what you’re doing.  It is so true what Joyce Meyer says “The person with all the answers, have not lived most of the questions.”

That is why I love this painting so much that I had to buy it a few years ago. A little girl slowing down enough to braid her grandmother’s hair.  The grandmother utilizing that time to give her some words of wisdom perhaps.  Oh how I wish that I could sit at the feet of my mom and maternal grandma and let them pour into me all of their wisdom.  What they tried to tell me back then, I was too impatient to listen or thought it as not being useful.  I guess I thought how can someone that moves so slowly understand what I am experiencing in my young life?  Fast forward to now and I treasure the words I did manage to receive from them.  Words that I thought never took root, but somehow as I’ve gotten older, God has brought them back to life and I understand the truth in them.

The youth stir up our energy that encourages us to keep moving, while our words and encouragement from our experiences help them to make wiser choices and maybe avoid some things we went through.

I love being around young people they make me want to continue to dance through life.  And I thank God that I realize I have something to offer them too.  Since I’ve  ran ahead of them a bit on this journey through life, I can offer them my experiences; and hopefully one day they will remember as I do today, how much we need each other.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Remembering Dad

“For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers…”
I Corinthians 4:15a

As the scripture states there are many teachers, but not many that can father.  There are men that have sired children but there are unfortunately not many that know how to be a father…if you have or have had a true father then count your blessings…I had one…

My Dad, a gentle man, born May of the year 1919, was a precious, precious father.  If it is true that we get our first impression of what we think God is like by the example our fathers set, then my impression of God from as far as I can remember is that He is loving, kind, protective and yes, gentle.

Though my Dad came from a childhood of poverty in the south, back in the days when African Americans were looked upon as not being human beings; where the stereotype had already been cast that blacks, especially black males were lazy; he always found work and was never too proud to take menial jobs so that he could make some money to contribute to the pot for his parents and siblings.

This work ethic carried over into his adult years, where he worked at a paper mill for many, many years. He used to tell us stories of how the African American males had to eat their lunch sitting up on the rafters of the plant, because they were not allowed to eat with the “regular” folks, even though they did some of the same jobs. He told us stories of how as a black male you were not allowed to look a white person in the eyes, and if you did, you were called disrespectful and even worst could happen. But through all of this time of his life, my dad remained a gentleman.  When he told us stories of this kind, it was not with bitterness, but to caution us.  You see he loved his family very much and living during those times came with an extra concern for safety. And that even though he and my mom gave us a safe, nurturing and loving haven, outside of that was a world that could be very cruel.

When I was very young every chance that I got I followed my dad. Even a short trip to the hardware store was an adventure to me. My dad could fix anything…or at least my siblings and I thought.  The story goes of my oldest brother Calvin who when he was a little kid had a balloon that burst and while stifling back tears he said bravely, “that’s alright, my daddy can fix it with a nail!”  Daddy oh Daddy you were our hero!  J

He was a wonderful provider that saw that we had everything we needed as well as most of our wants.  Each summer he always made sure that we all went on a trip, usually to Buffalo, New York or Philadelphia.  All six of us at the time, would pile into our car and travel for over 16 hours (probably more). Despite the fights amongst us kids and the threats of putting us out beside the road, those were good times. We would always stop in the mountains of New York to picnic and take pictures.  And when I would ask my dad how much longer did we have to go, his answer would always be “Oh about another thousand miles.” With that I would collapse in the back seat with a groan!  Usually landing on the toe or foot of my one of my siblings that brought a big yelpl!  LOL

Another one of my fondest memories is of him asking (his wife) mom for some “sugar”.  He knew that she would be embarrassed when he did this in front of us, but it always brought a secret smile to her face. He would pucker up and make a kissing noise and try to grab her to smooch! It always brought laughter to us!  Such wonderful memories we have of you Dad.

Thanks Dad for being the man that you were, so solid, full of integrity and with such love. Thanks for being that example of what a real man should be like. Thanks for not bending or swaying under the pressures of being a man, an African American man during a time when it was almost unbearable. Thank you for relying on God to help you be steadfast, immovable and consistent in taking care of your wife and family. I miss you today and always. You will always be in my heart…I love you Dad.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Peace comes with acceptance...

"Which of you by worrying can add one cubit (inch) to his stature?"  Matthew 6:27

Peace comes with acceptance. After the many years that God has blessed me, I now have learned how to accept who I am.  Now you can look at that in two ways 1)Why the heck did it take so long or 2) Finally! the girl has some sense!.  I choose to believe the latter, though I am no longer a girl... but a 60 year old woman, who by the way has a lot less baggage than I used to have...

Along my journey God has helped me to "lose" some of the baggage of my younger years. One very major piece baggage was "What people thought of me".  Ha!  When I think of the years I worried, cried and fretted over what folks thought of me, I could just about upchuck over wasted time. We should live our lives in such a way that people will respect us, but in the major scheme of things "You can't please everyone" SO! you might as well be your respectful self and be thankful for the ones that accept you and respect the ones that don't.  Free country I always say.  LOL

Another piece of baggage was "I didn't like me".  I mean why am I so short and have such wide feet?  Oh! oh!  and I can't forget  my broad shoulders...okay why did I always compare my shoulders with a quarterback from the Philadelphia Eagles?  I mean EVERY other woman on earth have nice petite shoulders, but me...why me?  And why have I ALWAYS had double chins...even in my somewhat leaner days?  While I am writing this I can "hear" how ungrateful I must have sound to God.

I was a major project for God to work on, and I'm still a work in progress. But He is so faithful and patient. I am SO learning to love myself, just as I am. I realize that God makes no mistakes and in the words of Popeye the sailor man " I'z am what I'z am and that's ALL what I'z am".  God made ME and I accept that. 

Acceptance doesn't mean just settling, but it means taking a long look at yourself and CHOOSING to agree with God that He knows you and has a plan and purpose for your life.  Then the peace comes. Money is good but it doesn't make you happy. That was proven last week with the suicide of a member of the Kennedy clan.  Fame and beauty is good but it doesn't make you happy, think of all the famous beautiful people that lead reckless lives or have taken their lives at a young age.  But what makes you really happy is having peace in your soul and knowing that you have a purpose in this life.  And that you love yourself.  Love yourself, because I truly believe that you cannot truly love others, if you don't love yourself first.

So! Me with my Quarterback shoulders, double chins, wide feet, short self...guess what? I'm loving myself, I'm accepting myself, I'm not wasting precious time worrying about what others think of me. I have a purpose, God has a plan and with His help, I'm walking in it!