Saturday nights are for sitting quietly at home, watching a movie and maybe a little love making might happen later, but more than likely not, we just say our prayers, kiss and hug and fall asleep.
Saturday nights we used to get dress and hit the town, eat an over price dinner and bar hop in the city until the wee hours of the morning.
Saturday nights are now for breathing out the insanity that happened during the work week and drinking beer and wine, wearing old torn clothes, not combing our hair and hoping the adult children don’t call looking for money.
Saturday nights are sacred and holy. Saturday nights belong to us, to prance around in our underwear with the windows open, caring not what the world says.
How precious it is to get old and to see what really matters. I love Saturday nights!
I got my first and only tattoo at the age of 50. I chose a West African Adinkra symbol that represents God’s presence and protection. The tattoo is on the upper middle portion of my back and depending on what I am wearing, the tattoo is very noticeable. I remember I was sitting in the church pulpit, draped in my clergy robe, and one of the choir members came to me after service and said, “Wow! You got a tattoo before you were saved!” I can’t remember my response or maybe my response was not as kind as it should have been, so I rather not remember. Another time, I was attending a church conference and another clergy person behind me ask, “Why would you get a tattoo where people can see it? Why not put it lower down your back where it couldn’t be seen?” The sadness in this is that the question came from a young person who was in her twenties!!?? What could she be hiding that she is afraid for others to see? I was already a little nervous about people in the church seeing this symbol of freedom sketched in my skin, but at the same time I thought this beautiful rebellious act of declaring this freedom would also make me believe that I could truly be free. Every time I go to church, I take time to make sure that my symbol of authenticity is covered, not to cause anyone to guess whether I am saved or whether I belong.
Yes, at age 50, I was still searching for self, still searching for acceptance, of what I don’t know. I wanted to share my tattoo with friends and family because it was just such an amazing piece of art. I wanted so much to share with them the person of me. The weird thing is that I still even now cover this symbol that represents the God in my life, the God who loves me unconditionally and I am not alone.
There are many of us who cover up that very thing that represents God. We cover up the most amazing thing that shines about us because we may be afraid that our brightness will be too much for some to handle. Afraid that others will extinguish our lights, so why not hide this light for ourselves only, and bring that light out only when it is safe. Well, that does not work because there will come a time where you are unable to hold that thing that represents God for you. You will find yourself bursting with an excitement that is uncontrollable because after a while, you get tired and you don’t give a hill of beans and before you know it, that cover you put on to hide that mark of God’s beauty falls off and blows away.
Do you feel that? Are you experiencing the same sense of tension in the atmosphere? I know I am not the only one. In fact, when I am near you I feel the tightness that is in your gut because my spirit reacts to your energy, or lack of. Don’t you feel that? A covering that is smothering us trying to stifle our souls. You are human right? Please tell me you feel what I’m feeling, please?
Don’t you see it? I mean do you not see the people in the street who are running for their lives, trying to hide from man-made hate and man-made climate interrupters! Don’t you see it? It is sad, isn’t it? Are you seeing the children too? I mean, can you put down your social life for just once! I really think you see this. You are human right? Please tell me you see it, please?
I hear something. You hear it too! Yes, you do! You can’t deny it, even though, you wish you could. I think I understand why you pretend everything is fine in the world. Yes, of course, it is a lot to handle! But I don’t believe we can pretend that the world is glorious and not in a horrible place right now. How do we not feel the souls of others spirits being crushed, or see children crying, or hear the earth rumble? We are human right? Please tell me you hear that sound, please?
Listen closely! Peace does not come with weapons or military might. Peace comes from us. Some will say that God will send the peace, so why do anything and just wait on God? Look around! I got news for you, God has been waiting on you. God has been waiting on us. We can pretend the world is just fine or we can say sorry God and by the way God, how can we help? It’s up to us, not God.
Be A Blessing My Friends! You are human, right? No robots here!
Sitting here trying to figure out what to blog about today. Crazy. I have not blogged in two weeks. Not because I didn’t want to, I got busy, life happened and well, no excuses. So, here I am, with nothing to say really and I guess that is okay. It would be nice to find something to say that is positive and uplifting, especially now where we are again experiencing another virus surge, to mask or not to mask, that is the question. I, of course, think the answer is simple. Wherever we see our children, our little ones who are not vaccinated, the children who depend on adults to protect them, then for me it is obvious, wear a damn mask!
We are all tired! Got that! But exactly what are we tired of? Are we really tired of not doing everything our little hearts desire or are we really tired of taking care of each other? Which one? Did we realize somewhere along the line that this is what God’s aspires for us, to actually see each other, show compassion for each other, take care of each other’s need? You know, actually love my neighbor? Is this what we are tired of? Maybe we have discovered that reaching out across the aisle to save another person is not as scary as we once thought. Maybe we have also realized this kind of love comes with a sacrifice offering of egos. And just maybe the tiredness of it all comes from the struggle pulling us to what was familiar than now to this energy of love that is seeking to show us what is possible. And what is possible is near. What is possible is everyone having enough. What is possible is everyone being whole. What is possible is life!
So apparently I did have something to say today. We are all tired, but we can’t give up now. We can’t lose hope. We can’t lose faith in each other. I need you to survive and I pray you feel the same about about me!
There is a new rising happening, not just in our country, but globally. We are beginning to hear new voices, new songs that resonate love and freedom. There are more people who are not afraid to stand with the vulnerable and ones that so-called Christians have deemed to be unworthy. In fact, we who are followers of Jesus the Christ, are taking back a religion that has been categorized as un-just, unloving, unkind, and just down right hurtful. We are working together for a just society, where all of God’s children are free, where all have enough to live, where all are loved and have a right to be loved.
I am a Christian. I am a follower of Jesus who stood before the hierarchy of his day and demanded health care for all to be well and enough food for all to eat. I am a follower of Jesus who spoke and stood with women whose society called them prostitutes and shun them when they were unmarried. I am a follower of Jesus who allows children to share their ideas with community, making room for them to lead. I am a Christian. I am a follower of Jesus who stands and speaks truth to power before a Roman Empire and the church that supports a government that bows down to the highest corporate bidder. I am a follower of Jesus who cries when black boys and girls, women and men, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Walter Wallace, Jr., so many more, are killed by police. I am a follower of Jesus who shows love and compassion to all, not based on their religious ideologies, but based on only love! I am a follower of Jesus the Christ. I am a Christian.
So in my voice to all of you who have the audacity to believe that health care will be provided to all, food will be plentiful for all, jobs will pay livable wages so that all mothers can take care of their children, there will be places that all can live and be happy, there will peace among nations, my children can love who they love, that we are endowed by the Spirit of our Creator to do all we can to make this world a more loving and safe place. I say to you, keep walking, don’t get weary!
We can do this y’all! I know there are moments, shucks, there are months, years, where many feel like we are constantly going around in circles. Reminds me of the Exodus story; Moses trying to lead folks who were complaining about nothing ain’t happening. Well, I got news for you. We still complaining, but we still walking, we still moving! Don’t give up now. It is better to love than to bow down before a wicked, unjust system. Keep moving, keep fighting, there is a great camp meeting in the promise land!!! That promise land is just around the corner!
Listen as the Fisk University Jubilee Singers (2020) uplift their rendition of the song, “Walk Together Children”, by Moses Hogan. (*I do not have rights to this music)
I found love late. But hey, I found it!! We are celebrating ten years of marriage. I know for some couples who have been together for way over 10 years, this is just a drop in the bucket. Ten years for us is triumph. Both of us coming from places of hurt and finding each other when we doubted that we would ever experience someone who could love someone who is broken. Somewhere in the universe, we were drawn together. Okay, we were drawn together via MATCH.COM! This is not a plug, it just is what it is, this is how we met and we are perfect for each other.
My husband is White Midwest German and Lutheran. I am Black Real Southerner and Methodist. We grew up in different worlds. My husband grew up ice fishing. I grew up running behind chickens. We both grew up poor. But in his poor and white world, he had privilege and opportunity; in my poor and black world I had hope. In his world he could walk in his neighborhood without the thought of someone yelling at him a derogatory name. In my world, well sometimes walking was a risk. My husband and I ask the questions, “Would we have noticed each other in our twenties?” “Could he bring me home in the early seventies to meet his family?” “Or could I?” We both said, “Probably not!” We were too busy living for others’ expectations of us. But thank God for breaking out of a world that would not be able to define us.
There is something about Love! You can’t stop it. At every turn, Love always finds a way to shine among decades of oppressive systems that stifle and control your being. Love wins at every single corner, every single day, every single moment.
Ten years y’all! I found love and you know what, it wasn’t late! Love was right on time!!
I walk at least three miles, three times a week. I enjoy walking, attached my EarPods and listen to something meditating or walking to the stories of amazing Black women in history, offered by GirlTrek, “a national health movement that helps Black women to be change makers in their lives and communities, through walking”; I love this organization started by two powerful young Black women! I always walk the same route, simply because I know the path will get the mileage results I want. One day, I extended an invitation to my daughter to join me on one of my walks; I did not think she would accept because in reality I really enjoy walking by myself, but when she said yes, how could I say I was just joking, right?
We started walking my route, me leading the way. I turned my EarPods off so that I can be present with my daughter. Turning off the sounds in my ear to hear someone, something else, was difficult. I was so concern about getting my three miles in and I’m pretty sure this is all my daughter heard, me constantly saying, “I try to do three miles”, “Am I walking to slow?”, “We doing three miles okay?” Somewhere on my path, my daughter says to me, “Hey Mom”, let me show you the path I take. Me, “Will it get me my three miles?” My daughter responds, “It might.” Me, still worried her path will not get me where I needed to be.
Our view of life can sometimes lead us to stay on a path that is safe and one only we control. We allow no changes, no risk taking, no amusement rides. We experience the same environment, the same smell, the same routine, because it is easier. Or is it because we may be afraid to walk a different path because different makes us uncomfortable. Maybe it’s time to venture out and check out a different path, still moving towards your results, but just being open to a universe with so many possibilities that leads you to where you believe you need to be.
On the path my daughter charted out for us, in our same neighborhood, I discovered a street layered with trees that draped like canopies. I saw homes a block away from ours, that had amazing windows where the sunshine sparkled against them and sent a ray of gold down the middle of the street, making us feel like we were were walking down a yellow brick road. I was not aware so much beauty lived just around the corner. On this different path, I discovered something new about myself. I learned that I can’t do life alone. I must share my path with others, as they share with me, walking sometimes in different directions, but appreciating the path we all have chosen. Yes, I got the result I needed. We walked three miles, but that day, I experienced my daughter’s path and it was beautiful!
Take a different path, even in your own backyard. Discover something new about yourself, about your love ones, your neighbors, about this world. We are all trying to get to that same place – a place of love, a place of acceptance, a place of belonging.
“Beginning Again” started out to be a blog about me finding the what next after retirement and could I possibly still dream after turning 60 years old. I am grateful because I am still dreaming. The dreams are not what they once were. The dreams are much better. Because my dreams are not just for me but I realize that my dreams are connected to something bigger than I. My dreams are connected to a better humanity. A humanity that uplifts all, treats all with dignity and grace, stand for the rights of all, ensure that all have enough. If this pandemic has taught us anything, it has taught how much we have hurt each other. We cannot return to a normal that is abusive mentally and physically. We must seek forgiveness. We must apologize. So, here I am, with a dream that offers an apology for those who have been hurt, especially by the church.
To the gay youth at church who stopped coming because we called you a sin.
To the single parent who only wanted to belong but instead we gossiped about your clothes.
To the immigrant who only wanted to worship but the church refused to protect you.
To the homeless person who joyfully expressed his voice every Sunday, only to be shush.
To the trans person who boldly walked in the sanctuary as themself and told they could not be.
To the once incarcerated who comes back and no one greets you with open arms.
To the children who are told to sit, not talk, because their voice is not valued.
To the black boys and girls who scream as we sit by, saying nothing, seeing them murdered.
To all who have never felt the unconditional love of God's hand,
I am sorry.
God is love. God commands us to do better, to be better, to be who God has created us to be. We, who are created in the image of God. God shows up in the gay youth, the single parent, the immigrant, the homeless, the trans, the incarcerated, the children, all of us. God makes God self present in all of us.
This is my apology. I pray you come and dream with me. I pray you find your apology so that all good dreams will be fulfilled. So that all we see in each other is God’s image. What a beautiful sight to behold!
My home is a happy, funny and spiritual place. Two pastors in the home can be quite entertaining, especially when you hear broadway tunes being belted out and our neighbor so graciously smiling instead of telling us to stop the madness! We can be a handful! But that is what I so love about us! My husband grew up Lutheran and I grew up Methodist. Both of those denominations come with liturgies, prayer books, catechisms, books of worship, crosses, banners, and so many other items that make up our religious tradition. We have some of those religious findings in our home, but there is one thing that we did not see in the churches my husband and I grew up in. A portrait of Laughing Jesus!
Laughing Jesus greets us with his squinting eyes, head tossed back in the air, mouth wide open, inviting us each day to join him in the laughter. Laughing Jesus is the joy of watching children run in the playground, swinging and hugging their friends. Laughing Jesus is the being of a young man who snags his first job, swags as he walks down the street, his headphones, slightly turned down, listening to the sound of his generation, greeting everyone he meets. Laughing Jesus is the couple who is now planning that wedding and getting the news that the venue of their dreams is available for the date of their nuptials. Laughing Jesus is the old man in the nursing home who now gets to sit outside in his favorite spot and smoke his pipe, without the staff knowing. Laughing Jesus is the high school senior who will experience a graduation this year and will beam from the podium as they try to quiet the noise from their parents in the balcony who are celebrating to the point of embarrassment. Laughing Jesus is the thrill of being able to see our grandchildren soon and hugging them, never wanting to let them go. Laughing Jesus is breaking free to simply breathe.
Laughing Jesus tells us to love boldly, to fly with no fear, to dream that impossible dream. Laughing Jesus gives us permission to have fun, to run, play and laugh so loud and so hard that the universe shares in the laughter. The humanity of a Laughing Jesus should tell us that laughing is divine. So maybe you don’t have a portrait of Laughing Jesus; you don’t need one. Just raise your head back, open you mouth wide, close your eyes and let out your loudest laughter! Keep that image of yourself locked in your wonderful brain. There you have your Laughing Jesus!