Somewhere, A Place for Us

You would think that as we get older, we really would stop trying to fit in, right? Or am I just talking about me? As teenagers we wanted to belong to the group of kids that fascinated us, rather that be the smart group that had life figured out, the cool group that was just way to cool to care about anything but themselves or maybe the group we created in our minds, just to have a feeling of belonging. And still here I sit, still pushing and scrambling to be noticed, to hear my name called, to be recognized, to be accepted, to be me, in a place I don’t fit. Why am I still trying to fit in? Why am I seeking among those who have decided I don’t belong and why do I constantly seek their blessings to matter so much.

We all want and need to be accepted and loved for just being who we are and if we are desperately fighting to received the love and acceptance, that is rightfully deserved and not getting it in the places we sit, then there is nothing wrong with us, with me, with you. It simply means our belonging, our breath, our gifts and talents are needed some where magical. Somewhere that is not afraid to hold us and hear us, somewhere that is not afraid to cry and laugh with us. Somewhere that community happens around us and in us. Somewhere that looks like love and smells like love.

I love Westside Story, the original and the new one. When I was little, after church on Sundays, I would rush home hoping that Westside Story would be on our black and white TV. We only got a few channels. Old movies, Elvis Presley and beach movies, were showed a lot. But when movies like Imitation of Life and Westside Story came on, I somehow related to these stories, even as an 8 year old girl, seeking to belong somewhere.

My sharing with you is not meant to be a sad one. I still look to a place and wonder why they never chose me, even as I get older. Oh well! This is what I know… if I continue to push in a place that does not want me, I miss experiencing the beautiful place God has for me. We can’t stay in the place that does not want us, we can’t grow in the place that does not want us. We seek the place God has for us, nourish it with all the love we have and settle in our place with gratitude, welcoming all who seek to belong.

“There’s a place for us, a time and a place for us. Hold my hand and we’re half way there. Hold my hand and I’ll take you there. Somehow, someday, somewhere.”

Be Well My Friends!

Rev. JacquiP

It’s Your Turn!

May you run with the wind to the place that calls your name.

May you trust your heart to follow your path.

May you plant seeds that bloom like sun rays.

May you be still when the storms arise.

May you laugh out loud with your head tilted back.

May you cry when sad and happy.

May you give hugs and not be afraid.

May you stand bravely before your oppressors.

May you share the very best of who you are.

May you receive all the love you deserve.

For the world is waiting for someone like you!

Happy New Year my Friends!!! Be Bless!!

Rev. JacquiP

Light of the World

My faith celebrates the One who comes into this world offering hope, peace and love. My faith teaches me that Jesus is light that shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot overcome the light. My faith also teaches me that as Jesus serves to bring light and exposes the injustices of this world, so must we who are followers of Christ do the same. We are also light.

Yes, we are plagued with pandemics of viruses, of gun violence, of poverty, of unaffordable health care, of education inequity, racism, sexism, too many others to name. All of this is challenging and it almost sounds impossible to do anything about. My faith offers to me that we can do more than we can even imagine. God actually believes that we can. Imagine that! God believes in us so much that God brings us a light through the Christ child that strengthens and guides us in making our world a place not of darkness, but one of love, of acceptance, of helping the other, of seeing the other, embracing and sharing our gifts with one another, of sharing light that overcomes the darkness. Light always prevails.

My prayer for all of us is that we shine our light so bright that the darkness will be totally pushed out and that God would say, “Hey, I knew you could do it!”

Be Bless My Friends, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2022!!

Rev. JacquiP

You are Amazing!

As you prepare to lay down your head tonight, do me a favor. Hold your arms out wide, take a deep breath, wiggle your fingers, don’t hold that breath in too long; go ahead and exhale! Now take your strong arms and give yourself a great big hug. You’ve been through a lot this week. Tomorrow is a new day. Give yourself some grace. I’m praying you peace, joy, hope and abundant blessings with you and for you!

Be Blessed My Friends!

Rev. JacquiP

Mr. See Me

God finds a way to get your attention. No, I am not talking about a god that chastises you or is sending you to hell. I don’t know that god. Hope you don’t either! But God who speaks to you either with a whisper or a loud shout that tells you that you are so much more than what you think. You know, that God who created every fiber of your being and was proud of the outcome. Well, this week, God spoke with a loud shout, and I wasn’t sure and still not sure how to handle it.

Here is what happened. I work with birth parents whose children are in the foster care system. This job has its ups and downs. I have experienced children reunited with parents and I have experienced foster care parents who have loved on children for years and have to say goodbye to them at a moment’s notice. I have cried over court decisions that I felt in my heart was wrong and I have jumped for joy when the court decisions were right. I have watched infants come into the system and seen them grow into toddlers and elementary children. I have seen older children take on the role of a parent to save their younger siblings from the awful knowledge they are unaware of. I can’t say that it is all rewarding and I can’t say that it is all just. This week I spent two hours with a birth parent that can be quite intimidating. He curses everyone out; have a shouting match and will debate every last thing, even when someone is trying to help him. He does not trust anyone. He has experienced much trauma and when someone attempts to get close, he pushes them away by using hurtful words concerning their race and/or their gender. This does not make this person sound like a nice person, does it? Let’s call this person, Mr. See Me.

Mr. See Me has been abused for most of his life by systems that have landed him in prison and taken away his family. He has been fighting, seeking justice for himself for a long time and he is tired. He experiences bouts of rage because he is never heard, never seen by those who think him to be insignificant and that his life does not matter. He is unable to express his mental depression at the same time living in denial and pretending that he is well, because, hey, that is what black men were taught to do. Don’t be vulnerable. Man Up and don’t let them see you cry. But every now and then, Mr. See Me shows himself, this loving person who talks about his children with pride and how he listens to his mother even when he doesn’t always agree with her. Every now and then Mr. See Me doesn’t realize it, but he allows you in, if only for a few seconds. On our last meeting, Mr. See Me, with a stern expression on his face, turns to me and says, “Your gift is not meant for this place; your gift is not helping anyone here!” For the past few months, I have said out loud this very thing; this place is not where I need to be. Mr. See Me saw me. Could I take the time to see him?

You might ask, so what is so special about Mr. See Me statement directed to me. In his anger, his disappointments, his struggles through his own life, Mr. See Me saw a gift in me! How many of us have decided that we have all the answers because we believe we are the only ones that can save someone but that very person we believe need our help, because we are so great and mighty, turns out to be the very one saving us?

Yes, I am still pondering on what Mr. See Me said and I am thankful that Mr. See Me decided to show his gift to me, if only for a few seconds. A few seconds that made me see him fully as a human being. For a few seconds who will you see differently, who will you not judge, who will you allow yourself to fully see?

Be Well My Friends!

Rev. JacquiP

Eliza

Last week I attended my sister’s memorial service. I gave the eulogy. This was not difficult because my sister was special and great in all things! The best wife and mother, the best school teacher, the best community leader, she was just simply the best. My hope is that I will remember all the wonderful legacies she has left behind and how she taught me to be the best that I can be.

Eliza is her name. Born in 1931 during the heart of the Depression Era and raised in the evil of the Jim Crow Era. A black woman with tenacity and spunk, not wavering to white supremacy at all, but elevating herself to live life to the fullest. She reached back and pulled others with her, inspiring young people to know that they are worthy of all their dreams and aspirations. She graduated with her bachelors from Morris College in Sumter, SC, then went on to receive her Masters in Education from Hampton University, in Hampton Virginia. She defied all the odds and stood boldly in the face of those who said she was not worthy because of the color of her skin. I’m so proud that this woman of bravery was, is my sister.

When I think of Eliza, Proverbs 31 comes to mind. Of course, I am not a fan of Proverbs 31, really I’m not! This particular part of biblical religiosity was used so much to undermined what women should be by religious patriarchy standard. But I must admit, that a couple verses stood out which described Eliza. Proverbs 31: 16-17 which reads: “She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard. She girds herself with strength, and make her arms strong.”

Eliza built a beloved community with the fruit of her hands. With her love for her family and for all black and brown children that she knew deserved so much more, she opened her heart. When I think of Eliza, I think of this old black and white picture which looks like she is considering how she can make a difference in this world. I love her for never giving up and never giving up planting a vineyard that will produce fruit for the ages to come.

Black Women can’t be stopped! We consider our communities and we invest in them. We toiled the field with our hands which produce beautiful fruit, Our arms are strong and our God is with us!

I love you Eliza!! I miss you, my sister!

Who do you learn from? Is it someone who makes the world better for everyone? Is it someone you can truly be proud of? Is it someone who looks like LOVE!!??? My sister is ALL OF THAT!!!!!!

Be blessed my Friends!!!!

Rev. JacquiP!

Preparation

As we prepare for a new week, my prayer is that whatever lessons we needed to have learned, that we trust we know the lessons well.

As we prepare for a new week, my prayer is that whatever mistakes we made, we will forgive ourselves and trust that we are worthy.

As we prepare for a new week, my prayer is that whatever you misplaced, you will find it exactly where you left it.

As we prepare for a new week, my prayer is that whatever lie that was told to you, that you will see that your truth reminds you, that you are loved.

Be Bless ya’ll!

Rev. JacquiP

Saturday Nights

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!

Old Woman with a Tattoo!

NYAME DUA “Tree of God – Altar”

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.

God is uncontainable!

Be Bless My Friends,

Rev. JacquiP

Do you….?

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!

Rev. JacquiP