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

Year of Lazy

There are so many things we are trying to accomplish. For some of us, making up the bed in the morning is a big accomplishment, along with getting the household ready, up and off to work and/or school, which is probably located in a room down the hallway of our home that has become the sole place of our existence. Whew! Here we are, 2022!

My daughter asked me if I had anything new plans or challenges I wanted to do this year, any new goals I wanted to go for. Really? My answer was no. All I’m trying to do is do the best I can. I’m not trying to run a marathon, or accomplish something so absolutely spectacular that I would have to pinch myself to see if it’s really me that is doing all this amazing stuff! Sorry. Nope, not a new thing. Of course for those who are raring to go in this new year and shoot for the stars, I say hooray!! I know you will succeed and I will be there to pinch you and say, yes, you did that!!

So for those like me, who maybe moving a little slower these days, not because of age, but because we choose to do so, know that you are doing enough and you are doing life well. Please give yourself some grace and move when you are ready. We have all been through a great deal of trauma and just maybe, 2022, is the lazy year we need.

Be Well 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

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

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

Just Another Thought..

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!

Be Well My Friends!

Rev. JacquiP

We Have Enough

Today I preached from the Gospel of John 6 chapter, which tells the story of the 5000 (plus because women and children were not counted). The Gospel of John is the only gospel that shows where Jesus uses a boy’s meal, five loaves of barley and two fish, to feed 5000 plus people. I am fascinated by the boy, who is not counted among the 5000, but is a participant in the ministry of Jesus. I love that Jesus has a child to teach us how to share with each other. I also love that Jesus shows us that we often miss what and who is right in front of us, that offers us provision and blessings, because we often look for something or someone greater, larger or popular. But Jesus uses a boy, a child, after asking the adults how can we feed the folks. The adults could not see the possibility. The adults even shrugged off the idea that the boy had enough to feed the folks. Jesus uses what the boy has, five barley loaves and two fish, and it is enough!

We have enough. We have enough to share with the world. We have enough to feed those who are hungry. We have enough to house those who are homeless. We have enough to provide fair funding in education that all children will have the opportunity to succeed. We have enough to provide health care for everyone. We have enough to end poverty. We have enough to offer love. We have enough. The question is do we see the possibility or do we act like the adults and just shrugged the thought of even trying. Can we be like the boy with the five loaves and two fish? Can we allow ourselves to share our enough? Can you imagine if I share the little I have, you share the little you have, someone else share the little they have, the possibility of all having enough. Come on, see the possibility with me! I believe we can make that little boy proud!

Be a blessing my friends!

Rev. Jacqui P

Creating Faith

The word “faith” have multiple meanings. I am learning as I get older that what I thought was faith no longer applies at this moment in my life. I understand that faith will probably not mean the same for me ten years from now, which is good, because it means I am growing and constantly involving.

Faith does not necessarily equal religion. Faith is a practice that moves with us in the journey of life. Faith is what we create. I believe that faith is unique to the person and it is unfortunate that many of us have tapped into someone else’s definition of what faith should look like. We have tried desperately to be clothe in a faith that does not cover or fit. I remember when folks in church would say, “We need the kind of faith our grandmama’s had.” Why is that? Is it because we are afraid of our own struggles?

My faith, I create daily, even by the minute, I create faith. My faith helps me to arise in the mornings, not always cheerful, but always willing. My faith helps me to discover how I move in this world; if I am kind; if am giving; if I am loving. My faith comforts me when I am tired and allows me to sit and binge watch ‘Grace and Frankie.’ My faith fills my vase with fresh flowers and listen to the soulful sound of the late and great, Phyllis Hyman. My faith teaches me to pray in a voice that does not belong to anyone else and my faith demands to be heard. My faith does not harm or abuse or persecute others. My faith supports, offers justice and shows up for the well being of others. My faith is powerful, because I am powerful. My faith is loving who I am.

What does your unique faith look like? Does your faith expressively define you? Create! Grow! Create again! Your faith looks good on you!

Be Well My Friends!

Rev. JacquiP

Holy Quietness

On this Sunday, July 4th, it is rather quiet on my street. Families have left for vacation, many at the beach and I am loving the quietness. Sitting down to graham crackers with a slice of banana and a cup of tea, smiling to myself like I am getting away with something. This moment, this quiet, feels so peaceful. Should not I be waiting on some disturbance to blast from out of space and shake me to my core? No! This wonderful quietness is a blessed gift. This sweet, and holy quietness is to be treasured, so I will hold on to this fragrance as long as possible. In fact, let me share some of this quiet peace with you, my friend.

Find a quiet corner for yourself and sit. It does not require a chair, sitting on the floor will be just fine, but just make sure you can get up when it’s time. These old bones ain’t what they use to be. Bring a cup of tea with you if you like, along with some butter cookies. Sit and think about all the amazing and wonderful things you have accomplished. Things like teaching a child how to tie their shoes; making a holiday meal for your entire family; learning all the words to your favorite song and performing it at the karaoke bar; saying just the right words to encourage someone; waking up this morning and seeing possibilities that are endless. In your quiet corner, you notice how amazing you are. In your quiet corner, you see how powerful you can be. In your quiet corner, you discover there is a peace that shines within you. In your quiet corner, there is your Creator sitting next to you and applauding you for realizing everything you need is already within you.

Treasure time with YOU today. YOU are so worth it!

Be bless my friends!

Rev. JacquiP

Dad

I never knew my Dad. Actually, I never met him but he met me. You see, I was adopted. My Dad never had a say in this adoption. I wonder if he knew he could have a say. It was 1959, the girl was 15, her Daddy was a pastor at the Black church, it was the South and the boy knew only to stay away.

They, who knew the story of my birth, told me my Dad stood at the window while my Mom pushed me out. In the country , black babies are delivered by a midwife in a grey wooden house, with one window, no back door, way back in the woods, where no one will hear the teenage mamas’s screams. They tell me my Mom passed out from the pain. My Dad stood looking in the window and the adults brushing him away, telling him to move now, he had no business there.

The other story is that my Dad found me, so they say. I believe them. They say I was about five or six years old, riding my tricycle in our front yard. It’s interesting that my adopted family was only twenty mies away from the grey wooden house with the one window, where the teenage mamas scream. They say my Dad drove in our yard, got out of his car, walks towards me, looks down at me and ask, “Do you know who I am?”. I guess I said no. In my mind, I can imagine seeing this tall, elegant black strong man, smiling at me with glistening teeth, a brightness in his eyes. This moment had to be so special for him. The man says back to me, “Well, I am your big brother.” They say I just rode away on my tricycle and my Dad got back in his car and drove away.

I hold on to these stories. I am so grateful that no one pushed my Dad away when he drove up in our yard to see me and speak to me, if only for a few minutes. I can only imagine how nervous he was and how grateful he was that no one stopped him from approaching me. I really wished I knew my Dad. He died. The last story they tell me was horrible. My Dad was killed by a police officer. I hold on to this story too. I wonder before he was killed by that officer, if he knew he had a say and if he used his voice to scream out, “I have a daughter who likes to ride her tricycle!”

I love you Dad! Happy Father’s Day.

Be Well My Friends,

Rev. JacquiP