Playing the game, for life

I do not consider myself a Pollyanna. More like an Eeyore actually. Or that kid that puts her hands over her ears and sings, “lalalalalalalalalalalalala”, or an ostrich, head firmly planted in the sand, refusing to look up and see the turmoil all around me.

A friend pointed out just the other day how her day was a usual day. Mine are too, perhaps peppered with a little more caution. I have made my (adult) daughter promise not to check her mail late at night alone anymore.  This used to be a minor concern, but now, in my mind, it is a major security problem and must stop immediately. I am still polite, I still open doors, offer a smile, and carry on with my day as usual. I am trying to remember that how the other person reacts is not my problem or responsibility but, I will admit, that as of late, it has been on my mind. A lot.

So, I DO see the turmoil, and feel the anxiety all around. I have noticed more than a minor shift. But, what I have purposed in my heart, is that I will continue to do the things I did.  I will do more where I can, and I will continue to ‘speak those things that are not as though they were.’  I will continue to hope, pray, and work toward the change we all want to see. I will not let the negative images, the news, and the ill reports keep me from doing my small part. And, yes, I suppose I will continue to sound like Pollyanna. ❤

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Teachable Moments

On social media, I have many different friends, with many different points of views. We get along very well for the most part. Most of the time, we are in agreement, sometimes we are not. Agreement does not a friend make.  I love discussion, as long as it does not get personal or verbally abusive.

A woman on my page today voiced an opinion about the ‘safety pin’ move. She ‘pfft’d’ the movement, and I felt she was quite negative about it. Her view was that if you wear the pin, you must be ready to help anyone and everyone who approaches you, and anyone you see in need of help. She felt that you needed to know all kinds of organizations and numbers in order to help anyone, and if you could not help with that, then you were basically no help at all. That actually made me a more than little sad.

My daughter has a heart made of marshmallows. It was exposed during many teachable moments.

Once after church, she made a comment about one of the sisters in the church. The comment was not nice, and had to do with her attire. This was a teachable moment.

We discussed quite a few things (my daughter loves to talk).  Why might a person wear the same clothing ‘all the time’? How many children did she have? Was she married? What did we really know about her? Was any of it really our business, and did it really matter? We knew that she was a wonderful, kind, and patient person who was loyal to her friends and the church.

That very same day between services (yes, we stayed in church most of the day, lol), I took my daughter shopping. We used her savings, and some of my money, and bought clothing that we thought the sister might like. Everything. 

After service, we asked to speak to the sister alone, took her out to our car, and presented her with our blessings for her.  She was overjoyed and in tears that someone not only noticed, but DID something. There are all kinds of scriptural text to support what we did, but I will not get into them. I would rather we LIVE them. The lesson to my young one was this; if you see something, rather than talk about it, fix it if you can. And, do it in a manner that does not draw attention to the person, or yourself. That is not the reason we give. Our reward was watching that sister smile and receive compliments from others, week after week. Even now, we smile whenever we think about it. That lady was going through something, and we may never know how much that simple gesture helped her and let her know that ‘God’ is more than a theory for the afterlife, at least for us.

From that moment, we were tuned in for ways to be a help to others. When a dirty, drunk man stumbled up claiming hunger, we took him into a store and bought him something to eat. Many were happy for the meal, some cursed and shuffled off because what they actually wanted was the money.

I say all this to say that no, we cannot help everyone, and, there are many, many ways to help others. It may be a hug. It may be standing in silence and letting them sort things out for themselves. It might be calling an assistance program and waiting with them until other more qualified help comes to their aid.  Wear your pin, and do what you can. Every little bit helps. There is no quantifying love. Together, if need be, we can build a whole new world. ❤

Vulnerable

My back went out today. Any of you that have had the experience of ‘the back going out’, know that it can happen at the drop for a hat, no apparent stressors, for no good reason whatsoever!  I was walking along the hallway in my home, and felt that little shock of what feels like electricity, and before I could utter, “Uh oh”, there it went. I am now the wounded animal in the pack. Are we eagles, ducks, and wolves, or are we less empathetic?

Being in this position, of course got me to thinking about many things. I thought back to when I was in Africa, and all the wondrous things I saw.  I remember watching a giraffe eat. It seemed like the funniest, the most comical thing I had ever seen. But, when taken in context of what was happening, and why the giraffe was behaving that way, it was not funny at all.

When the giraffe eats something from the ground, it is in the most vulnerable and exposed position it could ever be in.  She must spread her front legs far apart, then lower her neck to reach the ground. As you can imagine, being in this position makes her very nervous, so a great deal of time is spent jerking her head up and looking around. How could someone possible enjoy a meal like that!

It made me think of our current position, or at least, what some feel our current position is.

I have friendS who will admit they have enjoyed white privilege in many areas of their lives. For the first time (one stated) in her life, she felt concern when going out by herself. Afraid on the drive, afraid in the carpark, even afraid in the elevator with others. Imagine, FOR THE FIRST TIME IN HER LIFE!  Wow. I shared that as a black American woman, I have felt that way unfortunately, in many situations.

Anyway. I am saying that to say that we all may feel different levels of anxiety and vulnerability. But, the thing we need to know, is that we will be okay. We will take care of each other. As much as possible, we will live life as usual. Even the giraffe that was afraid to eat actually had other giraffes looking our for her on the outskirts. When a point duck (the one leading the V formation) is tired and falls back, other ducks surround her/him so (s)he can coast on the wind channels until (s)he gets her/his strength back. If a duck is wounded and cannot go on, another duck stays with him/her until the final outcome, whatever that may be, or looks like.

We are not alone. Although we may feel especially vulnerable in the upcoming months and years, let’s remember that. There is strength in numbers. We are many.

giraffee

Safe-ty Pins


When I was  little girl growing up in church, my grandmother, and several of her friends used to wear safety pins over their left breast. Sometimes they would have a handkerchief attached.  I never really thought about the significance of those pins.  I always assumed it was either so they could keep up with the handkerchief, or in case some one needed to pin up their slip so it wouldn’t show. 🙂

But, now that I think about it, why would the wear them so often without a handkerchief attached?  Wow! My grandmother may have been involved in a secret, not so secret club!  Of course, knowing my grandmother, this does not surprise me in the least.

The reason I was thinking about this is because a new secret safety pin society has arisen. We have pledged to stand together with other ‘others’. To stand by, and with, to be a safe harbor when any of us is confronted and present a united front. I’m glad we’ve stepped up. I shall go out a get my safety pin.

I am almost positive Grandmother’s safety pin stood for something very similar.

pins

New Balance

Everything is still off-kilter. I think it will be for a while. People grieve, or come to realizations at different paces. Many people are still just plain numb. It will take a while for everyone to ‘get on the same page’, as it were. Then, there are those that have no interest in getting on the page at all.

Whatever we do, and however we do it, we need to come to a new balance. We need to come back to the middle. Or, at least I do. My emotional pendulum is all the way in one direction, which is fine for a season, as long as it does not stay there. For me, the middle is level ground. It it the area where I can exercise sound judgement. Sound judgement and decision making about things that impact me and those around me.

I am waiting for the tide to ebb and settle so I know what I am working with. One thing I know for certain is that I will not give up on myself and my fellow beings.

I WILL find that new balance.

Oh, and it won’t be New Balance shoes. i’ve always loved them, but because of money and/or any other number of reasons that do not matter to me, they have come out, and come down on the side of what remains to be seen.  They have shown us what they care about, even though their product says, “Made in America”. Millions of people are burning their shoes.

Whatever happens, I will look forward, to a ‘new land’. Meanwhile, let’s keep this ship above the water. This song has brought me through many a rough storm, kept me afloat until the waters settled.

I Believe

My grandmother had a lot of sayings. As I mature, I am amazed at how many of them are spot on, true, and applicable, even today.

For the last eight years, America’s slip has been showing.  That is and expression for when you are misbehaving in public, or doing things that others really should not see.  America, some of us shouted, as racially or hate charged things took place around our country. Stop that! People can see you. The REAL you.

Well, America had a checkup this week, and we now know that her slip showing was only a symptom of a much bigger problem. Her fear, just a symptom. Sexism, just a symptom. Racial tension, prejudice in all its forms, just a symptom. Boiled down to its least common denominator, America is infected. Infected by something worse that the worse virus or illness you can imagine. America is infected with HATE. America is in so much pain that some would say she has cut off her nose to spite her face, trying to get away from the pain.

Many of us are scared, confused, sick and angry. Disconsolate and inconsolable.We are in the throes of grief. In this moment, www cannot see past the moment. We wonder if there is even ever going to be another moment.

But, does this diagnosis have to be a death sentence? Is it? We have four years to find out. Four years to not medicate and cover these symptoms that are fully exposed now, but to FIX them. To fix ourselves.

But how? It’s simple really, but the hardest thing we will ever be asked to do. We must trust, believe, keep faith, and above all LOVE.  It will not be easy because many of the infected will reject, will be afraid of it, will try to destroy. But, if we support each other during these times, keep out heads up, and do whatever we can to lot lose ground, perhaps in four years enough of the infected will be cured and have a clearer vision of what America can and should be when she is well.  I believe in America. I believe in US. I believe in LOVE. ❤