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my personal moments

Recently my soul encountered a beautiful spirit (Halcyon1) and she encouraged me to open up again! These are some of my personal experiences in relation to this daring journey to love.  Next week we begin the path again, I hope you join me.  I invite you to share some of your personal reflections as we blog our way to through the 40-Day Dare to Love!

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My personal moment – I don’t know about you; however, I find it most difficult to remain faithful when it seems like my whole world is crumbling down. After being laid off of my job, I was in such a funk.  Didn’t really know where to start, so I just went home and laid down.  So numb, really couldn’t cry. I asked myself on more than one occasion, “why did I take that job in the first place? What on earth was I thinking to leave a comfortable position with people whom I respected and enjoyed seeing daily? If they didn’t see my value the first time I interviewed, why would I give them a second chance? No matter how many questions, the bottom line remained – I was now part of the fast growing pool of unemployed folks in the technical arena.  Yes, it was happening to me.  Thank God for people who love me – for it was that small circle of friends who were able to talk me through  this state of depressing affairs.  They helped me to restore my faith in God. To realize that nothing happened without His knowledge and consent. No matter how many times I forgot God during my good times, he forgave me. No matter, if my praying wasn’t as frequent when the paychecks were every week, he forgave me. It is His faith in me that keeps his line of communication open.  For God is faithful, and to Him I cast my cares and as my kids say, “keep it moving.”  I extend the same message to you, stay faithful in believing what God can do in your worst moments.  Extend forgiveness to others, just as he does to you.

My personal moment – In 2004, my department was restructured and I was laid off – after six-years. I was hurt and definitely thought that this was unfair. Those left behind who were in charge of the re-organization had pitted every person within our department against one another, so we were basically competing for one another’s job. For about a month after the lay-off, I just felt sorry for myself. Didn’t make sense to go to church because obviously that didn’t get me anywhere. Short end of the story, I couldn’t see the big picture of my situation. I had to be brought down in order to be lifted up. Losing the job made me pray just a bit harder, made me cry just a bit longer, made me a humble person, cause now I could see the plight of others in similar situations. I was raised in the church, so I did have a personal relationship with God, just had to get back to my starting reference point. You may have been out of contact with Jesus, however, it is never too late. When we learn to have a committed and meaningful relationship with God, then our other external relationships will take on new meanings. I am here to tell you to never lose sight of Christ, for it is His love that will sustain you when all else fails you.

My personal moment – This past weekend I visited some old friends from the life.  I did not plan on staying for more than an hour; however, ended up staying almost 5 hours. We had some of the best conversation involving relationships, definitely more than what I expected when I pulled up to their southeast side house. They’ve been in a committed monogamous relationship for 15 years, so I felt that they were more than qualified to give me some advice and understanding on some of the matters of the heart. God is a priority within their marriage – that is really the crust of their staying power. They’ve built their relationship on trust and honesty and they are grounded in faith.  Without God it is impossible to love.  After I left, my visit only confirmed what I’ve known for a while. My relationships were not built on God being within our midst.  He was not first.  We allowed family, children, work, and recreational activities to take precedence – and only when the walls were tumbling down did I drop to my knees. I am honest with myself to even recognize that I put my partner first and was so busy attempting to make her happy that I could not even see the direction that God wanted me to head in – so he removed her. I told God that I wanted to serve Him with all of my heart and soul, but found myself always burdened with her needs, wants and desires. I left the guilt of her actions consume me to the point that I thought I was her savior. Constantly desiring for her to be in a happy place, could not make time for myself or God. We should have sought Him in all that we did, asked Him for guidance and not have tried to yield unto our own understanding. That was then – now I am finally in my happy place basking in the joy of Christ. Taking each day as it comes and never-failing to give God all of the glory for my newfound awareness. Yes, love is impossible if you don’t know God and his Son.

My personal moment – Being intimate is very different from being passionate. I am a passionate person at heart.  Very passionate about my writing, safe-guarding my family, fighting for the voice-less, voicing my opinion (whether asked for or not), and staying true to my God.  However, on an intimate level – defined as the feeling of being in a close personal association and belonging together. Now these type of relationships I usually run as far away as my little heart will travel.  For a long time, I just didn’t want to get caught in the drama of loving someone and then being abandoned. I’d literally drive myself insane with the fear that the relationship was going to end in disaster, so I’d either bail or push them away.  As long as I was first, then I escaped with most of my emotions in tack.  That was better than being all messed up in the head because somebody left me first.  In the end, it was the relationship that I put the most energy into making work that ended up not working. At some point intimacy became a ritual and not something done out of love.  Therefore, it really wasn’t intimacy at all – a mere task associated with being in a relationship. Two people who are committed to one another have the opportunity to reclaim the emotions that may have gotten lost or buried along the path. The key is making one another feel safe within the confinement of the relationship.  This is true of any relationship. Just stay together and work through the issues with love – we are only on day 17 – just stick in there. (Please don’t follow my past example!)

My personal moment – Seven years ago my daughter was the victim of teen-age domestic violence. Gasoline was thrown on her and then ignited. In what was possibly a millisecond, she became a living breathing self-propelled match stick.  She spent three-months in an induced coma – the only way to keep her alive. Oh how easy it would have been to blame God for letting this horrific crime happen to my daughter.  I could have balled up my fights and screamed to God at the injustice of this situation.  Better yet, just curse God? Surely He had abandoned me during this tragic hour. Understand that I could have done any of these things – for what. It may be hard to believe that I did not question God or even ask Him to spare her life for my sake.  Instead, I just prayed.  I prayed that His will be done. I talked to God about this child that lay dormant with only a machine to keep oxygen flowing through her body. I did not have the power to change her circumstances no more than any of us have the power to change the people in our lives. Although I was in  a lot of pain, I prayed.  On days when I didn’t know if she would make it out of surgery, I prayed. During the night when the machine announced that she was slipping, I prayed.  When they told me they were taking her off of the ventilator because her lungs could not take any more of the forced air, I prayed.  And finally, when she opened her eyes to announce to the world that she was a survivor, I prayed again.  No one can tell me about the power of prayer because I know it for myself.  I tried it. Now I challenge you to give prayer a try!

My personal moment – I was married twice, and sadly enough I cheated in both marriages.  Not just once, but several times – and with no remorse. When you are young, sometimes you just don’t get it, don’t understand the value of having a spouse who loves you unconditionally. I was so busy looking over the fence into my neighbor’s yard, that I didn’t see the life of vegetation growing in my own.  By listening to my spouses I thought that meant I was giving up my control in the relationship. I got married out of obligation and not love. It has taken me 23 years and many failed attempts at commitment to really understand what “holy matrimony” really means.  It is giving up one’s self to join another human being. Don’t confuse this with giving up one’s identity, that is totally different – so please, don’t get it twisted.  When I look back I am capable of being very honest with myself.  I did not know how to love myself, so it was impossible to love someone else.  I am challenging myself everyday to simply love with no expectation of getting anything in return.  If God required us to love on a condition, meaning in order for Him to love us, we needed to give Him something – would we be able to pay?  Think about it…

My personal moment – People who are close to me know that I am not the most nurturing mother in the world.  I believe in being strict and not taking a lot of nonsense from my children.  Education has always been my strongest attribute and it often times takes a back burner to the hugging, kissing and other feel good stuff.  Since my first granddaughter was born, five years ago, I’ve had a slight change of heart.  I now want to be more of a nurturer.  I want to take joy in doing things with my grandchildren.  Spending time is part of cultivating a relationship and I am doing just that with the babies, and even the mom’s of the babies. I know that God only desires the very best for me and I in turn for others.

My personal moment – My words are both my most powerful asset as well as my downfall.  I use words to soothe and kill, to uplift and humiliate, to join and weaken, to dedicate and devastate, yes, all with my words.  I have been blessed to be able to give life, but now I realize that I also am capable of taking life too.  It is nothing to brag about when you are able to destroy someone’s self-esteem and de-value them just by speaking your thoughts into existence.  When you know you have the gift to articulate your emotions via the written sword, it is not fair to your opponent.  It is even worse if you are using words to criticize, humiliate and shatter the self-worth of people within your relationships. When I look back on my life, I realize that this is how I shielded myself from being hurt. Too afraid to let anyone close to me – so I used my words to keep them at bay. I want my relationships to be grounded first in God, then in love and lastly within the comfort of knowing that I am capable of voicing my opinion within the concept of being fair. I called my ex-girlfriend today and just said “good morning.”  Something that I have been unable to do in the last three-months (well and mean it!).

My personal moment – I am surrounded by people whom I love very much; love them for just being themselves. We argue, we make up, we disagree, we cry, we fight, we laugh, we drink together, we get sick together, we make mental love, we slam doors, we open doors, we tear down walls of miscommunication, we eat salad, we cook dinner together, we spend the night at one another’s house, we pack up things to be moved, we open our hearts, we curse, we sing, we are straight, we are lesbians, we are lovers, we are friends, we are both men and women, we are writers, engineers, unemployed, we are mothers, we are gay, we are individuals, we are feminist, we are students, we are the working class poor, we are Catholic, Baptist, Seventh Day Adventist, church goers, pew warmers, saints and sinners, we are flawed in some capacity, and gifted in areas beyond belief – yet we are friends who are spiritually connected and most importantly we love each other unconditionally. It is the love of Christ that allows me to open my heart up and share and for this opportunity I am ever so grateful!

My personal moment – My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer several years ago. This personal moment is extremely hard for me to share, but I know it is necessary. I was very upset with her, felt that she had deliberately subjected her body to unnecessary stress and somehow had caused the cancer to enter her body.  I wanted her to take a stand against this dreadful disease and to fight it by not letting herself accept the diagnosis.  When in fact I did not want to accept it! I had so much going on at the time, my oldest daughter was in a coma due to a fire, my job was shuffling me around, and my relationship was on very rocky ground.  I simply did not have time for another major crisis.  If she would just stop worrying about stuff, then this cancer thing would heal itself and go away.  Well it did not; she had to undergo surgery and chemotherapy.  I did not greet my mother with love, a smile or even kind words as she went through this traumatic time in her life.  I could not see past my own circumstances, oh how selfish I acted towards my own mother.  Thank God that love does not always react in the same manner as it is given, or in my case, not given.  When I was recently hospitalized my mother showed up and stayed with me overnight.  The love of a mother is unlike any other.  Now when I see my mother (we went to the movies this past Monday), I greet her with love, and not harsh words. Love makes a good impression no matter what the situation.

My personal moment – I’ve come to realize that jealous thoughts are just as toxic as jealous behaviors.  I am now in the 70 percentile of what the statisticians classify as the “single black female” group.  Now on one hand this is great!  At 42 years old I have no one to report to, ask me where I am going, dictate my hair or dress preferences.  I come home to a quiet house and my kitchen counters are always spotless, well unless I leave something on them.  I only need to wash every other week and my hardwood floors are spotless.  Oh, the luxury of a single life.  Now the downside.  I sleep alone, eat alone, watch television alone, read alone, and recently blog alone – no fun, no fun at all, but hey, I have peace – alone.  I have friends who are in both healthy and unhealthy relationships (hopefully the latter folks are reading this and working on migrating to the healthy side) and I do find myself being envious.  I may never voice it, but I sit and brood about it – sometimes, especially on the extra cold nights when I refuse to turn the heat past 60 degrees.  I literally make myself sick thinking about all the past relationships that I so royally sent to hell in a sporty Lamborghini.  New day and time to do something different.  Applaud my friends who are in relationships and keep blogging until the day that I can say, “Hey I’m in a relationship too (yeah and not just with myself)!

My personal moment – When someone tells me they are going to “call me right back” I really expect that call back at least within  24 hours.  If that does not happen, then I straight have an attitude.  Suffice to say, when I do get that call I have a major attitude.  Yes, I am definitely irritated because I expect people to do what they say.  Now, how many times have I told folks that I would return a call within a specific time period, and didn’t.  Love shows consistency.  I find myself being irritated at situation or with people for no justified reason.  So, my task is not to set up expectations of others when in fact I am not willing to set the same for myself.  I need to get my own priorities in order and show love not bitterness to those whom I too declare to love.

My personal moment – Recently, my second daughter told me that I don’t listen to her.  Who was she to tell me such a thing.  At 21, really what did she have to say that I would even be remotely interested in listening to – she was still a child in a grown-up body.  I cut her off and just refused to listen.  Honestly, she hurt my feelings and I retaliated by being rude!  Was my behavior justified? Heck yeah – I am the mother – right?  Wrong.  What did my behavior teach her?  It is okay to be rude if you are the parent.  Young people don’t have opinions. You value other people by not allowing them to even finish their thoughts because you disagree.  I want my actions to be a beacon so that others feel comfortable seeking me during times of distress.  I had to apologize because I was wrong and did not handle the situation with love – I was rude!  At any given point in our lives, we can do something different, for God so gave His unique Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not be lost but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

My personal moment – I missed my 1st year anniversary with my first husband.  Not only did I not remember it, I wasn’t even home to pretend that I knew about it – yet he forgave me.  Instead of thinking about himself, he was thinking about us.  Cooked dinner, brought home flowers, picked up a card and had the table in perfect condition.  When I walked in the next morning he had already left for work.  Looking back now I feel a sense of regret that I did not appreciate his thoughtfulness. There have been many times that I have been ungrateful and thoughtless.  However, that was in the past, and there is nothing that I can do to change that, but I can use that life experience and certainly do things differently now.  I engage my mind before my lips.  That means that I think before I speak.  I am not saying that I do this every time, but I do it more frequently than before.  There are hundreds of ways that we can show love via being thoughtful to those that we care about. If you haven’t done it today – make it your priority before you lay yourself down to sleep.

My personal moment – My former partner and second mother to my daughter used to come home from work every day and cook.  She also ensured that the house was in order, the children feed and that I had dinner waiting whenever I decided to waltz in from work.  You see, I was climbing the corporate ladder, not realizing that it was via her back.  I did not appreciate her selfless acts of kindness, instead I was more concerned with my career and my life.  When she was really upset with me, of course, I’d buy things and do things, not because it was just the right thing to do, but because I had a motive.  I stand firm today to tell you this, “that is not love.”  I was chasing the highest level of happiness for myself, and in the end I lost a relationship because I was chasing the wrong thing.  That was almost 10 years ago, and thank God that I have learned through trials and tribulations how to walk upright – for God most certainly is not through with me yet.  And you either!!!!!

My personal moment – My relationship with my mother has always been very rocky, probably for more than 25 years we have been through hell and back and then right back to hell.  About a year ago, I decided to stop being so confrontational with my mother and just not say anything that would yield an argument.  Silence is golden I thought, but this has only lead to more hostility because she views my silence as a way of ignoring her – when it is simply just hard to talk to her (I am like this a lot too – especially with my daughters), for she must always be right.  When in fact maybe she is just attempting to help me, in her own way, and just maybe it is not about me.  I can do something different starting today by calling my mother up and saying something kind.

My personal moment – One snowy cold winter in Chicago in 96′ my former husband purchased a Christmas tree. For some odd reason, he thought it was a good idea to have one, to add some cheer I suppose. We were really trying to get our finances in order and I thought the money could have been better spent on well lets see – food perhaps! Ok, I exaggerate, but you get the point, something more than a tree. So, I dragged the tree through the apartment, after he carried it up three flights of stairs, and threw it down the back stairs. Can we just say I did not exhibit any kind of patience, did not even talk through what I was feeling, just reacted. This was not an example of patience and therefore not an act of kindness. Love is patient!!!

A few years ago, my kindred sister Denene suggested that I hurry myself to the theater to see the recently released movie, “Fireproof the Movie,” as my relationship (know defunct), was drastically in need of some assistance. Well, I found the location and went to see the movie. Partner at the time, did not feel as though this “god-like” movie was worth our trip. I watched it alone and felt that God knew my heart…

Fast-forward two years later. The same partner, (now living at separate residences), asked me to get the books as “she” was interested in working on our bitter sweet relationship. Obediently, I located not only the book, but the audio CD as well. And thus began my personal journey.

We are no longer, but I am – and if you are reading this – you are too – Congratulations!

My personal moment – I recently reconnected with my maternal grandmother. I had not seen her in over 25 years; our last encounter was not very pleasant. I always assumed her to be a very bitter and unyielding old woman.  See, when you are a teen-ager, the world of adults is often confusing and filled with endless “do this” and “don’t do that.”  So, I really couldn’t see the forest for the trees. To be honest, I really did not want to either.  Didn’t really want to be part of her world as it often collided with mine.  Anyway, it took the death of my uncle this past weekend to bring us into one another’s world.  When I first saw her, instinctively, I lowered my head and attempted to pretend as though she was not sitting right on the front row.  However, in God’s greatness, He would not allow this opportunity pass me by.  She caught a glimpse of me and beckoned me to come near. She stood up and hugged me, much to my surprise. With a slight hesitation, I hugged her back. I don’t know her struggles since we last parted, but I did vow that I would get to know and understand my grandmother. I am not the judge of her – God is.

My personal moment – Long after one of my relationships was over, I realized how much I really loved that person. Unfortunately this revelation wasn’t revealed to me until they had hooked up with someone else. In my heart I really believe(d) that this person was my true soul-mate, so I told them.  Yes, years later.  No matter how bad I want this person to just wake up and see what is presented in front of them, it is not my call.  Love respects other people’s situations and circumstances.  I now realize that love is flexible as well as humble.  So, instead of forcing the issue, I’ve chosen simply to “let go.”  This is my way of letting love win – because I am able to continue to love her in spite of the fact that she loves someone else.

My personal moment – I have a best friend who lives in California.  Her mother died a few years ago and I wasn’t anywhere to be found.  She left me several messages, never indicating what she wanted, so I did not return her call.  I just figured she wanted to chat about “nothing,” and I’d get back to her when I was more available to listen.  You know, I was busy, a lot going on – couldn’t possibly take a few minutes out of my hectic schedule to show my best friend how much I valued our relationship.  Suffice to say, when she finally got in touch with me, yes, I answered her call – her mother was dead for almost a year.  Her mother, whom I called “mom” was gone! My friend and I shared a great bond at one time. We had children the same age, we both loved to dance, we spent the night at one another’s house and consoled each other during our divorces.  This was an unexpected tragedy in her life, and I was too caught up in self to even extend an ear.  What did that say to her about our friendship? I’ll never really know because then she just stopped calling me.  Now two years later, I sit here and wonder – where is my best friend. I pray that her love for me is greater than the love I have expressed towards her.  When you cherish someone, you do not mistreat them, like I did.  I am going to find my friend, because I would not want God to abandon me as I did her.

My personal moment – After going back and forth with my current-former ex-fiancee’ about how to reconcile our relationship I finally said “to hell with this” and told her that I was tired and didn’t want to see her anymore.  I was not willing to go into 2010 as we did in 2009 – in a state of utter disarray.  I did not believe she was capable of making our relationship one of her priorities.  I no longer wanted to be on the “things to do” and no where on the “right now” lists of her life.  I could not appreciate any of the things that she did during our six-year relationship because I had moved into the “depreciation room” and refused to come out every time she refused to deal with our pending issues.  My frustration was due to her moving out of our home without any notice and taking our shared truck with her, all of which just lead to deep-seated bitterness.  I didn’t allow the love that I felt for her to stand up against the anger that had taken up residence in my heart. I simply didn’t believe in her anymore, and that is not how love should work.  If you are in a relationship now, give it your best.  Put down your weapons and come outside of that room of negativity.  Don’t discard your relationship so quickly without really giving it a fair chance. Put God first and acknowledge Him in all that you do and say to one another.  Discuss openly what bothers you about your spouse and work on it from the standpoint of love!

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Comments»

1. Anonymous - June 2, 2015

WOW, Selfishness vs. (selflessness) vs. Love an emotion that requires sharing. Giving of your self entirely are you still searching for the ability to love. Have you found that holy matrimony type love.


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