IN LOVE AND GUILTY?

I love the fellowship of the saints in the local assembly. I love the fellowship of Destiny Christian Fellowship, Fremont CA.

I absolutely do not like to miss any service or study. However, there are times when circumstances will not allow me to take the drive I normally do not dread or think is too far.

Today is one of those days. I am just getting over a nagging cold. The power went out. The freeways are a challenge. As much as my mind believes that I am that young and fearless, fierce and courageous woman, time and tide reminds me it just ain’t so. Today, I am home, sorely missing the fellowship but having the wisdom to know my limitations.

Why do I share this? Because as I felt badly about not making my way to church, I realized it was out of a sense of guilt that I wrestled with not being present. I have seen the posts declaring that if you love the Lord this weather should not stop you from getting to church. I get the intent. It is well meaning, but we have to begin to measure why we do what we do and how it impacts the people who have a valid reason for staying home. Is there any glory to God if I show up just out of a sense of obligation rather than my love for Him and the people with whom I fellowship? Will my staying home impact my salvation or my relationship with Him, especially if I am pursuing Him daily, because I miss a Sunday?

I love the Lord. Is guilt about not being perfect supposed to be a component of that love?img_1882

I’m just asking.

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MY HISTORY, MY PAIN

I posted the following on my Facebook page last week.I truly thought that all the news about the deaths of black men at the hands of police officers had not really affected me emotionally.

I was wrong.

“I woke up at 3 a.m. this morning. This time I took the cue and began to pray. I prayed first for the safety of my family. I prayed for the safety of that daughter who is often beset by anxiety that could look like a threat to a police officer. I prayed for the men in my life, that they would be surrounded by God’s protection, especially the one who is special needs whose actions might look like a threat, for that brother who has a hair trigger temper, for that friend who might just look like a bad dude. I prayed for a grandson, thanking God for something I never thought I would have to be thankful, and of which I have never been ashamed, his fair skin and blue gray eyes. I prayed for my nephews, that one in a state that is not so diverse, that his “difference” might not be seen as a threat and for that one in a city that is so diverse that each male of color might be deemed a threat. I prayed for me that I would not be consumed by fear. I prayed for us that we would continue to “march on till victory is won!”

I prayed for all of us.

All of us!!

I prayed and I pray:

God has not given us the spirit of fear…

Lord please surround us with your presence; fill us with your spirit and overshadow us with your love as we poor pilgrims of sorrow travel through this land. We look to you, O God! Hear our plea, attend unto our prayer.

My pain links to my history and your response to my pain links to yours!”

It may take a 聽minute for that last sentence to sink in so please allow me to elaborate.

The pain and sorrow and pain 聽I carry in my soul links to a history of sorrow and pain, the history of my family in America. The first link is the fact that I don’t know all of my history, that I can only go back so far before the trail leads to a dead end. I can only surmise that the first people through whose lineage I came did not come to the New World of their own volition. They did not just 聽wake up one morning and decide to leave Africa behind to explore new frontiers.

My sorrow and pain links to my grandparents who spent their lives eking out a living by working for Mr. Charlie and Miz Willie. My grandfather was a brilliant man, but that brilliance could only be played out as the superintendent of White’s Chapel A.M.E. church. I get my love of reading from him and every time I travel, I grab a Reader’s Digest in honor of the many stacks of those magazines I devoured when I lived with my grandparents.

If your pain links to my sorrow and pain because you can relate to my history, then your response to today’s racial climate will most likely mirror my response.

But if you can trace your lineage all the way back to those days of yore when your ancestors were exploring and raping and pillaging and escaping to freedom only to return to enslave those not so privileged, then your response will most likely reflect the privilege you enjoy today as you mock what you deem the extremism of my reactions with a cursory, “That was then, this is now. Go back to Africa if you don’t like it here.”

At some point you may just realize that my ancestors were never voluntary immigrants.

My pain links to my history and your response to my pain links to yours!

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My grandmother standing at the steps that lead into the tin roofed house in rural Texas.

 

 

 

 

IT’S ALL ABOUT CONTROL

Dear Bladder of Mine:

I must tell you, I love the control you exhibit in these latter years. I heard horror stories about how, after a certain birthday, you would betray me in the most inopportune moments, catch me far away from any privy with your harsh demands.

But, so far, you have been kind except for that one moment of which we have agreed we shall never speak of again. 馃槓

Yes, you have been kind and I am learning to respond to your gentle nudges before you take matters into your own hands, so to speak.

I do have one little issue 聽The late night urges you have are sleep interrupting challenges. I do my best to ignore you, but you are quite aggressive in forcing me to bend to your will. I have learned how to find my way to your throne room half asleep and, so far, without tripping over anything.

I suppose, as the years pass, we will never come to any place of mutual agreement. I will just be grateful that you do not act out in public!!

Yeah, grateful for that!

Still, it all depends!

#seewhatIdidthere

馃榾馃榾馃榾

 

 

 

FAITH ON LOCK DOWN

I am a woman of faith

I believe in God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit

No apology here

If you have a dissenting view

No worries

We can talk, share our “Whys”

But I will not debate

About what I believe

Sunday

The preacher said

Expectations are the foundation for miracles

I sat there

And wondered

About my miracle request

My prayers for healing

Cartilage restored

Degeneration removed

In the moment

Asked God

To unlock the locks on my faith

Locks I may know nothing of

Apparently have聽no key

Faith waiting to be released

Open the locks, Lord, open the locks

I wonder

Are there strongholds in my faith

Strongholds orchestrated by others

Who sincerely believed

And so I believed

Until the locks forcefully clicked into place

And I now plead

Lord, if there are locks, please unlock the locks

And destroy any strongholds

So that my expectations become your miracles

My new prayer for healingimgres

 

 

 

GRACE FOR ALL

She was in front of us in the cashier line at the grocery store. Pushing a baby carriage with her right hand in which slept a beautiful newborn, she held some slips of paper in her left hand.

Quickly taking in everything, I surmised that the papers she held were WIC. Immediately irritated, I thought and expressed sotto voce to my friend, “Oh, man, it always takes forever for the processing of these things.”

He, having just a little more grace than I in that moment, said nothing to me but expressed to the young woman how beautiful the baby was. I, immediately convicted by his quiet rebuke and my sour attitude, asked the baby’s age. “Two months,” was her reply.

We stood and silently watched the cashier, who appeared to be management solidly out of his element, bumble his way through the processing of the WIC coupons as the young woman quietly watched him and answered the questions he asked. She only had a few things, a couple of bags of frozen fruit, I think, but there was a third item that the management cashier told her she could not purchase, a bag of fresh cherries. I asked my friend to let him know I would pay the difference.

True to my original thought, the WIC transaction for two items took forever (my hyperbole, of course), but as we waited, I watched the young lady. Her expression never changed as she stood at the counter. She never raised her voice in frustration as she answered the questions. I now realize this was probably her shield against any potential judgement by people in line behind her, too wrapped up in their own world to care about any distress on her part (Donna), something she had probably experienced too many times before.

As we moved up with my full conveyor belt of food, including a bag of fresh cherries, the Holy Spirit whispered to me, “Do more.”

I asked the young lady to wait as I presented to the management/cashier a gift card and told him the amount I wanted on it.

I pulled out my debit card to pay when he announced, “You have to pay for these with cash.”

I gave a quick retort, which I can’t remember now, but I opened my wallet praying I had enough cash since in these days of easy access by technology I very seldom have any money on me. I had just enough to cover the gift card when I was then told I had to pay an activation fee as well.

“Do I need cash for that, too.”

I did not, “Thank you, Lord.”

I handed the gift card to the young lady and true to the demeanor she had displayed at the counter, she quietly thanked me. I asked her name. She told me, and as she walked away, I silently prayed for her. I pray for her now.

I turned back to the task at hand, the processing of my groceries, and as the management/cashier swiped items across the scanner, he said, “You guys are awesome.”

I do not know if he will tell this story to anyone else. I do not know if the young woman will tell anyone else this story. What I do know is in that moment of going from irritation to compassion, the Lord reminded me of those days when I was that young woman with a baby wondering how those ends would meet.

My response to the man’s comment was “There but for the grace of God go I,” but it is really much more than that cliched response. God’s grace is extended to all. The fact that I am now a woman of faith is not defined by my economic status. Salvation does not come with dollar signs attached. That moment in the grocery store was really about how God could be glorified in that moment, how I would wrap the tenets of my faith in flesh, and no I did not think these high and lofty thoughts in that moment. I just felt her heartbeat and in it I heard my own.

I am, by no means, flush today. I still pinch a few pennies and my retirement years have the potential for some financial question marks, but I am not afraid. God is still provider and I am learning more and more every day how to give out of my need.

I do not write this to impress. I share this story to remind myself and any others that our pasts should compel us to act out our faith as an humble thank-you for the “where” from which He has brought us.

After all, we really are where we are today only by the grace of God.

Especially in times like these.

YESTERDAY LAUGHTER, circa 2015

DONNA, START YOUR ENGINE

Every time someone suggested it, I pushed back.

“No, I will not ride a scooter at the county fair.”
“No I will not ride the cart in the supermarket.”
“No, I do not need a scooter!”
“No. No. No. No.”

Then the day came.
We were in the supermarket.
I was a little wobbly on my crutch.

The next thing I knew, my friend rolled up beside me . . . rolling up in one of those electric carts.

“Get in!”

It was not a gentle request.

There comes a time in everyone’s life when you just have to kick pride to the curb!

My day had come.

The truth of the matter is I do not like trying anything new in public. I just don’t like the idea of looking foolish as I learn something new because most of the time I do, look foolish, that is.

In CPR class, I could not get my dummy to breathe.
In a speciality computer class, I could not get my log-in to work.
You already know my ongoing saga in the Kaiser torture room with that dang bike

Yep, I want to figure stuff out in private, then go public with it as though I have always known how to do that thing. I do not like feeling dumb.

Yes, I know; there is another name for that phenomenon: Pride, again.

I gratefully plopped down onto the seat of the cart.

Fear whispered in my ear, “You will look foolish!”

Too late, Fear, I was already seated and besides, my friend was giving me the side-eye.

There were printed instructions on the cart.

Yeah, I rarely do instructions. I like to figure things out on my own. I did not read them.

Name that attitude!

I tentatively pushed a lever on the right.

The cart moved forward.

I pushed the lever on the left.

The cart began to beep (like a truck backing up) and the cart backed up.

I am not sure I am crazy about sounding like a Wide Load backing up.

There are always concessions to be made.

Making the cart go, not so complicated after all.

Right lever, PUSH!

This cart was fully charged, juiced and raring to go!

TO INFINITY AND BEYOND!

Well, the boundaries of Pak and Sav, anyway.

As I zoomed down aisles, careened around corners and parallel parked next to the produce and meat counters, I hear a faint voice in the distance.

“Could you please wait for me?”

Hey, this was your idea!

Vroom!

I now enter into stores with a new attitude.

I now roll large and in charge.

By the way:

Hey Target, News Flash!
Parking the carts for the physically challenged in the back of the store away from the front. . .

You might want to reconsider this location.

Before I come in next time.

I’m just saying!

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A CHANGE IS GONNA COME!

I watch them run into the cafeteria, all wide eyed and just a little wild.

For five weeks each summer they become that diverse group on a campus that is not nearly as diverse during the school year.

They do not understand the privilege afforded to them of learning on a campus that costs a pretty penny to attend during the school year, a campus largely comprised of the homogeneous and the privileged.

The teachers who work with this diverse summer group may not be used to working with such diversity, either.

My wish for both groups is that they would come to understand one another in such a way that the experience will remain with them long after the memory of the summer sessions fades.

The line of difference drawn hard in society’s sand will only be erased when the diverse dare to embrace inclusion and dare to sit down to talk through skewed perceptions and unwarranted stereotypes.

While it is too true that I often view the world through a lens forged in the fires of Jim Crow, I believe that change is possible 聽It will take time. It will require patience. It will have to be fueled by determination.

I choose to believe!

We can learn to see each other and see ourselves in each other and recognize that human beings are more alike than we are unalike. ~Maya Angelou

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