Holding On To Life
Nobody truly knows how to prepare for life. Sure, your Mom, aunties, and girlfriends will do their absolute best to share their wisdom and give you advice on how to be a "strong, Black woman." But, nobody ever talks about what real strength looks like. They don't tell you that it's okay to feel ashamed, embarrassed, insecure, or guilty about a thing. Nor do they tell you that sometimes your perceived weakness is your strength, especially if you've acknowledged it. And, there's no way ANYONE can ever prepare you for dealing with earth-shattering happen-stances or the days when the earth seems to open up and swallow you up whole. I don't think I've read one self-help book that told me just how hard it is to unfold myself after being in a fetal position too long. Well, maybe I did read a book or two, but the words didn't sink in. So, I do whatever I need to do to hold on to myself. And, it gets hard! Frankly, there are times that I seem to be in silent prayer all day long or just simply telling God "thank you", repeatedly throughout the day. I pray for peace, redemption, forgiveness, and discernment. And, I pray for guidance and strength. Sometimes, even after all that prayer, my house still gets burned down to the ground. And once again, I have to sift thru the ashes and take a moment to gather up whatever remains.
But, what do I do when I am ALL that remains...in all of my nakedness...baring my soul? I journal about the best memories of myself being happy. Memories like holding my babies for the first time; the smile on my Mom's face after I graduated high school and went off to college; the thrill of reading a letter from my Auntie Azalee; the joy of making homemade biscuits with my Aunt Gene; the smell of Irish Spring soap and Dixie Peach pomade on my Grandmother Helen as she prepared for church; and the sweet sound of her hymns of praise as she prayed over our family. These are the memories that reflect the very best of me. These are the memories that remind me to hold on to life and to never give up. These are memories that keep me...grounded!
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Picture by Annie Lee, "My Cup Runneth Over"