Today’s a new day! A new week! AND a new beginning!
Today’s Hello Sunday is about hope and optimism. I believe hope and optimism are intertwined. You cannot have one without having even an ounce of the other. Sometimes being optimistic is difficult in what appears to be hopeless situations. Yes.. appears to be hopeless. Over the years I have learned– and I am still learning– that when you know God, you can always find hope in seemingly hopeless situations.
Last week I chose optimism and hope over fear and defeat. I had decided that no matter which way the election went, I was going to remain optimistic. Some suggest that this is only the calm before the storm. I suggest that if or when the storm comes, make sure you stay in the eye of the storm where there’s peace and tranquillity. Try your best to avoid being sucked into the surrounding chaos and turmoil. Yes.. stay within that eye. As long as you stay within the eye, hope and optimism wins. Y’all, love wins!
My first thought was to save this for my weekly Hello Sunday blog since it sounds like a Sunday message. But this is how I am feeling now– in this particular moment. So I am sharing.
After checking Facebook and Twitter this morning, I began to feel discouraged. Every post/tweet was about chaos and doom. If someone was not sharing stories about us going to a cashless, socialist society, then they were sharing stories about injustices and living in the last days. Sometimes.. no.. most of the time, it is so overwhelming. However, this morning, as always, God reminded me that He is still in control. Our job is to trust Him in spite of what we see.
When I was a little girl, I spent my summers with my great-great grandma, Madea. Every morning Madea would get up, pray, and read one chapter from her ginormous white Bible. That chapter was Psalm 23. It was her morning ritual. Y’all, she did this every morning before she started her day. To this day, that entire chapter is instilled in me. However, verse 4 is my secret weapon. Whenever I feel afraid, that one verse seems to calm all of my fears. I dare you to recite it when you are afraid. Whew! Talk about peace like no other! Personally, it kind of makes me feel like royalty. As if my daddy is The King and I am His princess. Like nothing can touch me. Sounds crazy– huh? But it does.
Anyway, without further ado, here is Psalm 23. Enjoy! And use it!
Psalm 23 KJV
1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
Scream: To give a long, loud, piercing cry or cries, expressing excitement, great emotion, or PAIN
I say that I want to scream, but I believe I need to scream. I am so frustrated, right now. Honestly, I have been frustrated– BEYOND frustrated– since my brother passed. People have said that I need to give myself time to process his death. HA! Easier said than done.
But to be completely transparent, yeah.. because who am I kidding, that whole divorce thing did a number on me. After my divorce was final, I thought I was finally free and about to live my best life. My birthday theme was “46 & FREE!” I was posting, “New beginnings” all over the place. Then three months later, my brother died, unexpectedly. Y’all, what a blow! We were supposed to be together until we were old and grey. But God had other plans. Now, here we are in the lovely year of 2020. Speechless.
Y’all, can I SCREAM, now???
The only visual I can give you of how I am feeling, and what I want to do… correction… what I NEED to do, comes from Michael and Janet Jackson’s video Scream. Soooo…
I needed to write. Writing helps me process my feelings, especially when I am sad, confused or angry. Up until this point, I have not written anything about George Floyd’s murder, or any of the aftermath. Not even in my journal. Which is pretty odd. I keep telling myself I need to document this. But I have not been able to write. I guess it is because I cannot log off social media. I go from Twitter to Facebook to Instagram, then back to Twitter. The stories are so overwhelming, yet so mesmerizing. It is like I am here, but not here. I need to get a grip.
In the midst of all of my thoughts this morning, a song came to mind. A song that I used to listen to as a child— This Too Will Pass, by the late Reverend James Cleveland. The song says:
I’ve had heartaches like this before, and I’ve had disappointments by the score. I claim the victory at last. This too will pass. The sun will shine, it can’t rain all the time. The clouds are gray, will soon have to pass away.
Guess what– this too will pass. God is working. Brighter days are coming. Be blessed!
This new normal seems to be wearing on me. It is becoming harder and harder to stay focused. I am so tired of online meetings and conference calls. They seem to disrupt my days. I always have to regroup afterwards. My To-Do lists have been replaced by completing tedious work logs, which have added another level of stress to my life. I seem to spend most of my time thinking about how I can show that I am being productive than actually being productive. Ugh! Talk about stressful! All I want to do is, do my job. I want to work without the added pressure.
Then there is the lack of face-to-face interaction with others. I am a people person. I live for saying “Good Morning” as I pass others on the way to my office. It brightens my day. I miss my morning trips to Starbucks and Einstein Bagels. Again, because I get to interact with people. Y’all, I miss having real conversations with colleagues and students. Yes, I am having a difficult time. And I realize others are too. I just wish I could adjust, already!
Anyway, yesterday I had to take a step away from everything and remind myself to breathe. I had to remind myself that after the work day was over, it was OVER. No thoughts about what I had not completed. I had to let it go. After shutting everything down, I gave my 16 year old, who I feel like I have been neglecting, my undivided attention.
I remembered that this is also a new normal for him. He has been out of school for two months. He also misses his friends and teachers. This new normal has to be just as difficult for him. Last night he told me school ended last Friday. How did I not know this? I do not remember receiving an email or text from his school. I wanted to cry. This new normal is anything but normal.
Going forward, I am going to be a little more lenient with myself. I am going to focus on what matters most, my sanity and my children. Life is too short to continue focusing on stressors. So, whenever I become frustrated, I must first remember that I matter; I am loved; and God has me in His hands. Then I can focus on others and work, too.