Coffee (Part 2)

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Press was busy as usual. Mostly first shifters getting breakfast to go. There were at least 20 people in line checking their phones, looking annoyed that there were people in front of them. A few people were seated, most of them had laptops, there was one seating area by the window, big comfy chairs with a table in between, Harper gave Michael her order and went to sit down. He wanted to buy her a coffee he could endure that long line on his own.
Harper looked at Michael as he approached their seats. He was a handsome man but… she didn’t quite know what the but was however there was always a but.
So what type of work do you do?
And so it begins, I am a paralegal for Evergin and Wright.
I’m sorry, and so what begins?
The “script”. I find it boring and unoriginal, how in our society we always want to get to know people by asking what type of work they do. Most people don’t love their jobs, they have bills to pay so they work. A better question to ask is what do you enjoy? Then you may get a more fulfilling answer.
You’re a bit of a handful I see. So, what do you enjoy.
Sculpting and nature.
You sculpt, what medium?
Not really. I take pottery classes at the Cultural Arts Center and try to get out of the city one weekend a month to go hiking.
I think you are more interesting than me.
Why? What do you enjoy.
Music, I spend my weekends checking out local bands across the city. Lately that’s about it.
That’s not a bad thing. You act like you don’t like it.
It’s not that I don’t like it, I’m just thinking it’s not very creative.
Harper enjoyed talking to Michael, he was comfortable. She learned a lot about him in their twenty-minute chat. He was from a large family, he’d moved here to go to school but never went back home. He seemed to miss home. He had one child, a son, a teenager which made him way older than he looked, and he wanted to see her again. Harper wasn’t sure how she felt about that. It was one thing to think about going on a date, it was a whole other thing to actually commit to one.
So, would you like to have dinner sometime?
No, but I’ll meet you here at seven tomorrow for coffee.
Really now.
Yea, I like coffee.
Harper stood to leave, her heart seemed to skip a beat. How could she be that interested in someone she had known less than an hour?
Thanks for the coffee and conversation. I enjoyed it.
Harper walked toward the door. She was sure she was sweating, and that her face was flushed, she’d tried to stay cool but…there’s always a but.

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The reason

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For the past year I have struggled with “why”. Why do bad things happen, to anyone really? We often ask why bad things happen to good people, but at one-time bad people were good people and then some bad things happened. Sometimes these things happened in childhood and made growing up very hard. For everyone that asks “why”, there is usually someone else with an answer. Those answers are usually something vague like, “There is purpose in pain.” or something that is meant to bring comfort to the situation, something like, “God will use your situation to help others.” Neither really answer the question. Some questions have no answers and although a person dealing with hurt is not interested in hearing it, there is purpose in pain and God will use your story to help others.  It’s important that we know when to listen and cry with those that are hurt and when it is time to introduce them to the idea that there is a higher purpose for their life.

Sometimes the hurt we experience is the only way we can effectively live within our life’s calling, experience is the only way we can understand others well enough to help them. In the fourth chapter of Esther, Mordecai was in mourning because the Jews in the land were to be killed. Esther was the Queen and a Jew. When Esther learned that Mordecai was out in public in his sackcloth and ashes, she sent a messenger to ask him to stop. Mordecai asked Esther to talk to the king, Esther declined. Mordecai reminded Esther of who she was and suggested that being the queen wouldn’t necessarily protect her.  Then he made one good point, he said to Esther; “Who knows, perhaps you have come to your royal position for such a time as this.” Esther went to see the king. Who better to plead mercy from the king for the Jewish people than someone who knew and understood what being a Jew meant and understood what would be lost.

There will always be hurt and bad things in this world. People are going to hurt each other, children will suffer, there will be a lot of lonely nights and hard days. Life is not fair. We each have a story and a calling; the strong ones help the weak. You made it through maybe you will be the one that helps another stay alive or understand their purpose. There is purpose in pain and although nothing makes the bad things that happen okay we don’t have to let the unfairness of the situation hinder us from living our purpose.

It’s just coffee

7:15 am Harper was on the city bus on her way to work. She was tired and hadn’t had her coffee yet, this was going to be a long day.

Michael finally made it out the house and to the bus stop. He hadn’t been on a city bus in forever, today he didn’t have a choice. His car had been totaled and the insurance company had messed up the paperwork for the rental, so his only means of transportation was the bus until that got sorted out.  When he stepped on the bus Michael immediately had flashbacks of his childhood, crying babies, weird smells and chatty people that don’t always make a lot of sense. Looking around for a “safe” place to sit, Michael saw a cute young lady in the back of the bus. Hair pulled back in a bun, caramel brown skin, with freckles across the nose, silver wire framed glasses. “Can I sit next to her?” Michael thought. He decided to take the chance.

“Good Morning.”

Harper gave the tall stranger some serious side eye. He was cute but is was 7:20am, she was not interested in talking to anyone. Coffee, she needed her coffee.

“I am on my way to the Sun Center Office Park; do you know where I get off?”

Harper considered ignoring him but the bass in his voice inspired her.

“I am going there also, just get off when I do.”

“Cool. I am Michael by the way.”

“That’s nice. I am Harper and I haven’t had coffee.”

Michael chuckled a little bit. He didn’t drink any caffeinated drinks, but he knew coffee addiction was real in this society.

“Oh, so you don’t talk before coffee?”

“Not to strangers.”

“Well. If you have time I would like to buy you a cup of coffee before you head into work.”

Harper had to think about this for a minute. Free coffee but she’ll have to talk. “He cute” and she had 30 minutes. If he’s boring at least she’s had her coffee.

“Ok. Press is 50ft from the stop, the beans are freshly ground, and they have a delicious spinach and feta pie.”

“Great, it’s a date.”

“It’s just coffee.”

They both smiled, bursting with anticipation. It had been a while since Harper had been on a date. This was just coffee, but she was open to more. Michael’s bad day had suddenly become good. Riding the bus wasn’t so bad after all.

What you have is enough.

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2nd Kings 4 1-7 tells a story of a woman whose husband had recently died. She had two sons and her creditor was threatening to take her sons as slaves if she did not pay her debt. The widow went to the prophet Elisha for advice. Elisha asks her what she has in the house, she only has oil. He then tells her to borrow a lot of containers from the neighbors, close herself and sons in the house and fill the containers. Once the containers have been filled the widow reports to Elisha and he tells her to sell the oil, pay her debts and live off the rest.

This story teaches us an important lesson. Many times what we need is right in front of us, however we often look past it because it doesn’t look like enough. Looks can be deceiving. I am sure the widow mentioned the oil to stress how little she had, but what she had was enough. I am sure when she asked all her neighbors for containers she wondered how her bottle of oil and a bunch of containers were related. I wonder if she at some point thought, “this is ridiculous, I am not asking for anymore containers.” She had enough in the end but did she stop to soon.

We can all apply the story of the widow to our lives. First we have to identify the need. Then we need to determine what we have, be it a possession or talent that can help us get what we need. Consider those around you. Can they help? What can they do? Are you willing to take on the responsibility of meeting your need and see the process through?

Everything we need in this life is available to us but we have to do our part. God gives us the tools, we have to choose to use them.

Online dating in America

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NPR did a story today on how according to data collected from dating apps Black women and Asian men are the “least desirable“. I understand personal preferences, I have my own, and I expect that most people date who is around them, given that in the U.S. we still live in very segregated areas, we are generally surrounded by people that look like us. A few times within the past week I have been involved in conversations about the Black woman’s loyalty to Black men and if we should abandon that loyalty to expand our dating pool to men of other races, since Black men seem to lay blame on Black women when they decide to date women of other races. In my 39 years I have only known one Black man that was married to a woman of a different race that said it was because he met her, liked her, fell in love. Every other man I have discussed this with has begun by bringing up negative stereotypes about Black women, saying its just easier to date non-black women. (deep breath) Okay. I have strong opinions about that. Opinions I will keep to myself. Anyway, I am never quite sure how to feel in these conversations because truth be told, I have only “dated” one Black American, everyone else has been West African and West Indian. Not necessarily outside of my race but definitely outside of my culture. I grew up simple and plain Black American. I have no idea when I started to love Africa, its people and it’s culture but I do. I love hearing West African languages spoken, I love the traditional way of dress, the food, the music. That is my preference. I’ve entertained the idea of dating non-black but have never been able to do it. Even the Black Americans I am generally interested in tend to have darker complexions and very strong West African features. We all have preferences and though you cant hold what a person likes against them, we have to wonder how much the history and culture of racism in the U.S. plays a role in how we choose to date. We can probably guess which groups are most desirable according to the dating app data, one group sets the tone for the standard of beauty in American culture, the other, I think, is immensely fetishized. And that’s all I have to say about that.

This story did give me an idea though. Maybe I’ll join one of those apps and go on a few dates.

Seek and Pursue

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Psalm 34:14 tells us to “Seek peace and pursue it.” The definition of seek is to attempt to find, pursue means to continue or proceed along a path.  In other words when we want to find peace in our lives we must find where peace is and continuously follow the path to get to it. If ever we step off that path we may well lose our peace. This concept can be applied to nearly everything in our lives. If we want something we have to go after it and we must stay the course in order to achieve. I have found my peace in God. It is in seeking him that I have found the calm that I needed in my life. I cant say that everything has been perfect since or that I have always made the right decision but I do know that when things start to feel “off” or overwhelming I only need to look to him to re-center myself and find my calm. Proverbs 3:6. 2017 was a good year for me because it brought completion. During the beginning of the year I did not understand what was happening to me at all. I was overwhelmed I was exhausted and I was done. I questioned everything I believed and everything I did, in church, for God, as the church crowd would say and was ready to abandon it all. Yet there was a piece of me that wouldn’t let go. The piece of me that fully remembers how I used to feel and act, the things I used to say.  Pre 2011 me is no long an option in my life so I held on and just a few weeks ago at the beginning of December I learned what true forgiveness feels like, I let it all go and added another layer of peace to my life. I still question the role church plays in my life and if I am in the right place but that’s a post for another day. In 2018 I am seeking and pursuing the things that I want in my life. I have a house but not a home, I have great care and concern for others, but no one to love, I have so much of myself to give but its bottled up because its not the part of self that can be shared with the masses. In 2018 I am seeking and pursuing home and family. The place where I belong.

#home2018 #thefutureisnow

May you be well fed, truly loved and overcome with joy and peace in the new year.

 

Holiday 2017

 

 

HS_Christmas_ChristmasGiftIdeas_ThumbnailThe holiday season is quickly coming to a close and I must say that this one has been vastly different that any before. This is the first holiday season I can remember that I have not been sad, this year I am just comfortable. Normally I spend the holidays thinking about my mother and how I never had the opportunity to spend a happy Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Years being a good, happy daughter. This year, though I have thought about my mother, that feeling of loss does not exist. I am not sure what exactly has caused this shift and I am not going to try to figure it out, I am just going to enjoy it.

Moving on to other interesting developments in my life. Early Christmas morning I went to wrap presents with my new friend. Mr. L. Actually I wrapped presents while he napped on the couch. He’d had a full day of laundry, traditional Sunday breakfast for the girls, Christmas Eve with the extended family and back home for cleaning and wrapping presents. The helping part of me was very happy to be there wrapping presents, its something I used to do with granny and something I greatly miss, but another part of me began to wonder if I could live the life of a parent. I have spent a significant portion of my adult life as a caregiver and right now I am dragging my feet on a rather urgent life circumstance because I just don’t feel like dealing with it. I feel a bit selfish in saying but I want someone to take care of me. I want someone to call me to ask if I am eating, if I have everything I need, how my day/week has been and not round out the conversation with a task for me to do. It feels self defeating that I am thinking like this, I want to be a parent someday and I know no one is truly ever ready but I would like to feel less tired. I don’t know why I feel this way. However, I must acknowledge that a few friends and family members have been very good to me this holiday season with cards, gifts and invitations to holiday events. It has given me a great sense of release just knowing that others are thinking of me.

Anyway, I enjoyed my time with Mr. L. I always love talking to him, as much, as he will talk, he gives me little bits of himself and then stops. Its amusing because I am like that also, I can only give so much of myself then I retreat for a few days while I consider if I have said too much and should just disappear without saying anything. I don’t like for people to know too much. Once the wrapping was done, sitting on the couch listening to 90’s R&B I was comfortable. I could get used to that level of comfort in my life.