I Don’t Want To Spend Eternity Running

I often have the most intellectually-stimulating and thought-provoking conversations with KIDS. One young teen that I work with is so scholarly to the point of eeriness. He said to me that he was somewhat upset with his Sunday school class because he was told that his pet dog would not go to Heaven. Well, being a dog lover…and a Sunday school teacher, I took it upon myself to inquire of Jesus, Himself in prayer about it.

After several days, Jesus gave the words to say. I will share the conversation with you here:

Me:  Lord, I don’t know, I won’t be looking for my dog I had at age 10 when I get to heaven, but if this is important to others in their mustard-seed size faith, what do I say to them? Will there be pets in heaven?

 Jesus:  Well, I made ALL things for myself. I made the dogs, cats, bunnies, canaries…AND I made the spiders, snakes, and flying dinosaurs!

 Me: (Wide-eyed) LORD! I don’t want to spend ETERNITY running from spiders, snakes and flying dinosaurs! Heaven won’t be FUN with all of THAT going on!

 Jesus:  You’ve almost got it!

 Me:  Huh? Well, pets…You know, they Love us unconditionally, and we Love them. We get so much Joy and Peace from our pets. Good feelings.

 Jesus:  You’ve almost GOT IT.

 Me:  Oh Wait! Lord. All that Love, Joy, and Peace…comes from You, doesn’t?! It only come THROUGH our pets, but from You! All of that Love, Calmness, and Joy are waiting in Heaven for us with You! And all the fear conjured up by spiders, snakes and flying dinosaurs won’t be there!

 Jesus:  Um huh.

 Me:  Thank You, Lord.

Then…I knew what to say.

 

Just Black

I’ve been watching Bravo’s reality show REAL HOUSEWIVES OF POTOMAC. First off, I had never heard of Potomac, Maryland as many of us had not. I thought, “Wait…they live in a river? How does that work?” Anyway, the ladies are six Black, well-to-do (either through marriage or their own capital ventures or a combination of both) women. They range in age from mid-20s to, I would say, 40s. I only want to touch on one topic here: Race. All but one of the ladies look as though they could be of mixed-race ancestry. It seems every episode one or more of the ladies is iterating about their ‘light skin and light eyes,’ but own their Blackness. Power to them! One standout, who looks Black, identifies herself as biracial. Okay. We clearly SEE one of the races is Black. She never says, “I am not Black,” she simply says, “I am biracial.”

Well, Good Googamooga! Two of the ladies have made it their life’s mission to get this woman to say she is Black and THAT’S ALL. They and Twitter, have accused this woman of “hating her Blackness,” “being ashamed to say she is Black,” “she not proud (enough).” Honestly, I’m baffled by it all. The green-eyed ones seem to be the aficionados on the Black race. They make statements in their interviews like, “Black people don’t act like that,” “I don’t know any Black girl that does that,” “She’s been around White people way too long.” These are the same women who make this brainiac statement, “People think I’m White until I open my mouth, then they know I’m Black.” Why? How? Because Black is a sound, right? What?!

I. Have. Not. Missed. An. Episode.

Any-who, I wrote all of that to say this: I have a problem with people stereotyping Black people; all people for sure, but I am focusing on my Black people because I am Black; not African American, Black. When people look at me they do not mistake me for any other race nor bi- or multiracial; just Black. When I speak, people know that I am American. I do not produce an accent that can be confused with any part of Africa, Australian Aborigines, India, nor the Caribbean Islands; just America. I have been Black long enough to know that all Black people do not look, behave, or believe identically. We are as diverse in cultural and political experiences and influences as we are in skin tones and hues. All of us do not enjoy or promote the same types of entertainment. Many of us are diverse even in our ancestral histories as to how and when our particular ancestor(s) made it to these New World shores.

I am befuddled, but slightly forgiving, when non-Black people lump us all into the same categories. Befuddled because with all of the research they have done on the Black American “culture” (acquired, because slavery stripped Blacks of the originals), one would think they would see that we are far more than one culture. I’m slightly forgiving because they are not Black, so they do not and never will care as much as I do to research us any further. That would be a never-ending undertaking, anyway. So, some non-Blacks absorb just enough about us to be borderline insulting, using terms like “you people;” not reasoning along the path of “you’re our people, also.” I kind of forgive them for this reason.

When Black people stereotype Black people, I am flat out floored. We KNOW there is diversity amongst us and it has nothing to do with “house slave/field slave” ancestry because they were ALL slaves. There are Black people whose ancestries comprise of free Black people in the sense that they were not owned by anyone. They were, however, terribly restricted by laws fashioned just for them in living here in America. Just like every other race of people, we have Blacks who were raised in the country, some in the city, some in the suburbs; some play the piano, harp or accordion and some play dice; some like to live amongst a variety of other races of people and some do not.

Silly me, I thought all Black people KNEW this about each other, but again, with the differences in “culture” and experiences, some of us do not know this and will not research nor ponder it any further than our personal environment. So, I am not so forgiving of Blacks who stereotype Blacks. I believe this lack of empathy contributes to the race problem in America kind of through the intellectual ‘back door;’ seemingly, not knowing that what they do to and think of one Black, they do to and think of themselves.

The Oscars: Attend, Don’t Attend

January 23, 2016

THE OSCARS: ATTEND, DON’T ATTEND

Here we go again, “Oscar is too White…” I am not Hollywood-ian, so I do not know first-hand what our Black stars are feeling about the “lack of diversity” in the nominations this year for the Oscar awards. Who made up the award show, anyway? We have Black actors going after Black actors because of their stance on the matter and whether each other should attend the ceremony. All Black people do not, and will not, think alike. What is offensive to some is not offensive to others.

There was a call out to BH who, if they observed the same thing and felt the same way about it as the Smiths, to consider not attending the Oscars; and that was okay. Then there was a call out to BH who, if they did not observe and feel the same way, to do attend the Oscars. Guess what? That was okay, too! But, no; one side started attacking the other’s view and actions. If I don’t see it the way YOU see, does that mean you’re wrong? Does that mean I’m wrong? No, we just have different viewpoints and that’s okay.

Like I said, I am not Hollywood-ian, but I am BLACK. In 2016, it is way past time we stopped giving to non-Black affluences power over how we validate ourselves. The other “people of color” in Hollywood are not all over TV and the Internet about being omitted, possibly because they do not hold that much credence to the Oscar nominations. They have their OWN award ceremonies; just like we do. It seems that the other POC do not waste time and resources trying to force the establishment to be something it is not—FAIR. They did try to be fair over the years, God bless them, but they could not stick to it. Yeah, it’s nice to be included in the back patting, but BH, are you really going to be any more or less professional than you already are? More, because that’s what you do! It boils down to dollars and cents, doesn’t it? Get an Oscar nomination or better yet, a WIN, and that contract get renegotiated with more zeros, right? Listen, even some of your past winners, POC and White, have turned out cinema flops in years following getting that statue. Doesn’t Hollywood stop “knocking” altogether at that point? The zeros reduce to one!

Look; attend, don’t attend; it will not matter because twenty years from now, we will be right back at this same point with a brand new crop of snubbed actors. So, just keep working. That’s the BEST kind of actor. Just keep making GOOD movies and we’ll VALIDATE you at the box offices. We’ll see the bad ones, too…but only once.

Running On Love

(From 2007 musings)
My teenagers are wearing a hole in me. Thank goodness I have only two. My 17-year-old, bless his heart, has decided to wait on getting that coveted driver’s license. Why? California threw us a curve and the law says basically that we must spend $300 for 6 hours behind the wheel training and a piece of paper signed by someone who probably has several DUIs. And the law probably reads: And all insurance companies must double their rates on all families insuring any persons they have raised to be responsible, trust completely with their lives and he lived of their younger siblings and would not be nerdy enough to street race in their mom’s STATION WAGON.

My 13-year-old, who was always my clingy baby, has a social life. It involves dancing, dressing cool and a little bit of make up. She cannot, I repeat, CANNOT miss a school dance. She and her friends try to wear heels to the dances. They stomp across the parking lot moving like the stringed puppets from the old Saturday morning TV show “Stingray.”

Well, with their schedules and only one driver, I need three of me…one for each child and one for myself. We live 20+ miles from their school. Every day is a road trip. Heaven help me when they have sports practices, drama meetings, ASB gatherings and don’t forget Senior Coffeehouse. That is when the seniors and staff get together and “kick it” because after graduation, they are all going their separate ways on to separate lives. We joined a church that we visited for years. It is located 10 miles further away than the school. Now, mix in Easter and Christmas play practices, choir and youth night meetings on top of the school schedule and you have a 50-plus-year-old woman who lives in her new 2007 car that now has 31,000 miles on it.

How do I keep going?

I’m running on love.

Even though it is an extreme amount of running, I wouldn’t change anything (except maybe my address if given the chance). I love being their parent, their mom. And do you know what? They are only children for a little while. So, with God’s help, I’ll run until they are able to do it for themselves. It won’t be long.
(2015–the son is married with a family of his own; the daughter is about to start her last year at the university; I still have the car, 130,000 miles on it.)

Is it Answered Prayer or Satan Posing?

Is it answered prayer or Satan posing as answered prayer? When we pray for the Father to change a situation and people move out of our lives, is that answered prayer? It could be, but don’t get happy right away. It could also be evil posing as answered prayer. Things are going along just fine, then WHAM! Disaster, catastrophe hits and we have to go back to square one.

Here’s another scenario: Prohibition was a great idea, but only as an idea. Women wanted sober companions and fathers for their children. A major problem with prohibition was the crime rate skyrocketed. Prohibition had to be revoked; back to square one.

Wait out your prayer if the answer is not clear. God will make it plain.

In The Middle

I am at that age. The age when we take care of our children and take care of our aging parents. Any age it is a great age, but this one is tough. It is our joyous duty to, as best we can, guide our children through every aspect of their lives by being participates with them. It is also our emotional and physically, but loving task to care for and protect our aging parents, grandparents, and/or guardians. We do the same things for both sets of loved ones; we protect both of them mainly from themselves; we guide and shelter them although they don’t want it; and we love them unconditionally. Maybe that’s the tough part. We have to be disciplinarians for both generations: Take your medicine, wear you coat, you can’t drive at night, you can’t drive any more, stop eating that junk food, don’t use so much salt. Sigh. In the midst of all of that, we are trying to have a life of our own. We still have hopes and dreams that we want to chase while we can. And we have to arranges for sitters for both.

I have to do all of this from afar. The youngest has gone off to college and my parents live 1,800 and 3,000 miles away, respectively. I always wanted to be a jet-setter and now I have a reason.

In my early childhood, we had three generations under one roof. My sibling’s family and our dad live on the East Coast. I and my family live on the West Coast. Our mom lives in the Midwest. I think we messed that “generation under one roof” thing all up.

No Empathy for MEAN PEOPLE

I saw a bumper sticker once that read MEAN PEOPLE SUCK! I agree wholeheartedly. Psychiatrists like to delve into their past to find out what seed produced their anger and bitterness. Who gives a flying fig what it was? Everybody is not responsible for it, so get over it!

The attitudes of mean people keep them in bondage to sickness and mistreatment. And they make the rest of us just want to stomp the snot out of them.

Mean people get a false sense of superiority and power when they spew their verbal venom about. Unfortunately, there are some people who are moved to commit the ultimate retaliation. Mean people believe that everyone else is misusing them. They are the victim in every situation, in their own minds. They are the staple to everyone else’s success, in their own minds. They are constantly spending (or throwing away money to be accepted or liked by others. Maybe that is why they always feel used. If they are not trying to be accepted, then they are trying to rub everyone else’s noses in their own, sometimes, pseudo-poverty.

If my neighbor and I have the same size (and value) house, but he chooses to drive a Korean import and I choose a British luxury car, does that mean my neighbor is poor? Nine times out of ten, it means my neighbor OWNS his car and perhaps his home, and I just have a bunch of bills.
Mean people don’t have to go out of their way to show meanness. They practice it all of the time. They study evil and incorporate it into their daily living.

There is hope for mean people, though. Although some make it hard to believe, meanness is only their second nature. Their first is kindness, purity, and helpfulness and other good characteristics. Every now and then, one or more of these characteristics surfaces. So, we get brief glimpses of the genuine person. That genuine person is being held back/is in captivity. What a shame!

The next time you encounter a mean person, pity them; then stay away from them so you don’t fall into the pitiful pit with them.