gifts and blessings

Modern workplace with gadgets in cozy room with soft light
Photo by Kelly Lacy via Pexels

A chance–I had to take a chance once again, so I readied myself last Friday and put in for transfers to three different departments within our organization. Apprehensive and fearful of what could actually take place, I had to trust the experience. We have lost so many team members to other jobs–places where they can feel *safe* at home while they work–places that enrich their lives as well as allow them to continue to give remarkable care to our patients. I am taking a chance again. Each job is a remote or work-from-home position. One department, two of my former team members have recently made their home, and one (former team member) . . . decided to put in a good word for me with the direct hiring manager.

An email came today. An introduction to who she is and what she does, after I submitted my resume and cover letter at my former team member and friend’s request. We scheduled a phone interview which is for tomorrow at 12:15 pm, US, EDT. I am excited, but I am also scared. I believe it’s a good scared, though. I informed my direct supervisor of my actions as the transfer will include her signing off and approving my actual resignation or notice if I am hired for this position. I am thankful for this gift–this blessing. When you work hard and do the job you’re supposed to do, people recognize it. They put in a “good word” for you. They speak to your strengths and what you can offer that particular company.

I am happy I had someone on the other side vouching for me.

this could be the change
light at the end of tunnels
God’s making a way

He’s Getting Married - No, Not to Me

And, I couldn’t be happier for him

To my surprise, on August 29, 2020, I opened my mailbox to their invitation. One of my exes and his fiancé are marrying soon. I guess I cannot really call it a surprise. I knew I would receive an invitation. He and I spoke about it, but I buried it in the recesses of my mind and sort of forgotten about it, until yesterday. This will not be a belligerent recanting of how I am hurt or upset or even bitter. I am undeniably happy for him and his wife-to-be.

*Jay is a catch. He is a man I would be more than happy to recommend to a woman deserving of him. He’s intelligent, witty, creative, and in touch with his feminine side — he is a listener who heard me every time I had something to say. And if there was action needed for us to work, he stepped into that action. We just did not work, and there are reasons for that — all of them outside of our control.

I think it’s important for couples in intimate relationships to recognize when the spark disappears and is no longer attainable to move on from one another in that realm. Jay and I stayed friends — good friends, the kind that check up on each other and have lunch or dinner with each other when he is in town. We had/have so much in common, and that remains. But, I knew, years ago, I did not want marriage. And even if we had made it as a couple, I doubt, if he proposed to me — I would have said “Yes.”

Learning of this significant news caught me off guard. I’d sent him a text message one evening, as I am apt to do from time to time and we sort of fell into a discussion about life and he later said, “Hey! Did I tell you I am getting married?!” To which I replied, “You most certainly did not!”

I wish I could describe the overwhelming feeling of elation to you in my response. I want this for him. I have always wanted him to find happiness and whatever he believes that to be — it is my hope it manifests.


I gazed at the invitation for a long time. I looked at him and his beautiful wife-to-be and smiled. I shook my head in disbelief — this is happening! Jay is getting married. And I smiled again. The background image is of the two of them, standing in a record store, holding up an album, and on it are their names imprinted announcing the date. I thought to myself, “This must have been his idea.” We both love music and it is one of the first things that connected us to each other.

Now, this woman, this beautiful person he found to spend the rest of his life with, will get to enjoy his talents and all of whom he is.

They prepared for the times in which we live. Because of the global pandemic, the number of people who can physically attend is limited, however, they will stream it live. I will be in attendance from the comfort of my home. I will also send them a gift. I am more than happy to share in his joy in this capacity.

I wanted him to know I received their invitation. I sent him a text message that read: “My invitation came! Thank you! It’s beautiful and I’ll be in attendance from the comfort of my home. I’m so happy for you!” Knowing him as I do, I knew he’d respond within moments — that’s just him. And he did with, “Lol. Ok. Cool. Glad you got it. Did you have any questions about the live stream? And thank you!!”

When I think about who he truly is and who I truly am, we couldn’t last — not on that level, but as friends? There is a beauty to who we are as friends that needs no explanation. I love him and want only the best for him. I have watched his siblings grow up, begin their own families, move away to cultivate and enrich their lives, and I now know he is doing the same.


Four years ago, I may not have been as equipped to feel this way for him — to want him to find true happiness outside of being with me. I held on to some emotions that needed releasing and extracting from my system decades before, but this is what aging does — this is what growth does — it allows you to reflect on what you need to change deep within you and put it into action.

Because of this, I can tell you with no doubt, I am happy, truly happy for this man I once loved intimately and passionately to begin his life anew with his wife-to-be. I wish them wedded bliss–and anyone with evil intentions cannot harm or touch it. And should they want children, that they are happy, healthy, and equal parts of both of them.

He’s getting married and everything in me shouts in elation. And nothing else.


*Not his real name.

My Coworker Wrote a Letter for Me

And I didn’t know I needed it

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood via Pexels

It isn’t often I get letters from people I care about and love, so when my coworker told me she’d written a letter for me, my heart lit up. She was self-conscious about letting me read it, reminding me I write and how it wasn’t written in a way I’m used to reading, but I had to tell her, “Don’t worry about that. This is from your heart. I will be happy just to receive it.”

And, I was. There is nothing that can hold a candle to someone sharing their heart with you — their overall concern for who you are and what you do. And to take it a step further — how you make them feel as a human being sharing this earth with them.

My coworker was vulnerable in this letter — baring all and making it known just how much she appreciates me. She let me know what she sees in me and how she has noticed my stumbles at work. They do not overshadow my strengths.

I see the love you have for Jehovah in your life and I deeply respect that about you. Also, I admire the compassion for people and your desire to be a force for change.

I know who I am

I do not question who I am and what I do or how I do it. But, at work, I am questioning how long I can do what I do and how I do it. I am drained and every part of me loud enough for anyone to hear is silencing itself. I used to say, “I am a people person,” but of late, this is running away from me. I am sick and tired of most people.

People are work — hard work, and there’s so much about us as a collective with which I am extremely exhausted from facing. The selfishness in the hard hearts of a few beings I encounter every week puts a foul taste in my mouth. It makes me not want to be in a position so closely connected to human beings.

Because of your compassion for people, you carry the burden along with love for the right thing.

I want so much for us as inhabitants of this world

I have it in my head that I can help change the hearts of my fellow brothers, sisters, and occupants of this world, but I am tasked with first knowing they must want to change. The depths of my soul yearn for us to be more loving, understanding, willing to work with each other for the overall betterment of this world, and to respect one another.

I feel defeated when I come across someone who flat out couldn’t care less about being a responsible member of humanity. The weight of it sits on my shoulders, seeps into my system, and layers itself into the recesses of my brain. Sometimes, I get physically ill from this.

My thought process is this: during a global pandemic, one should be willing to do what needs to be done in order to protect everyone. Many do not think this way.

I take more days off — especially mental health days because a large part of me recognizes coping with my job is much harder and there is no end in sight. It will not get any easier. The more I do what I do full-time, the more I wish to end this level of activity in healthcare.

These are stressful times, so we need to be there for each other no matter when or what.

A simple deed reminded me of the goodness in others

What this letter did for me is remind me I am not alone. My team — my friends see me and they know my worth. They acknowledge my struggles and are in tune with why those struggles occur. They care about my well-being and want to help make sure my sanity remains intact. They are sounding boards who will prepare a space for me, hold it, and allow me room to move in that space however I see fit.

You have become dear to me, and I need you to know you are a strong, kind, and caring person.

A letter showed me this: although my days are full of exhausting interactions with some of our nation’s most selfish beings, my efforts in dealing with them are not in vain. Someone sees how hard I am trying — how hard I have tried. And she took the time to put it in writing.

If you’re wondering how impactful your words can be for someone else; I’ll be the first to tell you, they can build you up when you have been torn down.

I needed this. I didn’t know it.


Originally published in C.R.Y. via Medium.

pause–a reflective poem

 

I won’t change.
I won’t change.

I’ll stand here waiting,
p  a  u  s  e   d
in a hopeful position

waiting
for you.

I haven’t forgotten.
I haven’t forgotten.

I won’t forget who
you were to me
and what you’ve been through.

Take my heart.
Take my words with you.

I have more.
I have more.

And Then, Death Comes

Pixabay

And we watch it as it leaves

As much as I believe I am prepared for death, I never am. I could have a head-start, running miles around it — fearless of losing, but — in rare and unadulterated form, it proves to me, I don’t know what I’m doing. I spent the last three months with my friend of twenty years, waiting while his father was dying. This, a man who has fought various forms of cancer and survived, had now succumbed to prostate cancer. My friend — the loving, kind, generous, and soft-spoken man he is — is calm. This is something for which he’s been waiting.

Waiting . . .
Waiting . . .

I’ve found myself grieving with him on so many levels, but I know my pain cannot match his. I knew his father from afar — applauded his love for his son and looked up to a man who had an undying passion and loyalty to his wife before she passed away. My friend, now a parentless child — has buried both of his parents within a few years. I asked him the other day, “Have you cried?” There was a pause — a few moments passed for the air to settle in the question and he said, “Not yet. It’s strange. I feel so calm.”

I find myself praying for his storm, that it doesn’t come when he doesn’t have the time to sit through it — to get wet from the downpour. But when you’ve waited and waited and waited for a death predicted to come sooner than it did, maybe there’s no storm? Maybe the storm was in the waiting.

“It’s strange, I feel so calm.”

He is a one-man show, my friend. He handled everything effortlessly, even communicating with his job about the leave he’d need to take and why. He found himself swatting down a few family members who want to tell him what to do, yet, they had no earthly idea of what he’d have to do — the pressure of it all, the pain. I can only be his sounding board. I have listened willingly.

We have waited for death and when he communicated his father’s passing to me, I still felt the ache — I still flinched from the pain. I wasn’t ready. He wasn’t either.


My mother’s childhood friend died on the morning of Friday, July 31, 2020, a few days after my friend’s father’s death. I was driving and called her to share how my dog’s vet visit went after not being able to take her this past April due to the Coronavirus, COVID-19 pandemic. I had good news and she had bad news. At sixty-three, just four years older than my mother, her childhood friend died from the very thing we’ve been combating for nearly five months. She worked in a nursing home and contracted it from someone there.

She knew of the torture — how this strong and healthy woman failed over a short span of time, and she cried in a way I had not heard her do in what feels like years. “I’m glad I saw her when I did — glad I got the chance to see her smiling and happy before all of this.”

I mentioned I was driving — thankful for the Bluetooth syncing, I acknowledged the fact that I was going to need a moment. This was a woman whose mother kept me when I was young. I spent many days parading around Frazier Homes in Savannah, GA with my friends — her nieces and nephews — her family. I shook my head in disbelief. This is close to home, again. This is so close to home and as much as I wanted to listen to my mother as she cried about the loss of her friend, I didn’t want it to be true.

Had she told me of this a few months ago and it was some other God-awful way of dying, I would have found a way to soldier on through the drive, but an overpowering ache of sadness consumed me. Death doesn’t give us a time or date. It doesn’t make itself known in fancy little dresses or frilly patterns. It swoops in, ready to consume every fiber of our being and if we are not able to sustain throughout its reign, we will falter.

“I’m glad I saw her when I did — glad I got the chance to see her smiling and happy before all of this.”

My childhood friend, my mother’s childhood friend’s niece was who I needed to contact. We never have been the “sit-on-the-phone-and-talk” kind of friends, but we text each other regularly, making sure we’re both still braving this thing called life. I sent a text message to her, then I called before the weekend disappeared. I had to. It wouldn’t have felt right if I didn’t, not within me. I had to hear her voice, if only for her to say, “Girl, I can’t believe it” as I’ve read many times about those we know and have lost.

I had to leave a message.

I hate those text messages that come a few days before the phone call, but sometimes, as I am learning, they’re actually preferred. My friend’s response to the text message, “Girl, it’s all just too much right now. I love you” hit me in the gut. “It’s all just too much right now.” Her family is a tower. I told her this. I have never seen a more close-knit family ever in my life and they will all get together and whoop someone’s ass if they needed to. I was happy to have grown up around such strength, loyalty, and camaraderie — especially in the face of evil.

My mother’s side of the family is like this as well, but aside from her mother and sister and a few of my cousins, I didn’t spend much time around them. Something about not wanting us to see too much violence, but for various other reasons, we still witnessed it within and outside our home.


I know of death. I smell its stench whenever it is near. I know of the way it sneaks in greedily and eager to devour the souls of the dying. I sat with it as I watched my great-grandmother lose her mind, then her life. All the waiting, all the preparing and getting things “just right” are not enough for you to be ready when you need to be.

Death comes and the only thing you can do is watch it when it leaves.


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