That I Might Have Life

I know a woman, who suffered unspeakable brutality,

in a time when women were but chattel,

at the hands of one who took an oath before God to love, protect and cherish her.

I know a woman, who suffered in silence,

Momma 3 LR

the indignities caused by a philandering husband

who chose to flaunt rather than hide his indiscretions with different women,

I know a woman who raised five children

all alone

on an income of less than $7000 a year.

I know a woman, who worked three jobs at a time,

who slept on the front porch so her boys and girls could have the two bedrooms.

I know a woman who had a heart large enough to embrace

two more motherless children

when she did not know how she was going to feed her own.

How many of your dreams died daily?

How did you endure the loneliness when it came late at night?

How many times was your hope scattered as disappointment came?

How many prayers did you offer up that seemingly went unanswered?

Where was your peace?

Where was your piece of the American Dream?

I cannot count the cost of my high school graduation party

or my prom dress.

How many shirts and pants did you have to iron?

How many tubes of lipstick did you sell?

How many bottoms did you have to wipe?

For me.

For me.

How do I begin to count the cost of your sacrifice

that I might have life?

How do I begin to say thank you?

Will words do?

For you.

For you.

Momma 2 LR

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Baby Steps

If you’re not careful the evils associated with depression can sneak into your life unaware and wreck unimaginable chaos in a life you thought was in order.  Most of us do not have the luxury of sitting down while the storm passes.  Most of us have to walk through the madness without the benefit of taking to our beds with pills or alcohol.  Most of us have to take whatever baby steps we can conceive to cross over into the land of sanity to arrive at a point in our lives where we can once again be productive; where we can find the simplicity of joys in a good meal or the smile of a child or languishing in a bathtub of bubbles.

I am one of those “most of us” of whom I speak.

I can not pinpoint the date or time this evilness crept into my life…I know it was a deceptively crafted plot that I did not or could not identify as it snaked it’s way into my life.  I look back and I see the signs that should have told me but I thought it was simply a momentary lapse into the rest to which I thought I was entitled to as a reformed workaholic. More of the time my Lord has given me in these last couple of years that I care to admit, even to myself, I have been walking in a cloud of this evilness called depression.

I watched myself separate from friends and family.  I heard myself snap at cashiers.  I would sit as a vegetable in front of the TV (something I have always avoided). I prayed that my phone would not ring with one more person asking me to do something for them.  Cigarettes became a good friend and baby steps proved to be a slow laborious process, a daily struggle to maintain, to accomplish even the most mundane of tasks.  I loathe this state of mine for I have always viewed myself as a positive and productive person. I will myself to take steps to emerge from this pathetic destructive state of inertia…even though they are only baby steps, each minor tasks I do, I count as a victory against the evil.

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I tell myself I will emerge from this cocoon as a beautiful butterfly.  I will concentrate on those things which I remember as peaceful and calming. Those things that in the past could make me smile; my bible, my photography, texts from a sweetheart, swimming, conversations with Jordan and laughing at my sweet little grandchild.  These are my baby steps. I will use these baby steps to come back from this abyss. This blog that I have neglected… this, my first post in over a year, I claim as another one of my baby steps. With the help of God, I will continue to add more baby steps each day until I can take giant steps, and then, I shall run.  I am a kept woman.

I Love the Way You Love Me

Love has no color and it does not respect age; this I know, because my best buddy is a little fireball of a white child named Emma Lee.  She’s eight years old now but we’ve been best buddies since she was two.  No other love can compete with the love of a child.

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If I leave this place and return to Atlanta, it will be because God honored the prayers of Ms. Emma Lee.  Every day this little girl prays that her Grandma or Daddy will hit the lotto so she can buy me a house to return to her.  She’s so bossy she just might convince God to do things her way.

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I have been calling this child “Ms. Emma Lee” since I met her at her Grandmother’s yard sale six years ago when she was two years old.  Now just about everyone else calls her that too, even her teacher at school.

Ms. Emma Lee has never understood that she is a child, she came into the world grown.   When I met her, this two-year old little bundle of energy was riding her tricycle, bossing around her older cousins, five Jack Russell terriers and negotiating the price of the items on display at the yard sale.  She was so cute, with her curly hair framing her face, ponytail swinging back and forth, country accent, and total command of the English language.  I believe I was so drawn to her because she was so like my daughter Shellis at that age.  (I called my child Ms. Ann and had to constantly remind her she was child, too.)

Give me a precocious child and I immediate go into a teaching mode.  Their minds are razor-sharp.  It’s like programming a computer.  I try to input as much good information as I can into them.  They can absorb it, they feed on information, they live to learn and I know that if I engage them at that age, I can plant good seed in good ground.  I love it.

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So I waited for Ms. Emma Lee to turn her attention to me.  I didn’t have to wait too long.  I knew that spending time with her Grandmother was motivation for her to come over and participate ( by this I mean “take over”) in our conversation.  Once we locked horns that day, and Ms. Emma Lee recognized that I was a tree that she either had to cut down or climb to move, she and I became best buddies, we were inseparable up until the day I moved away.

A motherless child, with unlimited energy living with her grandmother and ailing father can take over a home unless definitive limits are established and rules respected and implemented.  Ms. Emma Lee knew no limitations.

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When someone enters my life, I know there’s a reason, a purpose that God intends for me to fulfill.  My job as I perceived it was to prepare her for the real world were children knew how to be a child. To channel her energy and engage her mind with practical and constructive things that would not only occupy her time but give her life skills that would come in handy as time went by.   Our time together was always a learning and training experience that I would masquerade as fun.  By my calculations, I had three years to do this before she entered public school.  If not, Ms. Emma Lee would be teaching the class with the teacher standing on the side lines wondering how this happened.  Ms. Emma Lee was just that smart.

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Baking cakes and cookies was a way to learn patience and cleanliness; arithmetic and time management.  Operating a camera, she learned to respect the property of others, to view the world around her in a different light; to observe the changes in the seasons, the moon and the stars, and identify different animals and insects.

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At my house, she learned there was a place for her toys, books and games.  She learned that she alone would have to clean up after herself.  A trip to the play area in the mall was exciting for Ms. Emma Lee.  She loved children, especially babies.  I would watch as she learned to wait patiently for another to take their turn on the rides.  She would run back to me when things did not go her way on the playground and another opportunity to learn a life lessons presented itself.

In return, Ms. Emma Lee gives me the kind of love that only a child can give.  Unconditional..we love each other because we do.  Simply, easily, beyond color, beyond age, just because.


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We are best buddies.  Ask her who her best buddy is.  She’ll tell you.  Now, six years later, we write to and telephone each other.  When I go back to Atlanta we have an opportunity to be together, it’s a time of sharing and caring, laughing and hugging.

The harmony of life is made up of the memories. we hold dear.  Ms Emma Lee and I have many memorable moments together.  Our lives are intrinsically bound together.  She can not past my former home unless the memories of our time together replay in her mind.  I can not hear country music without recalling that country accent of a little white girl.

Our favorite song is a country tune by John Michael Montgomery.

You should see us together; a black woman and a white child, two peas in a pod singing his song to each other, at the top of our lungs.

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“I Love the Way You Love Me”. 

 …so completely.




When I lose, I win

I use to be very good at the game of chess.  Winning came naturally.  I did not play chess competitively.  It was a game.  It was fun.  Many would come to play with me.

One day, my cousin brought some friends to my house, to play chess with me.  I beat three of his friends, than I lost to one of them.   He became the crown prince of chess…it was as if he had won the Super Bowl.  Twenty years later, whenever I am in the presence of these gentlemen…they relieve the experience over again…the day Nate beat me in chess.  They laugh…they taunt me…they slap each other on the back…they toast the victor.

Since that day, I refuse to play chess with a man.  It is no longer fun.  It becomes a game of competition that I refuse to compete in.

I am a woman.  I like being a woman.  I love that God has created a man and a woman differently.  I find the differences in the genders fascinating.  I love men simply for who they are. I enjoy them. I want them to enjoy me. I want to be loved for who and what I am.

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I am not in competition with them.  I will never be.  If ego requires they win. They can win.  I don’t mind losing to them; for in losing I win.  I retain me.  The good part of me.   The feminine part of me.  The part of me I like.  The part of me that God made as a compliment for them.

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Life and chess can be similar with the objective being to place the King in a position of powerlessness.  I don’t want to play that game.  There will be no competition.  I need my King to be powerful.  I will use my talent to make him strong or I won’t play.

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I was not created to compete with men; I was made to compliment them.

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We are different.  I like the difference however, do not require me to become less of a woman so you can win.

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I won’t play that game.

Ever again.

When I lose, I win. When I win…you win too.

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Behind every good man; there’s a good woman.  A woman.  Not a competitor.

Different with a Purpose

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people;
that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;

1 Peter 2:9

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I live in a city where people are suspicious of those who are different.

It is churched people that I speak of.

But as a child of God; am I not called to be different?

I declare – for He declares that I am.

I stand as a peculiar person to many.

Proudly.  Gladly.

Peculiar means atypical; uncharacteristic; strange; even weird.

However I am different with a purpose.

The purpose is to call attention to He

whom has brought me from darkness into His light.

I may not do or say the things that make you comfortable.

Did Jesus?

I may not do or say things that ring familiar to you.

Did Paul the Apostle?

He who called me also said “Try the spirit” ….

Use the formula He has given in His word.

Mary, the mother of Christ dared to be different;

in spite of ridicule

and changed the whole world.

Rehab, a harlot, defied a king and saved a nation.

Rebecca and Ruth left all that was familiar

and married into wealth.

Believing is different but with purpose.

I can promise you the end result of

different with a purpose will be love.

For God is Love.

If you need different in your life try God and live with purpose.

I am different.  Glady.  With purpose…

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That purpose is love.

Christmas – A Legacy of Love

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Remember our Christmas brunch at my house?  Andre and I prepared a full course breakfast and served you.  We stood in a circle and held hands.

We made a birthday cake for Jesus and spoke of our blessings remembering the reason for the season. I found gifts at the dollar store and wrapped them so pretty so that of those who had graced our home, none would leave empty-handed.

The eldest among us, would bestow blessings upon us.

We always had the most beautiful Christmas tree, whether we spray painted pine cones or bought ornaments at the store.

One year, Son Son and I stapled lights to a cross we had made of 4 ft boards and erected it in the front yard to remind those passing by that we were a family that observed God’s gift to the world.

Life has driven our family to different parts of the world but it does not alter the legacy of love we have been given.

Wherever we are, among family or friends, alone or together, we are made greater by the memories of love we have shared.

Hold them in your heart.  Never let them go.

Pass it on.

Never forget who you are and of whom you are.

My daughter, my son…you have been given a legacy of love.

Pass it on.

Lovers of the God We Serve.


Of all my accomplishments my greatest by far, is being mother of two very different but amazing children.  It is both a joy and a privilege to answer the phone and one of the two is on the other end.

My daughter is vibrant and colorful. She fills a room with her personality.  Her conversation is stimulating and diverse.  She is also serious, business minded and opinionated.  She is caring and kind insightful, and discerning.  I can never close a conversation with her without reflecting on a poignant thought she has shared on whatever subject we discuss.  I can never anticipate what the conversation will be about when she calls or what direction it might take but I know that it will always end in prayer.

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My son is and always has been a barometer for me; not as a measurement of atmospheric pressure but of life.  As a child, his interests varied, daily.  He would wake with a smile ready to explore the possibilities of the day.  His excitement was contagious and through his eyes, I rediscovered the joy of life’s simplicity. It was innocent and sweet and perfect.  And I so wanted to protect this beautiful part of him.  But life has a way of eroding the simple heart of a child although it is our most precious commodity.

So I watched him grow into the man he has become and I am so proud.  He has allowed me to, not only witness his evolution, but share it with me; am I not the most blessed of woman?

His conversation has changed over the years as he continues to explore life but his character remains intact.  He is easy-going and laid back, introspective and intelligent.  He too is business minded with excellent reasoning powers. He walks as a man among men.  Not arrogantly but with a certain confidence that I have always known to be born of the spirit of God.

This is our conversation now, his discovery of the God in him.

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There is no greater joy for a mother than to witness her children become lovers of the God we serve.

And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children.

Isaiah 54:13

For Pillow

A woman will relinquish her power for intimacy;

When the intimacy is withheld

She reclaims her power

Given a choice, 

She would rather have intimacy

I  MISS MY PILLOW

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I Need a Helping Hand

 
Wherefore also we pray always for you,
that our God would count you worthy of this calling,
and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness,
and the work of faith with power:
That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you,
and ye in him,
according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
 
2 Thessalonians 1 11-12

 

Who among us is worthy?

Are we not all sinners but for the grace of God?

Do we not all hold on to our little secret desires and fleshly wants?

If we are sinners, if we are covetous, tell “small lies”, occasionally utter a curse word, manipulate others, and speak of the faults of our neighbors; who is worthy of the calling of God?

Who among us is capable of fulfilling the pleasure of His goodness?

Not me.

Not me; but for His grace.

Through faith I receive His power to accomplish His work.

Through faith, with grace, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ

I pray that God may be glorified in me.

But I need your prayers.

Always.

I need a helping hand.

Pray for me.

Always.

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Reconnect to the Source

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I am a fixer.  I fix things and I fix people.  I am the one that finds solutions to problems so that others don’t have to.

A fixer is a caretaker.  We care for and fix things for everyone in our circle of influence.  We are the ones that are up at 2 and 3 in the morning interceding for others.  We are the ones that get out of bed at 1 am to go the hospitals. We fix the meals for the homeless.  We take care of men, children, dogs, cats, fish, birds and turtles.  We are servants.

Who fixes the fixer when the fixer is broken?  When there are too many things that need fixing that all the fixing that needs to be fixed cannot be fixed by the fixer.

Short answer?  Christ.

No brainer right?

That’s who I have relied on in the past and whom I must turn to now to fix me so that I can continue to be the fixer of people and things. I know this both in my head and more importantly in my heart.  I have lived my life running to Jesus.

I am a single parent, Christ was all I had.  Christ was sufficient for me.  Yet when I needed to feel the physical representation of Christ, I would reach for the hand of my precious young son.  Holding his hand for a moment rejuvenated and strengthened me.  I knew I could not fail in whatever endeavor I had to face.  I would succeed.  When I needed prayer, I would solicit the pure innocent prayers of my young daughter.  I knew that even if Christ would not respond to my petitions, we would honor the simple petitions of a child.

My children are grown now; they live their own lives far from me.  This is how it should be.   They are good people.  I am blessed.

Yet, as a fixer, a caretaker, there are times when I feel separated from Christ as I do right now.  Overwhelmed, alone, and empty.  It seems that I have nothing left to give because I am an empty vessel.   Who will pray for me?  Who will hold my hand?

When my system of support is removed for whatever reason;  I have to find a way to reconnect.

I must do this quickly.

For me to live independent of Christ is to invite disaster.  It means that the problems that I can fix through Christ cannot be fixed through me.  It means that the burdens of others Christ holds me responsible for and those of my own, I am left to carry on my own slender shoulders.

I cannot.   I was not meant to.  I was created for relationship with Christ.

I of myself am nothing.  I of myself can do nothing.

I must reconnect to the source.  By any means necessary, I must reestablish my relationship with my source. Whether or not any one else is here to stand with or for me, I must reconnect to the source.

My source is Christ.

Help me Lord.

 

Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
 But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
Psalms 1  1:3

A Gift

Did I tell you I am the most blessed of women? 

Believe it.

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I am excited about the newness of this day. 

It’s better than opening a Christmas present. 

I don’t know what the day will bring…

what I know and therein lays my joy….

is that it is a gift. 

What I know and herein lies my joy…

is that only someone who cares for me…

will present me with a gift.

Who gives the gift of this day?

Someone who loves me.

Thank you Jesus!!!!!

Because I am Chosen I can Promise You This

The first scripture I ever received from the Lord many many years ago was John 15:16

Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you,

that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain:

that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

One special morning I was lovingly wakened with the words “John 15: 16” playing over and over in my head like a broken record.  I immediately grabbed my bible to find out what accompanying scripture this was.  I wanted to receive the message God was sending me. When I read those wonderful words. I was so excited to know I was chosen of God.  I had no clue what it meant to be chosen until I read the next verse.  It was then I realized that there was a tremendous responsibility in being chosen.

These things I command you,

that ye love one another.

I am chosen for one reason only; To Love You.  Please don’t make my job more difficult than it is.

But just so you know, I’m asking the Father to pollinate the seeds of love that I plant in you, that you might trust the spirit within me, that you will trust my motives, that you receive the gift that I bring, that you will recognize that what I bring is good and that this good gift will bring you joy, and that you too share that which you have been given.

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Listen to my heart as it speaks to you my child.  I am chosen to love you and my love for you will never deceive you.

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I PROMISE.

From my heart to yours,

Mother

A Fallen Star and a Kiss From God

A star fell today.  The light that was called Pam no longer burns bright to bring life here on earth.  After the initial shock of her unexpected death, I had a choice to make.  I could wallow in my grief or I could dance in the glow of her lingering spirit.  I choose to dance.  DSC_0010

May we never forget how short the time we have been given is.  May we find joy in the simply things life has to offer;  like another star that shines, and presents itself so unexpectedly,  so simply, so sweetly and in his presence, in the brightness of his light, you can let go. You can laugh,  because nothing is required of you.  You can enter into His rest.  If only for a minute, you can simply live in the present and enjoy the moment that is.  It is a kiss from God.

Life is not always easy.  However, it can be joyous when we delight in the little kisses that God sends our way.  As we grow in Christ, reading His word, studying to show ourselves approved, rightly dividing the word of truth, worshiping in spirit and in truth, praying for guidance, praying for our families and friends, we develop a total dependency of Christ as our sole source for direction and provision. We embrace the fact that only He can bring healing to a hurting heart.

When we reach the point in our spiritual progression that we know Jesus really loves us, that He is concerned with every aspect of our lives; when we reach the point in our spiritual progression that we know Jesus will perfect the things that concern us, we can let go of all of our cares and rest in Him.

We have the blessed assurance that He is at work in us and for us.  Even in the darkness of death, He can make the light shine.

Our ability to enter into His rest is directly proportionate to our ability to believe His word.   As we utilize the word of God to navigate life, we gain victory over our circumstances.

God has given you many special gifts DL;  thank you for sharing your gift of laughter, my little kiss from God.  In your light the sting of death could not harm me.

1 Corinthians 15:54-55

So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.  O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

Hebrews 4:8-10

There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.

That’s Love

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Love comes in many forms and through many sources.  You can’t always recognize it until you step back and look at your life.  I remember something about love.

God and I would meet each morning on the front porch after Momma went to work. He watched while I played with the only doll I had.  When God wasn’t around, my big brother was.  Butchy was my big brother.  Five years older than me, Butchy was my hero and he was my first love.    After God.

Butchy and his friends all hung out in front of the old raggedy house we lived in when I was four years old.  The grass that was supposed to be in the front yard had been worn into a dusty baseball diamond by Butchy and his friends.  Home plate was right at our front door.  They used cinder blocks from the dilapidated vacant house down the street that they had pilfered for the bases.

Each day, beginning with the first day of the summer, they would play for hours and hours from first light until the street lights came on.  They had nick names like Mantle, Robinson, and Pepitone.  They were serious about baseball.  The games were loud and for a little girl watching from the porch, very exciting. All these big guys, every size and color, nine, ten and eleven years old, sweating, cursing and spitting, sliding into base, slapping their baseball glove with balled fists, and hitting home runs in our front yard.  It was the most exciting thing in my whole young life.

I wanted to play.  I wanted to wear a baseball cap and run around the bases.  But I was a girl and girls were not allowed.  It was the rule.  Each day I watched the games from our porch. Me and God and Dolly.  I knew all the players both by name and nick name.  I knew the positions they liked to play and their particular stance and baseball idiosyncrasies.   Butchy always chewed gum.   He batted left-handed and always spit out of the right side of his mouth while hitting his left foot with the end of the bat before he settled into position to hit the ball.  For some reason, Billy Nelson, would always stretch open his mouth into a wide side like yawn before he would pitch.  The guys would tease him about catching flies with his mouth.  David kept his left gloved hand behind his back.  He played left field, bending over from the waist, his right arm rested on his right knee.  He never smiled.  Dave played shirtless each day.  From the waist up, that skinny white boy was the same color as Butchy, but he had a blond crew cut and blue eyes.

One day, one very special day, my big brother, called a time out in the ninth inning.  Butchy called me to the plate, and put the bat in my hand.  With his big hands over mine, Butchy moved my hands into place on the bat and showed me where and how to stand at home plate.  Once he was comfortable with how I was positioned, he removed his navy blue baseball cap with the white letters from his head and placed it on my head.

“Okay Billy,” he said, “Roll the ball on the ground so my sister can hit the ball.“

God said, “That’s love. “

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Look for Him in the simplicity of life. He is there, He is waiting for you.  Look for love and you will see Him.  You will know truth.  You will experience love.

 

It takes the God kind of love

           One winter day in the early morning hours when darkness surrenders to light, the demon of bi-polar disease came and stole the gift of life that was my sister. My sister died alone, sitting on the edge of a dirty old mattress, riddled with cigarette holes, in the oldest house on the block, down the street and around the corner from mommy’s house. “Maybe,” they said, “She had been dead a week before she was found.”

           Old and ugly, decrepit and scaring looking, the house is still there, my sister is not.  But if you had walked by it last summer, you would have caught a glimpse of who my sister was.  In the front yard, growing around an old rusty light post whose light has long ago ceased to shine, bloomed big beautiful star-shaped white flowers attached to a chaotic arrangement of green vines. The vine of flowers was breathtakingly beautiful.  My sister told me it was a clematis vine.  My sister planted it.  My sister said that a clematis vine is the most aristocratic of all flowers. She said with all its queenly beauty, the clematis vine is very delicate. She said a clematis vine has to have support to bloom and grow properly, or it will die.

          If you walked past the oldest house on the block with the breathtakingly beautiful clematis vine, last summer and the window was open in the living room you would have seen the delicate white lace curtains my sister had hung, seductively dancing in the gently breeze. You would have heard the sweet melodic yet melancholy sounds of my sister’s flute.  You might have stopped to listen. Many often did.  My sister played so well.  You would have felt something pure and good, rich, and beautiful stir your soul. The music might invoke a sense of sadness but you would have left with a good feeling too, because each note resonated beautifully from the depth of her heart.
I loved her.  It was not easy.

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             I miss her more now than I missed her when she was living even though we lived over eight hundred miles apart.  That’s the kind of distance I thought I needed to continue to love her. That’s the deception of bi-polar disease. In order to continue to love someone you believe you have to put distance between you. Either that or you must have an extraordinary amount of the God kind of love inside of you.

             If my sister were alive, I would wash and comb her hair again.  I did that the last time I saw her, a year ago.  I wanted to do it.  I braided it too.  It needed to be combed and braided. Her hair stopped being a priority many years ago so it always looked like that.  It was matted and pressed to her head on the side she slept on.

              I would bathe her, if she were alive.  I did that the last time I saw her.  She let me bathe her.  She didn’t let me touch her very often.  Sometimes touching made her mad.  I didn’t want to touch her very often.  It made me mad. I didn’t want to be around her very often.  She made me mad.  But the last time I saw her, I wanted to bathe her.  I wanted to clean that nasty rusty bathtub and fill it with clean fresh water.  I knelt on the black tile that was supposed to be white and washed her back.  I rubbed lotion all over the rubbery skin that clung to her frail thin body.  I put baby powder on her and a little perfume too.   I did that, the last time I saw her.  I slipped a clean fresh cotton gown over her head and gently bent her frail little arms to help her get the gown on.  I did that the last time I saw her.   I touched her face.  I looked into her eyes.   She looked into mine.  There were no words spoken, none that you could hear.  I loved my sister and she loved me.  It was not easy for either of us, without God.

           The last time I saw her, I packed up thirty-eight large trash bags of dirty filthy clothing that had accumulated in that old house and Son and I threw them in the trash. I threw out bottles too numerous to count that was once filled with alcohol. I turned over the filthy sheet less mattress she slept on, the last time I saw her.  I saw that her cigarettes had burned clear through to the other side but I didn’t tell her not to smoke in bed.  I put the clean fresh sheets that Mommy had bought for her on the bed.  I sprinkled baby powder on the sheets and I told my sister to lie down now and get some rest.  She let her big sister boss her around, the last time I saw her.  I pulled the covers up and tucked them up under her chin.  I kissed her and I told her I loved her.  She let me.
I went into the filthy kitchen and tried to figure out where to begin to clean.  I rattled some of the dishes in the overcrowded sink.  I needed to remove the dishes and clean the sink before I could begin to wash the dishes.  I had brought Lysol and bleach, baking powder and Greased Lightning, so I could clean that old house, the last time I saw her.

            “You’re making me nervous,” I heard my sister call out from the bedroom.  Her voice was low and sweet sounding. This time.  Kind of rhythmical, sing songie, like.  I never heard her talk like that before.
“I’m just gonna clean your kitchen, then I’ll head back to Mommy’s,” I called back to her.

            When she replied, in that sing song like voice, “You’re making me nervous”, the second time, I froze for a second, my soapy hands suspended in time, over the sink. Fear crept up and down my spine. Recovering, I tilted my head to the side to listen for the muffled sound of footsteps, scurrying across the hardwood floors coming from the direction of the bedroom, sounds that would signal danger. The last time I heard the sound of footsteps sliding across hardwood floors, my sister tried to push me down a flight of stairs. Hearing none, I quickly dried my hands on my jeans and grabbed my purse from the doorknob where I had hung it when I first got there and I left my sister all alone.

             Therein lays the deception about bi-polar disease.  You hear the things that are not spoken, or things spoken but might not mean what you think it means. You learn to hear and interpret what is really being said. You learn or you might get hurt.  You learn to listen to the sounds and interpret the movements.  I heard my sister the last time I saw her. In that sing song like voice, she told me she loved me but she might hurt me.  She told me she didn’t want to; but she might. In that sing song like voice, she loved me enough to warn me. That’s the God kind of love.

          We did not understand the forces that would cause a beautiful intelligent talented woman to walk naked down a darken street.  We did not understand the forces that made her rant and rave one minute then cry uncontrollably, with such a heart wrenching sorrowful wail the next.  Bi-polar was two opposites fighting against each other, in thought and behavior, within the frailness of my sister’s body.  This disease progressively wreaked such havoc on her thinking process that alcohol was the only medication she believed would weaken the process and bring a form of stability to a mind that would not keep still.  Not meant to be a cure-all, alcohol, overtime, too, deceived her and eventually, eroded her liver.  My sister died alone.

          We did not understand what she tried to make us understand because her actions so often offended and assaulted every sensibility that we possessed.  She stopped trying to tell us.  When communication failed, she went away from us to her own little hole, a place where she could go and lick her wounds and not embarrass us anymore. My sister retreated to the oldest house on the block, down the street and around the corner from mommy’s house. There she planted, around an old rusty light post whose light had long ago ceased to shine, a chaotic arrangement of green vines that brought forth big beautiful star-shaped white flowers. She retreated to the only place she could freely communicate the vestige of her heart through her music.  She loved us when she was unlovable.  She loved us when we were unlovable. That’s why she went away. To the oldest house on the block. She played the flute and planted a clematis vine. She never asked for anything more. She died alone.

          I loved my sister and I miss her.  Like the clematis vine, she was beautiful and delicate. Like the clematis vine, without support, its pattern of growth is chaotic. My sister needed my support to live. But it takes the God kind of love to love someone unlovable. I wish I could have had that extraordinary amount of the God kind of love inside of me that I could summon up when I needed to, when she needed me to.

           I finally cleaned her house but she was no longer there.  I wanted to do it.  I wanted to do it alone.  I brought Lysol and bleach, baking powder and Greased Lightning. I opened her closet. Unlike the madness evidenced in every room in her house, the clothes in her closet, were arranged neatly and orderly by color. That’s the deception of bi-polar disease.  If only we could have seen behind the closet of her mind, beyond the chaos of her actions; we could have seen the order that was there to see. But, it takes the God kind of love.

         Among the dirty filthy clothing that once again had accumulated on the floor in her bedroom, I found a reminder of who she once was. I found her gold charm bracelet with a solitary little gold heart with her initials and her birthday inscribed thereon. It dangles from my wrist now. I never take it off. I found her flute. She played so well. I took her collection of CD’s. Surprisingly, I found only songs of praise and worship. Now, eight hundred miles away from the oldest house on the block, down the street and around the corner from mommy’s house, I play them, and I raise my arms in gratitude to a holy and merciful God because I know He knows.  I loved my sister and I miss her.  I wish I could have had that extraordinary amount of the God kind of love inside of me that I could summon up when I needed to, when she needed me too.

           Down the street and around the corner, from Mommy’s house, there is a solitary grave among many where my sister rests.  You cannot miss it. Look for the vine with little white star-shaped blooms. It is a clematis vine. It is the queen of all flowers. There is no light post to support the vine, only a tombstone.

It takes the God kind of love.

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English: Puawhananga (Clematis_paniculata) flo...

Less we forget

 I want to remember your smile

Not your tears

I want to remember your smile

Not your fears

I want to remember

before                         

   The madness

     I want to remember

before

 That there was joy

       In your life

before

Then I will not forget

           As it was in yours

So it was in mine

Because you were there

before

Jesus said:

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.

 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

John 15: 4,5