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DAILY READ: Covenant Relationships

But I will establish My covenant with you, and you will enter the ark - you and your sons and your wife and your sons' wives with y...

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Flashback or "So Glad We Made It!"

"I later learned that behind the facade of a perfectly made up face, a sassy mouth, an incredible sense of style, and a quick brain (she was a junior in High School at 15) lay the broken remains of little girl who wanted to be a doctor when she grew up, but was being molested by her much older brother, with whom she lived..."

I was reading a book yesterday as I waited for the bus. The main character, a blonde Georgia peach, had just broken up with her fiancé.

While she was out fundraising, he had been cheating on her with a newly hired co-worker.

Someone Ms. Georgia Peach considered to be loud, scandalously dressed and improperly made up. Someone who although she hadn't all the advantages in the world, still spoke her mind and was comfortable with her sexuality. In fact, this woman was someone she, herself, had never dared to be.

O...k.

That's the point where Ms. Georgia got me. That's the point where we connected. I flashed back to my best friend in high school, Danielle. She didn't have much ... but darn if she didn't have some smarts, some great dimples and some sex appeal. Whoooooa!

In fact that's how we met...


Picture it, Maryland, 1982:

It was my junior year in high school. About to pass the ladies' room, I decided to use it then instead of later. As I swung the door open and entered, I saw four African-American girls, of average height, surrounding a petite girl, who who appeared to be listening defiantly as the tallest and prettiest girl took centerstage; neck circulating and finger pointing as she spewed her venom,

“I don’t know what he sees in you any way, with your ugly, ball-headed, fast self!” I paused, as I debated whether to continue any further, cause these folks looked kinda busy, but then Ms. Pretty said, “When we get through with you, you’re gonna think twice before messing with anybody’s boyfriend," then to her "crew" she instructed, "Hold her!”

Now you’d think with the odds at four to one, Dani would use those smarts of hers to talk the situation down? Nah...that made waaaay too much sense. Ms. Thing was reading them left, right and center, setting the record straight with a pithy,

“Girl please, I ain’t want your ugly wannabe-a-player-but-he-can’t-hang, boyfriend, he’s the one panting behind me like a dog! Ask my gurl here.”

All six of us (including me) looked behind me, I’d probably have kept on looking for her gurl, but the silence kinda clued me in that I might just be the “gurl” to which she referred. So summoning all my “down” speak, I put on my “cool” face and turned around saying,

“Yeah, his simple behind always in our way, talking bout can I buy you and your gurl lunch?” By that time, I’d walked over to stand beside Dani. How was I to know that this boy that I’d never seen, mind you, had never offered to buy Ms. Pretty lunch or either of her crew, at that? It was like waving a red flag in front of a bull. En masse, the crew began closing in on us, but their main focus was Dani.

Then I, with courage I’ve never exhibited before or thereafter, stood firm and said in my most disparagingly adult voice,

“Four to one, that’s hardly fair odds, and though I hate fighting, if y’all wanna do this, y’all gonna have to go through me first.” At five-six and solid, I guess I must have presented a convincingly scary picture, because the crew backed down and backed out of the bathroom vowing to catch Dani when her bodyguard wasn’t around.

Do you think Dani’s mouth was quiet? Noooooo, she was on her tiptoes peeking over my shou lder shouting, “Bring it on!” That is, until I leveled a look at her that brought a half sheepish look to her face.

“I’m sorry,” she said. “I didn’t mean to get you involved, but that’s all I could think of at the moment.”

“It’s alright,” I said, as I wondered to myself, Did she know the guy had a girlfriend? Did things really go down the way she said? She does have a reputation. But heck, even if she was dead wrong, Ms. thing shoulda handled it herself, instead of tryna pull a black-mama-beatdown!

Out loud I said, “Look, I’ve seen you around my area. If you want you can take my bus and I’ll meet you between classes to make sure there’s no trouble?” although she shrugged her shoulders and said, “It’s up to you.” I could sense her relief.


She became the first inductee into my “Save a friend from Themselves Caribbean Club”. I later learned that behind the facade of a perfectly made up face, a sassy mouth, an incredible sense of style, and a quick brain (she was a junior in High School at 15), lay the broken remains of little girl who wanted to be a doctor when she grew up, but was being molested by her much older brother, with whom she lived.

My older brother and mother warned me about my association with her, her reputation of being fast. They couldn't understand, how she was able to come and go as she pleased. Nor could they understand why I invited her to so many sleepovers. They thought her behavior was of her own choosing, they didn't realize it was just the symptom of a deeper problem, a cry for help if you will. But it was not my story to tell, so I listened, I cried, I ranted, I urged her to speak out, but her fear and distrust held more sway.

Suddenly, her popularity with the opposite sex and her earthy sex appeal, were no longer sources of envy for me. But I will confess, that I still did envy her outspokenness and the fact that she didn't lose sight of her dreams.

When I encountered a similar situation a year later, after moving to New York and moving in with my dad, (against the advice of my older sister), I better understood, her urge not to tell. But I still don't know how she managed her sunny disposition or held on to her dreams, unless she resorted to prescription drugs, like I eventually did.

When what we're taught as little girls is our most prized possesion is taken away by force by not a stranger, but a blood relative, what have we to lose? What boundaries are left to be broken? Who do we trust?

Darn, what essentially began as a happy and upbeat story, has once again turned into a downer, for which I apologize, but maybe, just maybe, someone needed to hear this?

If you're out there and you need someone to listen, pray with you and just love you. I'm here.

*sniffing*
Dee

Oh and about the envy/comparison thingy? This might just help:

Someone will always be smarter. Their house will be bigger. They will drive a better car. Their children will do better in school. And their partners will fix more things around the house. So let it go and love you and your circumstances. Think about it. The prettiest woman in the world can have hell in her heart. And the most highly favored woman on your job may be unable to have children. The richest woman you know - she's got the car, the house, the clothes - might be heartbreakingly lonely. So, love you. Love who you are right now...

~Anonymous

Monday, September 26, 2005

Yes...I Will or "The Surrender"

To continue the discussions of Practicing Abstinence, Love - Part I and Love - Part II, let me tell you a little story.

Once upon a time there was a woman named Lee, who was in a relationship with a man named Dom. Dom and Lee had been together for twelve years when Lee got a message from God. Now Lee was a Baptist and Dom was a Catholic (Catholics didn't seem to be in on the whole message from God thingy, or maybe it was just Dom?)

Anyway, Lee attended church every Sunday and was very active in the choir and any church events that came up. Although she would invite Dom to attend church with her, aside from one or two visits, he declined her invitation on the regular.

Knowing that a family that prays together stays together, Lee made several visits to his church and although she considered some of the services quite dry, (No clapping, no amen's...nothing) she was pleased to realize that no matter the delivery, God's word stands on its own. Anyway, Lee told Dom about her message from God, which pretty much amounted to, "You're fornicating...stop it...now!"

Needless to say, Dom was not a happy camper because he couldn't understand what the big deal was all about (probably because Dom and Lee were scheduled to be married within six months). Dom reluctantly agreed to "project abstinence" probably thinking that he'd wear Lee down, eventually. The first week went by pretty well, but the second week began the question of parameters of "project abstinence." The themes ranged from ..."As long as there's no penetration, it isn't sex," to "How about we watch each other...you know..."

Lee didn't want to know, because she was experiencing a new lease on life. A new clarity of thought and spiritual and emotional well-being like she hadn't experienced in years!

High on the hog and confident that Dom's discontent was just a drop in the bucket, she never really noticed when Dom stopped asking. Or maybe she just thought that he was dealing as well. Then with the newfound clarity, she began to notice that Dom was doing things that would deliberately anger her, so that arguments would begin and he could exit the scene.

Lee realized that things were escalating to a breaking point, but determined to hold things together, she sucked up the strife, continued to be the peacemaker that she had always been and told herself only three more months. She then noticed that Dom, upped his game of "anger the fiancee" with really blatant, in your face, you-better pop-your neck-and-roll-your-eyes-at-me-or-you're-not-a-strong-black-woman antics.

Lee finally gave in and told Dom that she wanted to speak with him. She gave him the it's not working out speech and returned the quite ugly engagement ring. They both wept beautiful tears, hugged each other and said the placating words that people usually say at times like that, "I love you, but I guess, sometimes, love is just not enough" (What the heck is that crap?)

As she watched Dom, drive away, Lee felt two parts relief and one part disappointment. She knew that Dom had just angered her to the point of frustration, so that she would be the one to end the relationship, instead of him. She couldn't help seeing that as a weak and less than a manly thing to do. She also figured, that twelve years, deserved more consideration than that.

She then went into her house and quietly told her mother and daughter that the relationship had ended, but in amicable manner. They rallied around her, and being the strong black woman that she was, she pooh poohed their pitying looks and comforting hugs and went into her bastion of solitude (bathroom), turned on the water and cried like a baby.

She considered it only correct when Dom called the next day, to see if she was alright. But when the phonecalls continued to come in everyday, as though nothing had changed and all was well, she began to unravel a bit and a bit of her lassitude, began to slide into the anger mode. But, being one to avoid a conflict, she simply began avoiding Dom's phonecalls.

She thought that it was obvious that she didn't want to speak with him, until he began calling her mother, her daughter, her sister, her brother-in-law and then her co-workers, to find out why Lee wasn't returning or avoiding his phonecalls. Was the brother really that thick...or just insensitive?

All was well, for a little while, until Lee received a phonecall from Dom. He had news for her that he just had to tell her in person. Filled with triumph, Lee thinks to herself, I knew his a** would come crawling back, but I didn't expect it this soon! She retained that sense of confidence, even as they met face to face and he stuttered and mumbled his way through the message of his impending fatherhood, as he looked at Lee with hopeful eyes.

Meanwhile, Lee is thinking to herself, "Oh heyell nawww, I know this negro is not standing in front of me, telling me that he's gotten someone pregnant already! Wait...a minute...this sounds like overlap to me! I oughta, I should...nawww, going to jail over a no account man, is not really the game plan!" Face impassive, not displaying a lick of the thoughts and strong emotions going through her, she simply said, "Is that all? Thanks for sharing." turned and went back into her house.

Once inside, she listened for the car engine which signaled his departure, then she finally allowed the anger she felt full reign and open her mouth to emit a silent scream. Two weeks later, via her mother, she learned that he was getting married to the "mother" of his child and wedding plans were in progress.

A month later as she packed her bags for the day and left her office, she knew that she was not returning, as she carefully placed one foot in front of the other, talking herself through making the trip home and into the sanctuary of her room, walking endless, slowly towards the moment in time she'd feared all her adult life...the moment where she quietly lost it.

It was there, sitting on her bed staring at the wall, her arms wrapped around herself, she rocked to and fro and allowed herself to acknowledge the emptiness that was her reality.The busyness of work no longer a shield, she faced herself for the first time in years and realized that she was angry! She wanted to know why? Why wasn't I good enough Lord? Why wasn't the love enough Lord? What's wrong with me Lord? Maybe if I hadn't told him the truth about my dad? Where were you Lord? When my life was going all to hell...where were you? You know what? I give up...I can't take it anymore!

And as if those were the magic words necessary, Lee suddenly felt a warmth and a peace seeping into her being and wrapping itself around her mind and heart as before her very eyes a kaleidoscope of her life played and God showed her moments in her life unbeknowst to her, where He'd preserved her from harm. At that point, Lee was filled with contrition and repentance, and surrendered her will to God's call on her life to be a minister of the gospel.

To Be continued...

Religion or Relationship?

By Christopher Donaldson, Sr.

Faith Experiences

These have come so that your faith-of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire-may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. ~ 1 Peter 1:7
One of the great tragedies of the Christian life is that if we fail to enter into a relationship with God that is born of the Holy Spirit, we are left with a religion, not a relationship. Many a person today lives with an intellectual belief in God, but without a relationship that is based on two-way communication. This is the greatest tragedy of all. It's like having a brand-new car but never having the gas to run it. It can't move you anywhere. It only looks pretty, but one cannot enjoy the ride or smell the newness inside.

Peter tells us that until our faith is proved genuine, we will never be able to give praise, glory, and honor to Jesus, because until such testing He will not be revealed in our lives. Peter describes this in the verse before: "In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials" (1 Pet. 1:6). Trials are designed to bring us to a level of trust and experience with God that we would never know otherwise. These "faith experiences" with God allow us to know firsthand the faithfulness of God, the love of God, and the personal nature of God. If you cannot recount several instances when God has met you personally, then chances are your faith has not been born of the Holy Spirit into a living relationship with God. It is easy to fall prey to a relationship to God that never experiences His real presence; rather, it is based on knowledge only. This is a tragic place to be.

If this is where you have been in your Christian experience, ask God today to make Himself real to you. Ask Him to show you His personal nature and love. He desires to do this. Those whom He has called know His voice. He will show Himself to those who are His. "He who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I too will love him and show Myself to him" (Jn. 14:21b).

Copyright (c) 2005 by Christopher Donaldson, Sr.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Spousal Abuse: Knows No Boundaries

It Stretches...
Beyond Race ...
Beyond Gender...
Although I was slowly working my way toward it, I had no intentions of broaching this topic just yet. I was smack dab in the middle of Death and Love with the intent of making a nice little segue into abuse and list resources and everything.

Unfortunately, that game plan was prempted by a post made to one of my writing groups for which I have permission to share as follows:

The Cry For Help:

I have a "friend" who is in a terribly dsyfunctional situation. She has actually been separated from her husband for over a year. She has no intentions on going back but is financially strapped and unable to afford an attorney. She has long since fell out of love with her husband and has no desire to be with him ever again. But he still loves her and swears that since they have been separated, he has learned his lesson and is a changed man.

Mind you, she has moved in and out several times over the past 3 years but this time actually moved into her own home and is "serious this time". So of course, in my opinion he thinks this is just like any other time and she'll be back if he keeps telling her what she wants to hear. Some background on their situation - They've been together for over 11 years, married for 6. He is : controlling, abusive both physically and verbally, a "street negro", wants his cake, pie, ice cream and is eating it all too!

She is: creative, outgoing, friendly, intelligent, very nice looking. Because of what he is doing in the streets, he is so insecure that he controls every aspect of her life, even though they are not together! This baffles me! She is afraid to talk to anyone else or date for fear that he will find out.

When we are out she is constantly looking over her shoulder to make sure he isn't around so she can barely enjoy herself. I'm the friend that he can't stand and we've had a few run in's before (but he knows I don't play that sh*t and my family will bring the pain to his ass if he ever thought about putting his hands on me - sorry I had to get ghetto ya'll!) But this drives me crazy because she has made all the right strides to be free of him (sans, the divorce filings) but why does he still think he can run things?

She has expressed her feelings to him - that she doesn't want him anymore, that she wants to move on, that she hates him for the abuse. Yet he still feels that as long as she is technically married to him, that she shouldn't be dealing with anyone else and that when he needs her she should be there. And she continues to fall for the okey-doke everytime he calls.

Help me family! I don't know what else to say to her. I know this is so far off from our literary post but I figured someone out there maybe has been in a similar situation or knows someone that has and could offer some suggestions. I've had it up to here with the situation and cannot continue to risk my own safety trying to protect her. She is a very good friend and I don't want anything to happen to her. So help me out, if you can.
Group Responses:


Hi Erica,

Is she a reader? How about a book on the topic? Leaving the Wilderness by Tonya Blount is a good one.

And I know I've got others around my house, let me know if you need me to mail some out to you for her.

What she needs is a constant bombardment of positivity, to reinforce/break down the negative behavior she's learned. But you might have to trick her into it...lol.

Peace,
Dee

Guy said:
It could be dangerous for any amateur psychoanalysts to offer "advice" to your "friend" based on what you have shared here...although some will try. Undoubtedly, she knows what she must do, but will she? I would ask your friend to tell you what she thinks she should do. Don't let her hem & haw, but continue to pressure her to "spill her gut feel." What is important is for you to listen and not offer advice.

~One man's opinion

Dee Said:
I understand what you're saying guy, that she has to make the choice, but we can assist her (in love) to make an informed choice, that's the role we play and we'd fail in that role if we left her to it.

As much as she stays, do you really think she wants to be there? No. But she, like we all do, wants to be loved, but has learned a skewed definition of love.

Have I lived her reality? No. Can I get into her head? Yes. Why? Because as long as we're a part of this world, we have known and will continue to know women (and some men too) who are living dysfunctional lives. All in search of LOVE.

It is a scary thing to attempt the unknown. Her pain...now that...that is something with which she is familiar, she knows exactly what to expect from it, it never disappoints her, it's right on time...she knows its ebbs and flows.

Doesn't it sound a little like the description of God? The scripture says God is Love...and when we seek out love, it's really God we're seeking...she just got a few wrong directions at a few gas stations.

Maybe, it was the gas station called Grandma? Right across the street from the one called "Papa was a Rolling Stone? So maybe she thought she found Him, in her husband...

Lawd...lookee here...you done got me started...lol.

Sorry folks didn't mean to ramble on, but as you can read, I'm quite passionate about this topic...but *stepping down and kicking soapbox under desk* I'll stop now.

Peace,
Dee

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

They Like Me--They Really Like Me!

Excuse me for a moment while I do the dance of joy! Okay, back now. I started doing this blogging thing in May 2005 and now this is post number 93 and I'm still going strong with the help of my fellow contributors and you the readers/commenters. Y'all have been wonderful, just wonderful, (in my best Academy Awards voice) and I want to thank God, my parents...

Seriously though, I was gonna wait until I hit the 100th post or a thousand visitors. Well the thousand visitor mark slid by me yesterday, when I wasn't looking...I mean I took a couple of hours off, to do some work and then...what do you know? 1016! I had to return the streamers, ballons and hats because the moment was lost (it was like a guy taping a football game--to be addressed in another post).

So, having learned that lesson, I'm celebrating the 93rd post...today! I've decided that it's okay to be celebratory/appreciative, right now. Because when I stop and think about it, appreciation is one of those things that you can never run out of, so no need to be stingy with it.

I appreciate, you and you and you and you! Oh...and did i forget...you?

Peace,
Dee

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Infidelity: Where Does It Begin?

I dreamt about my ex-husband last night. Disturbing? A little, since we’ve been divorced for over fifteen years. But in my defense, I will mention that before I fell asleep, I was reading a copy of “Grown Folks Business” by Victoria Christopher Murray, which deals with infidelity. The husband didn’t actually commit a sexual act, but he fell in love with someone else, a man.

Some folks would disagree and say that the main topic was homosexuality and the down low trend, which I’ve been aware of since the eighties, but is just now coming to light in the mainstream world. And they’d be right. In fact we both would, because there are many issues being touched in this story and since matters of importance are subjective, and this is my blog...I’m going with the infidelity issue this morning…lol.

Merriam Webster defines infidelity as unfaithfulness to a moral obligation : DISLOYALTY marital unfaithfulness or an instance of it. The protagonist’s husband, Quentin, is clear to point out that although he’s in love with someone else, it has nothing to do with sex and although he doesn’t come out and make a bold statement, by the author’s skillful wording, his very tone comes through loud and clear and you get the idea that he feels confident in, and maybe even takes pride in the fact that he has not been unfaithful.

Which segues nicely into the question: Where does infidelity begin? How is it defined? Does it begin the moment we entertain thoughts about others beside our spouse and refuse to squash those thoughts? Or does it begin only when we proceed to act out our thoughts?

(Now if you've taken note of my skillful wording, you should have figured out which way I'm leaning...lol)

Monday, September 19, 2005

Great Place to Work!

Did I ever mention that I absolutely love the company for which I work? If I haven't, please pardon my oversight and here goes: "I absolutely love this Company!"

This is a follow up on my post of Dealing with Death in which I mentioned the fact that a co-worker was killed in a car accident on her way home from work the Friday before last.

My supervisor just came to me and told me to find out the details that would enable the company to cover her two boys for another year! In my opinion, this is HUGE. Granted, I'm coming out of the prejudiced viewpoint of "Benefits...gotta have 'em" after 3 years of self-employment and no benefits.

But still, this is the kind of thing that makes this company a great place to work!

Friday, September 16, 2005

LASIK

Today I’m coming out of left field. A coworker of mine recently had LASIK surgery. She was previously far sighted and in the corrective process she was told that she would only need reading glasses.

Well it’s been almost three months and she can only see about 8-10 feet away clearly and everything past that is a blur. To add insult to injury, the doctor turned her old pair of glasses into reading glasses so she has no glasses at all. She either has to drive really slowly at night or get in before dark hits.

Having worn glasses from age fourteen (and hating it horribly), when the idea of LASIK was broached, I read everything about it that I could put my hands on and decided that it wasn’t for me. Something about the possible loss of vision just didn’t sit well with me.

I don’t mean to sound harsh or anything, but if I’m going to spend $4,000 for a procedure, and said procedure affects my eyes, I’d almost want to hold the doctor’s first born hostage until I feel that I know everything there is to know about the procedure and then some.

It amazes me that my coworker was surprised when I mentioned the possibility that the procedure might need to be redone. This! From the same woman who has a heart attack if a piece of paper is misfiled! Well to be fair, accurate filing is a necessity for the smooth operation of business, but it's just that I expected the same passion when it came to her eyes--but maybe that’s just me?

Anyway, I did a search on the web and came up with the FDA’s website and forwarded the information to her. For those of you who’ve thought about LASIK here are the links:

LASIK eye surgery
What is LASIK?
When is LASIK not for me?
What are the risks and how do I find the right doctor for me?
What should I expect, before during and after surgery?
LASIK checklist
FDA- approved Lasers
FAQ’S
Glossary
Other Resources

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Dealing With Death - Part III


...Just byskimming through the articles, I felt better equipped; especially the one entitled “How to Help When You Don’t Know What to Say”. An inveterate talk-a-holic, death shuts me right up. Nothing comes to mind; well
some stuff does, but gets dismissed as stupid or trite nonsense. If like me, death renders you clueless, you might find the following helpful.

NOTE: Due to copyright infringement laws, I’m unable to display the articles in their entirety here, but I can hit you with the highlights. However, if you’d like a copy of any of the articles in their entirety, email me and I’ll be happy to forward.
What You Can Do For Others


To build upon what was said in Part II, "How to Help When You Don't Know What to Say?"

Again, this is one of the times when action speaks louder than words, so you can:--

Listen:
You can never go wrong with listening. Keep in mind that everyone's story is different so be sensitive to nuances so that your well meant intentions to help do not compound the situation. It is definitely not the time for "Girl, if you think that was bad, you should hear what happened to me!" It's not about you, nor is it the time to segue into a "who suffered more" comparison or a "Buck up, there are people suffering worse out there!" That'll get you put out of the house and all future invitions might just be met with, "I'm kind of busy right now, can I call you later?"

Reach Out:
Reaching out can take many forms. In personal or work related relationships it can be assuming some day to day responsibilites like babysitting, cleaning, cooking, etc. In the work arena it can be diverting some of the workload to yourself. It can be an invitation to lunch, arranging a support group, etc.

A good thing to remember is that you are no good to anyone else if you're falling apart yourself. So if you think you're going to be prostrate across the lap of the party you're supposed to be comforting, while they pat you on the shoulder...maybe you should send a card, flowers, your teenager for assistance with babysitting or household chores until you can be a support instead of a drain.

Peace,
Dee

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Dealing With Death - Part II

...Just by skimming through the articles, I felt better equipped; especially the one entitled “How to Help When You Don’t Know What to Say”. An inveterate talk-a-holic, death shuts me right up. Nothing comes to mind; well some stuff does, but gets dismissed as stupid or trite nonsense. If like me, death renders you clueless, you might find the following helpful.

NOTE: Due to copyright infringement laws, I’m unable to display the articles in their entirety here, but I can hit you with the highlights. However, if you’d like a copy of any of the articles in their entirety, email me and I’ll be happy to forward.
How to Help When You Don’t Know What to Say?

Say nothing. Act!

You can:

Pray:
I’ve often heard people say “Prayer is the least I can do…” Wrong! It’s the most you can do. Certainly, it’s not tangible. Some have the need for their acts to be visible, but this is one of the times that it’s not about you. Just pray.

Listen:
They may just need someone to listen to them. No well meaning advice, but you can assure them that whatever is said to you in confidences will not be repeated.

Be available:
Emotionally—let them know that in your presence it’s okay to let go; and
Physically—A hug or a pat or the shoulder works wonders.

Reach out:
If you’re not close enough to visit set aside an uninterrupted time slot and choose a private spot for a phone call; or
Send a card or a note letting them know you’re thinking about them. Maybe invite them to lunch. (Don’t be surprised if you receive a refusal, be gracious and continue to reach out).

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Dealing With Death

Yesterday morning I was greeted at work with the news that a coworker was killed in a car accident on Friday night. She was on her way home from work traveling on I-78 when a nineteen year-old traveling at the speed of light, crossed the median and crashed into her vehicle. Two other vehicles were also involved but none others lost their life.

Aside from seeing her name on paperwork I processed or filed, I didn’t really know her, but I did know that she had two young boys aged seven and ten and had undergone a bitter divorce. I wasn't PMS-ing (I checked the date) and I couldn't even describe the woman if someone offered me a million dollars to do so, but I was leaden with grief.
What made it worse was the fact that I couldn’t call her family—“Dee, who?”-- I couldn’t call her co-workers, “What’s your name again?” So I was left with a whole lot of displaced sympathy.

An hour later, I found my purpose or role, if you will, in the tragedy. Sure, my name wasn’t up in lights, and no one aside from my supervisor would even know I’d participated, but it served as an outlet, some way I could be of help in the situation.

What did I do? I made copies. Copies of articles written about "Grief Reactions", "How To Help When You Don’t Know What To Say", "What You Can Do For Others", "What You Can Do For Yourself", "Grief in the Workplace", "Dealing With Death: Grief in the Workplace - Part 1 - Employees" and "Dealing With Death: Grief in the Workplace - Part 2 - Management".

Just by skimming through the articles, I felt better equipped; especially the one entitled “How to Help When You Don’t Know What to Say”. An inveterate talk-a-holic, death shuts me right up. Nothing comes to mind; well some stuff does, but gets dismissed as stupid or trite nonsense. If like me, death renders you clueless, you might find the following helpful.

NOTE: Due to copyright infringement laws, I’m unable to display the articles in their entirety here, but I can hit you with the highlights. However, if you’d like a copy of any of the articles in their entirety, email me and I’ll be happy to forward.

Grief Reactions:

A popular misconception held by many is that there is a correct way to react to grief. Grief reactions may or may not run the gamut of insomnia, lack of or increased appetite, moodiness, confusion, withdrawal, busyness, fear, anger, peace, despair, guilt, agitation and more.

In the same way that there is no correct way to react to grief, there is also no set order of emotions or designated time limit. That being said, it is important to note that expressing grief is a necessity and not to be avoided. However it is also important to note that symptoms of grief can mirror that of depression, so it is recommended that the griever maintain contact with others and seek assistance from a counselor, if the symptoms last more than two months.

Your Opinion Counts!

On a totally different front. No, no deep dissertation on this post. I'd simply like your input as to the look of the blog. In my opinion, it's starting to look a little cluttered. I'm considering changing the template to one that appears more organized but less cumbersome.

Any suggestions? (Please include links)

Thanks,
Dee

btw...just to show appreciation for your time and assistance, all who respond will receive a FREE copy of Prevention magazine (women) or MensHealth (men)

Monday, September 12, 2005

Family Reunion

I had a lovely day yesterday! It was spent, just the way I like it...in church! Now I'm gonna keep it real. As much as I love God, I don't always want to spend the whole day in church, but nevertheless, yesterday was a treat.

Why?

I accompanied my Pastor to a Men's Day Fellowship. Now if you know nothing else about me, it's important to know that I love seeing men, godly men at work in the church. The ratio has become topheavy with women in ministry and yes, I'm one of the women, so when I get to see some men coming together to give God glory and honor with their time, talent and tithe...I get all excited! (Spiritually, of course...lol)

When the men's chorus (all five of them) stood up to sing, I was in ecstacy!

Anyway, the Pastor of the church we visited, my Pastor and I all came out of the same Baptist Church in Brooklyn. So it was like a family reunion. Not only was it great seeing her and her husband, members from our old congregation were also present and I got to see one of my former choir members all grown up with facial hair and everything! (I directed the Youth Choir at the old church).

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Going Against the Flow

By Christopher Donaldson, Sr.

But the whole assembly talked about stoning them. ~ Numbers 14:10a
Have you ever had to stand up against the majority for a cause that wasn't popular? God brought the Israelites out of Egypt and promised He would lead them into a land of milk and honey. The process of moving out of Egypt was difficult. They could no longer do things the old way, for the old ways didn't work in the desert. God provided for them during this journey. But there came a point in which the people forgot what God had said. Their discomfort changed their belief about God.

Whenever God is slow to answer our prayers, what we believe about God is revealed. Do we change our plans and move in a different direction when pressure mounts? Or do we continue on the path God has directed for us? Four men believed what God said and were willing to stand; however, the crowd wanted to stone them.

Then Moses and Aaron fell facedown in front of the whole Israelite assembly gathered there. Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had explored the land, tore their clothes and said to the entire Israelite assembly, "The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. If the Lord is pleased with us, He will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will swallow them up. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them." But the whole assembly talked about stoning them. Then the glory of the Lord appeared at the Tent of Meeting to all the Israelites (Numbers 14:5-10).

Notice Joshua and Caleb's response to the situation. They had spied the land. They believed God. They challenged the crowd. They seemed to know that if the Lord was not pleased with them they would not enter into the Promised Land. Those who grumbled did not enter the Promised Land. Only Joshua and Caleb and a new generation saw the fulfillment of God's promise.

Has God called you to stand for a cause bigger than yourself? You will have opposition to His call; sometimes it even comes from those in your own camp. But if God has called you, then you can be sure He will make a way. He has already opened the way before you. But you must walk in faith, joined with Him to take the land.

...Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go (Joshua 1:9).

Friday, September 02, 2005

Human Resources Orientation

Working in HR myself, the following gave me a chuckle, so I thought I'd share:

A large corporation recently hired several cannibals. "You are all part of our team now," said the HR rep during the welcoming briefing. "You get all the usual benefits and you can go to the cafeteria for something to eat, but please don't eat any of the other employees." The cannibals promised they would not.

Four weeks later their boss remarked, "You're all working very hard and I'm satisfied with your work. However, one of our secretaries has disappeared. Do any of you know what happened to her?"

The cannibals all shook their heads "No."

After the boss had left, the leader of the cannibals said to the others, "Which one of you idiots ate the secretary?"

A hand rose hesitantly. "You fool!" the leader continued. "For four weeks we've been eating managers and no one noticed anything. But NOOOooo, you had to go and eat someone who actually does something!!!"