Saturday, July 30, 2016

It's 7:57 pm in Chicago. I'm sitting on my porch swing (for the 4th time time today) as the demon of heatwaves gives us a break from the torture and God blesses us with perfect weather - 72 degrees with a breeze. Tonight there is a sound of joy on my block. The house across the street is blasting old school jams - MY old school from Diana Ross to Biggie to LeVert and the Jacksons (Dancing Machine). I am jamming! I see a group of black teenagers laughing and throwing a football, not gang signs. My 80 year old neighbor greets me and we laugh and reminisce about the old days. A tall black teen boy walks by my house. As I do with everyone, I say hello. He smiles huge and we converse. As he keeps walking, he stops turns around and says "That made me feel good," as he clutched his heart and smiled. You made my day, he said. "So glad I could!" I said. How I am feeling right now is a one-eighty from the heaviness and depression I have been battling these past two days, even this morning when I woke up. When I struggle, I tend to isolate myself. I don't want to be bothered. I don't want to be around people...when the truth is, it's always being around people that brings me out - whether it's a hug, a smile or a simple, light-hearted conversation. As I sit here jamming to "I Just Wanna Be Close To You" old school jam, God reminds me that He does too. He reminds me we can't get through darkness alone. He came to give us life - He already endured death for us. It is in his death that we have life, it is in community that we find healing. Community that pulls us out - and in...whether they know your struggle or not. As much as I have said I don't like my new block, I am now beginning to fall in love with my street. Tonight I don't need church bells. Tonight I had a joyful community .‪#‎PorchSwingLife‬ ‪#‎SelfCare‬ ‪#‎KissOnForeheadFromGod‬

Saturday, July 16, 2016

It's 9:23 pm in Chicago. I'm sitting on my porch swing as the crackling sound of wood when I sit says to me "where have you been?" I took a very deep breathe and exhaled a loud "Yeeessss." But the very minute I exhaled, I was overwhelmed by all the sounds. All at one time: tons of police sirens, ambulance sirens, helicopters flying above me, people yelling loudly, police horns, loud backyard party, kids screaming, a car alarm going off, the Green Line zipping by on the tracks, car driving by playing trap music so loud it felt like my porch swing was dancing from the vibrations. "Whoa Lord!" I said out loud. I've never been that overwhelmed with so much loudness on my porch swing before. ...but then I thought, "This has been my life for the past two weeks - nonstop movement, constant emotional rollercoaster, and an overwhelming weariness...all at the same time ." In light of the past weeks, it seems the racial tension, police brutality, murders of law enforcement and everything that came with it was extra heavy for our country this time. It felt took my emotions and spirit through a different process I wasn't prepared for it...and I had to take notice. I've been invited to many conversations this last week to discuss it and have had to turn them all down because I'm not ready...not that I don't have something to say, not that I don't want to engage... I. Just. Can't...and I feel guilty about that. I feel weak, sad that I'm not strong enough right now to engage. But as I sit here, God reminds me that even Jesus needed to take a break, go away alone to pray and be restored...and that is what actually made him strong...AND stronger. God reminded me it takes real soldiers to recognize their limitations and step away if needed - so they can keep doing the work. "But also Baby Girl, it shows you trust Me to be Your healer and to know, with or without you, I got this."
"I know don't need me. "
"But I do choose to use you. In your weakness, I'm made strong. "
"Then You are REALLY strong right now!."
"And isn't that what you need?"
"Yes, Daddy it is."

Sunday, July 3, 2016

It's 9:57 pm here in Chicago. I'm sitting on my porch swing and I didn't come out here tonight for any kind of peace and quiet. It's July 3rd. The time in Chicago when the City is at its loudest. I hear EVERYTHING from backyard parties to police sirens, from rare sounds of children laughing to the normal sounds of the Green line passing by, from heart attack sounding fireworks on my street to the church bells from afar, the aroma of burgers on a charcoal grill to the burning smell of fireworks (or gun powder). Tonight, many are celebrating while others are mourning. Many are sharing these moments with friends and family while others are alone and hurting. No, I didn't come out here tonight for peace and quiet. I came out here to hear the heartbeat of my hear it hear LIFE in a city that deals with so much death. I sit here and take all the noise in. I notice they knocked out all the street lamps again on my whole block. It's pitch black, like a hurricane came through...but as I look around there are lightening bugs everywhere. I smile as God reminds me again of my call to be a Light in a kid's Darkness. The juxtaposition of life is always joy and pain, together and alone, light and dark. May we never just seek to stand by and just listen and watch but embrace the experience of life in every way it comes to us...and at us. May our senses never become numb but always aware and ready to move. Where do you see life in spite of death in your life?
"I hear life all around me Daddy. I like all the noise tonight."
"That's because there is peace in your heart Baby Girl...even in spite of the pain."  ‪#‎RIPKikito‬
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