I have been living in the southern United States for more than twenty years and as a result, I have become very accustomed to the weather. When I first moved here, I was not phased by a little snow but now it gives me anxiety. I don’t travel beyond my front door until the streets are clear, but I don’t worry about it much because I enjoy staying home and more importantly I enjoy time alone. I’m comfortable with myself and my thoughts. That’s not to say that I don’t want to talk to others and this year, I really wanted someone to be snowed in with me, but I am not devastated by the fact that it didn’t happen. I can entertain myself. I love my bed. I can pretend to be a domestic goddess, cooking and cleaning. I can watch every weird documentary and cartoon that I want. I can spend time in prayer and really listen for God. While it is inconvenient and anxiety inducing at first, snow days become a much needed time to rest and reflect. Let it snow. I’m good.
When I was 25,I thought that relationships had to go from zero to sixty rather quickly or I didn’t think the guy liked me. Consequently, I ended a couple of potentially good relationships because I didn’t appreciate taking things slowly. It was a painful lesson to learn, although twenty years later, I still have some residue left from my old ways.I don’t like uncertainty in relationships. I like to know where I stand. Mind you, I am not talking about the song and dance that happens in the early stages of getting to know someone, but rather once there’s been some connection, some time spent some understanding established, then I like to know if this is a flash in the plan or does this have the potential to be regular. I’m not looking for marriage,I am looking for consistency. I need some expectations:once a week, once a quarter, once a year. I’m weird.
I fully recognize that the heart of my issue is control and I am working on that but it is hard. I manage people for a living in an industry that is all about accounting for every second in fifteen minute intervals and it is difficult for me to not let that need to manage leak into affairs of the heart because it is a futile effort. Love is all about uncertainty and passion and desire. It really can’t be scheduled.
So with this new year, my continued prayer is for patience and to make peace with the uncertainty because what they say is true: you can’t hurry love. You just have to wait.
I have always wanted to be a doo-wop girl, a backup singer for a great entertainer, but as I get older I realize that the possibility of this happening is slim to none. I’ve made my peace with the fact that it might not happen. I have found other ways to fulfill that desire: videos, karaoke, and playing Just Dance,but I realized the other day that I had overlooked the obvious. I’m a minister. Not the senior pastor, but an associate, a staff member who supports the work of the pastor. The church has been my version of being twenty feet from Stardom. Sure from time to time like every great background singer, I get the opportunity to stand at the sacred desk, to enter the holy of holies, but I exercise my gifts and talents most often by peeking behind the veil, watching the priest, prophet, or sage do his or her thing.I’m the harmony to the melody, the descant over the verse. I’m there, present but not obtrusive, demanding very little and doing just enough so that you don’t even know I am there,but it’s apparent when I am not.
It’s an interesting place to be. I have enough talent that people want me to strike out on my own, but that’s not my calling. I support.I complement. I help. And that is enough.
I’m not a very touchy feely person. I don’t normally go out of my way to hug or shake hands, although I do like to cuddle and I really like holding hands. It makes me feel special and safe. It’s very reassuring to have someone hold my hand but it is not something that is common. We hold hands in church and you might see people who are dating doing it, but apart from parents and children, you don’t see it much but it really is a sign of friendship and affection in my mind. To me, hand holding is a way to say that you are important to me and I am here for you. It’s a demonstration of love and connection.
One thing I am excited for
It is the end of the thirty day writing challenge, but what I am excited for is the beginning of the Christian year. Sunday began the season of advent which is the beginning of the liturgical year of the church. We wait in joyful expectation for the birth of Christ in the world and in our hearts. Advent is a time of preparation and love and we gloriously anticipate what new thing that the Creator is going to manifest.
I have loved working through these 30 days of writing and reflection. I have learned a lot about myself and the things that interest me. I am also elated that my musings have opened a door for my friends and colleagues to get a glance at the workings of my life. I hope this leads to stronger connections and great conversations.
This is just the beginning of a new chapter in my life and I remain excited about the possibilities.
I’m not sure if I have a lot to say to my ex and not because we are on bad terms, but rather the opposite. With one exception, I remain connected to them and consider them friends. I also have a policy of letting go of regrets.Hindsight is always 20/20 but the decisions we make in the midst of a relationship make sense to us at the time.
If I could say anything, it is simply thank you for loving me. Thank you for looking past the slightly introverted, sometimes high maintenance woman and making a connection. Even through the rough patches, I learned more about myself and am stronger and wiser as a result. Thank you for sharing your hopes and dreams with me, for letting me see you at your most vulnerable times. I admit that I didn’t always understand your direction in life, but I tried my best to support your journey. Thank you for coming into my life and for taking the time to hear me, see me, feel me, know me. Thank you for loving me in your own way.
I decided to follow an alternate writing prompt for today because the #30daywritingchallenge prompt was to discuss a family member I don’t like. I don’t really know my family beyond me immediate family as both of my parents are deceased and growing up, we only interacted with my dad’s family and we didn’t do that much. Family is complicated for me.
So the alternate prompt is 22 things for which I am grateful:
- I am grateful to be of sound mind and body (relatively).
- I am grateful that I have family that loves and supports me without question.
- I am grateful for friends who have become like family that love me no matter what.
- I am grateful to be employed and to have a team that appreciates my efforts
- I am grateful for one more day.
- I am grateful to have a community of faith that nurtures me and lets me be myself.
- I am grateful for friends who are not afraid to tell me the truth.
- I am grateful for friends who pick me up when that truth hurts.
- I am grateful for coffee and Pepsi Cola.
- I am grateful for French fries. They make me happy.
- I am grateful for the loves I have lost. I am better even though it is over.
- I am grateful for December 14, 1999. It is a day that I will never forget and while it was difficult, I was changed on that day.
- I am grateful for the women of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. Although they can be challenging at times, I am the woman I am today because of their influence.
- I am grateful for my time at Oberlin College. It was indeed the best four years of my life and influences how I look at the world to this day.
- I am grateful for two people who know my entire truth. They know Joanne: The good, the bad and the ugly. Everyone needs someone who they can tell the whole truth to.
- I am grateful for the congregations that I have supported and served. They remind me that God’s grace is extravagant and abundant.
- I am grateful for my parents. They did the best they could to give me everything I needed, even when they didn’t always understand me.
- I am grateful for public libraries. They provided me sanctuary as I was growing up.
- I am grateful for all of my failures and rejections.
- I am grateful for the one who broke my heart.
- I am grateful for every opportunity to sit in the sun.
- I am grateful that God saw fit to choose me to serve.