*note: i wrote this poem in 2004 and included it in my book, Nonnie And The Butterfly in 2008. it is about the trials of life, hanging tough through it all, and eventually coming out the other side...stronger and joyous ("the sweet today"). basically it is about looking within, throwing out the crap stuff...and holding onto the good and needed. it is about LIFE.
personally, i am now in the "sweet today" part of my journey (reflected in the latter portion of the poem). i don't say this lightly. life has been a long hard slog/climb/walk/marathon. but today is even sweeter because i made it through the muck and over to the light of love. selah. i am utterly grateful to Christ. i hope you enjoy! -peace
how many years has it been?
how many hours have you spent
waking to the morning light
tossing and turning
the embrace of insanity
walking through your life
as if a ghost of discontentment
carelessly wondering about
that certain unsettling sensation
allowing it to overtake your soul
fear has indeed become your partner
thoughts of past brutality,
harsh memories, lost dreams,
unmet needs cling to your spirit
acknowledgement somehow seems like an unsavory feast
you try to reason it all away
don’t feel, don’t touch, don’t remember
instead you smile, you laugh
no, you don’t love
you don’t love because
you don’t know how to anymore
you are incapable because
you have let death hold your hand
anxiety and worry roam freely inside your heart
you loved like a child once
before the pain
now your love reveals the mark of an empty vessel
draining you into the darkest of oblivion you run on nothingness
nothing to give in truth, clamouring for hope
an exercise in futility
one day you will wake and movement will leave you
you will try to turn and your body will protest
your heart and spirit refusing to drown again
in its continuous state of desperation
because they yearn for peace and calmness
desiring to soak up the forgotten gift of joy
they will turn on you
that is the day you will begin to listen
you have no choice
you belong to them
on that day your heart will yell that it has had enough
your spirit will grab your stubbornness and turn it inside out
enough hiding, enough pretending, enough of the facade
enough, enough, enough
dear precious lord
it is done
you have lost your battle
your rescuer has pushed up through the earth of your spirit
and has planted new seeds of hope upon your dying heart
you will face the known unknown of pain
your soul will screen the horrors of locked away minutes
crashing purposefully into your eyes
you will cry, scream, and suffer
a blessed moment in time
you will begin to realize that the struggle was over
even before you started to deny yourself all of those years ago
the battle never belonged to you
yet, you fought
warring against yourself
will you continue to struggle?
refusing to see the beauty that gracefully lines your face
turning from the loveliness that has attached itself
to your being over the many years
choosing to shut your mind to
the wonderment of lessons learned
through the pain of time
fight it if you like
you will lose
is the hour to lift your hands to the heavens
and let its gentleness fold into your heart
you will find the strength to push through
the searing fire of past mistakes
lost and unrealized love
the angels will surround you in a glorious ring of freedom
grace and faith clothing you in wisdom
you will remember what it is like to live with childlike abandon
surrendering into the arms of the divine father
your passion will embrace the life of love
which has been your gift
is destined to be the sweetest of all
the acceptance of love
the completeness of
Copyright 2008 Regina Y. Evans All Rights Reserved (From the published book Nonnie and the Butterfly)
today feels historic. i am not sure why but it feels as it the earth has been cut in two. top to bottom. revealing a beautiful golden wing of wisdom. and i am to climb upon its softness away (and beyond) to another space and zone. a place where i have never been. but it knows my name. it has been waiting for me. for many moons. patiently clinging to hope and wishing for my arrival. so, here i am now. at the threshold of another existence called part two.
i am as ready as i will ever be.
peace. be with me.
Copyright 2010 Regina Y. Evans All Rights Reserved
**i wrote this short story, The Treasure Hunt, many moons ago. it appears in my published book: Nonnie And The Butterfly. i love this story! so have a read (it is in three installments) and i hope that you enjoy it too!
The Treasure Hunt
I felt a tap of warm love on my shoulder. It was God: loving, tender, and filled with life. It was also about 2am in the morning! You see, God and I are friends. He is my Father, My Protector and My Great Love. But, yes, we have a very special friendship. Truth be told, God is just simply ALL THINGS. And, well, one of the many things that we love to do together is to play games! The beautiful morning hours are our special time together. Yep, just me and God. God and I. The two of us.
Well, this morning was no different from any other...apparently. "Wake up Reggie", He whispered into my ear. "Yes My Lord? I'm awake. I think," I said with sleep in my voice.
"I have something to ask you," He said as He handed me a cup of hot cocoa.
"Thanks God! May I have four marshmallows in my cocoa, please?" I asked.
"Yes Reg. Four?" He queried.
"Uh huh...four! Thank you!", I responded with a big chocolate smile.
As I sipped, God began to speak (well tried to anyway), "Reg...."
"Hey God", I interrupted, "would you like a sip?".
"No thank you Reg but I AM trying to ask you something. Are you listening or are you speaking? The choice of fewer words is always a wise one, by the way," He said. Then He reached to give me a love tap. Convicted with love! The story of my life with GOD.
"Forgive me God, I'm listening," I said.
"Well, I'd like to play another game with you," God stated.
"FOR SURE! Which one?" I asked excitedly.
"Treasure Hunt!" He said.
"Well, that sounds intriguing! I'm in!" I said through big gulps of cocoa.
"Follow me then", He said. He took my hand gently and I skipped after Him happily. Into the living room we went. "Okay, now close your eyes while I put everything for the Treasure Hunt into place," He said. As He was setting up and creating His game, I decided to say a little prayer. Well, I thought that it might give me a boost during the hunt!
I started, "Dear God, I ask you for your strength and wisdom...."
"No cheating!" God interrupted. "You have to do it all on your own."
"What? Why? How? I don't think that I know how to do anything on my own anymore God!!!!" I panicked.
"Just kidding, Reg!" He said as He roared with divine laughter.
"Yep. That's My God. The one with the huge sense of humour!" I said, shaking my head. "Very funny," I thought as He calmed my nerves.
Not too long after, I felt another one of God's love taps on my shoulder. "Open your eyes", He said. "It is time to seek and find your treasure!"
While this game sounded amazingly fun, at the same time, I was a bit perplexed. "Where do I start Lord?" I asked.
"At the beginning." He responded.
"Thanks God, that, was, erm, to the point. You are an Entity of few words indeed!" I sighed.
"Here, grab My Hand. I'll show you where to start. Right here. Start here."
"Okay, Forever thankful Lord", I said.
I looked to my left, then spun around with a flourish, as one does when one has a tendency to be dramatic, and looked right. Flourish or not, I still couldn't seem to find my way. I was lost already!
"Reg, right here," God said. "Look straight ahead and WALK the path which lies in front of you. But be careful as it is a bit narrow. Wise and calm will keep you in good stead."
As God had instructed, I looked, and walked, straight ahead. But after I took a few steps, and being the clumsy girl that I am, I started to tumble. "Whoa! GOD!" I screamed, dramatically, of course. In the blink of an eye, God reached out, stopped me from falling, and placed me back onto the narrow path. "Are you okay, Reg?" He asked as He looked over me lovingly for any bruising.
"Yes God. I am a little bit shaken, but I am fine. I knew you would catch me though! Thank you...again," I said.
I started off again. I then realised that, while I had an idea of what path to take, well, I had NO idea what I was searching for. "God, what is it exactly that I am searching for? What am I seeking?", I asked.
"TREASURE", He smiled.
Yes, He was certainly a God of few words, I thought to myself.
"I heard your thoughts just then young lady. Just remember: Those who have knowledge use words with restraint," He said.
"Please forgive me Dear Lord but one of my favourite verses says: Apply your heart to instruction, and your ears to words of knowledge," I said. "Can you please help me a bit more, Father?" I asked.
"Certainly! Ask no further! And, nice one by the way", He said. "You've been reading up on me. Good girl! Here, I will give you five clues of instruction:
1) You are looking for "a peace which surpassed all understanding",
2) you must show me the meaning of everlasting love,
3) you must discover humility,
4) you are to find "the calm in the storm". We will call it "contentment". And
5) you must bring patience to me in the palm of your hand."
"What?" I thought. He has thrown the gauntlet down for sure! What a challenge. Well, there are many things that I know about my God and one of those things is this: He is challenging but He never overloads me with things that I can't handle. And, when I am feeling tired I just simply cry out for a GOD-INFUSION (well, most times anyway!)! Yet in still, I was a little bit worried. I then heard God say "Look up!" And as I did, I read FAITH in His eyes. I was ready to begin. But first, I had somethings that I wanted to say to God. I prayed, "You are beautiful and you are amazing. Thank you ever so much for the lessons that I am sure to receive. Please open my heart, Dear Lord so that your knowledge, wisdom and compassion may freely flow into me. I love you. AMEN."
"I know that you love me, Reg", God said. (That made me smile. AMEN)
"Off you go then! Find your special PEACE!" God shouted gleefully. (cont)
I held my breath and began to believe that I could find my Godly treasures. My eyes were suddenly directed to the living room couch. There I saw my visiting Mother sleeping soundly. I walked over to her and looked down at her beautiful face. She looked like an angel. A small and delicate woman with a heart of gold and fire in her eyes. I placed my hand on her tummy.
"Here," I said to God. "Here it is....my Mommy's womb. It is where you created me. It is where I first remember feeling that "special" kind of peace: protected, loved, not afraid, bold, and free. You built this space, for me. With your Hand, God."
I said, "She used to sing to me you know?".
"Yes she did. A voice of an angel," said God. "Do you remember the song that I taught you to sing while you where in your Mother's womb?" He asked.
"Yes Lord, I remember. Everyday at 6am, I think it was, you gave me a singing lesson! I would wake and you would sing in the most beautiful and calming of voices: If I rise on the wings of the dawn, If I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, Your right hand will hold me fast." I said. "It is still my favourite Psalm."
"So, yes, God, my mother's womb. I think it is the peace that surpasses all understanding. Am I correct?" I asked.
"You have done well Reg." God said with a kiss. "Now onto your second task: everlasting love."
"Oh, everlasting LURVVVVVE!" I said as I looked off dreamily. I looked over to find God shaking His head in amusement. "Reg, the everlasting love that you are seeking in this Treasure Hunt is NOT of this world." He explained. "It is a love that does not require a return, it is free flowing, seeking and wanting only the best for another. It is selfless and giving. It is patient and kind. This is the love that you are seeking." He said.
"Oh!", I said, a bit startled. "I was thinking that you were speaking about the kind of love that you see in the movies! You know...passionate kisses, strolls in the park, candlelight dinners!"
"No Reg. I'm talking about AGAPE. My love. It is the kind of love that is unconditional, spontaneous, and continual. No strings attach. An IN DWELLING." He said.
"Oookay!" I said, trying desperately to look as if I understood.
"Don't worry Reg" God said. "I think that you will do just fine Let's begin."
At that point, I started twirling for some reason. Twirling, twirling, and twirling some more. Waves of childlike laughter overwhelmed me. I was just having the best time! When I became dizzy...I stopped. I stood right in front of a picture of a lil gurl with God in her eyes. "SARAH!", I yelled out! That's why I was twirling! Sarah was THE PRINCESS OF TWIRLING! It was her favorite thing. Sarah could twirl ANYWHERE. At the beach, on the Opera House stairs, in stores, and on sidewalks. It was all the same to her! And she did it with a smile filled with laughter. Nor did she care if she fell over into a joyous heap!
Well, there she was, smiling back at me in the most beautiful picture that I have ever seen. I picked it up and kissed it. Let me tell you something about my friend Sarah. The fruit of The Spirit? The beautiful characteristics that we see in Christ? Yep, she has them all (well, as much as any human angel could have at least!): joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control." Her whole being exuded the LOVE OF GOD.
I caught my breath. Could it be Sarah? Was SHE everlasting love? "GOD! I found it! Everlasting love. It is here! Right here in my lil angel friend Sarah! " I said.
"Sarah is the treasure. AM I right God?"
God looked at me, smiled and we both cried ot together "ITS ALL LOVE!". I fell into His arms bent over in laughter and joy! I had found it...everlasting love. Not candlelight dinners and walks through the park but TRUE LOVE. God's love!
And there I was holding a picture of the little girl who possessed the spirit so profoundly and deeply AND I was in GOD'S arms! A very delicious moment in time.
After a while, God gently guided me to the middle of the living room floor again. "What's the next treasure to find God?"
"Humility." He said. "And I'd like for you to search in here."
I looked over and saw Him placing, on the floor, the most beautiful treasure chest imaginable. It reminded me of one that a Pirate would have been happy to find as he sailed the deep blue seas on his journey. "What is this, God?" I asked.
"It is where I keep my very special mementos," He said. "Here, have a look. See what you can find. Just be gentle. You will find that humility is delicate in many ways. However, at it core you will find true and great strength."
At that point I saw a beautiful light in His eyes. "Wow" I thought. "Whatever I am looking for must be truly special to God. And loved."
I began to search through God's very own personal momentos. Tucked away in the corner, at the bottom, I saw a glowing beautiful cloth. I picked it up and proceeded to unwrap it. What was inside took my breath away. It was the most loving pair of eyes that I had ever seen. I took them out of their protective covering and placed first one, and then the second one on the palm of my hand. I raised my hand to eye level and peered into them. They were strikingly deep of in colour. Like God's night sky with twinkling stars. Kind, meek, gentle, and strong. Humility pervaded them. Yes, this is what I was seeking. Humility. Right there. In a pair of eyes which looked like the sparkling dark ocean's surface. A Pirate's delight. A true treasure.
I turned to God, knelt on my knees, bowed my head, and lifted my hand to Him so He could view the eyes. I said softly, "Lord, I think that these are the most humble eyes that I have ever encountered. Is this the treasure?"
"Yes, Reg, and aren't they beautiful?" He asked.
"Yes Lord. Please take them. These eyes should be with you always." I said.
"Yes Reg. You are correct. They normally are. I placed them in your path so that you could partake in their beauty. So that you could "see"." He said.
With that, God gently picked up THE EYES and placed them in His heart.
"There Reg, now they are in the proper place and you had a chance to know of their humility and beauty too." I am pleased.
Then, just as suddenly, the wind began to kick up a great fuss in the living room. A mighty storm was brewing in the ceiling above! I looked around to find God but He had disappeared. No matter, I knew that He was still with me. I felt myself being tossed to and fro, back and forwards, and side to side. I tried to scramble under the table but the wind tossed it over and onto on its top. BOOM! A crash of thunder! Lightning and rain filled the room. The wind began to toss me toward the glass sliding door strongly. I was frightened.
"GOD! HELP ME! PLEASE!" I screamed.
"Stand up." I heard a calm voice whisper.
"WHAT??? No way. I'm scared!!!"
"STAND UP!" the voice repeated itself. This time a bit louder.
So, I attempted to stand...wobbling uneasily to my feet. Eventually, I stood. Upright and stable. Right in the middle of the worse storm that one could ever experience in their very own living room!
I began to feel a calmness envelop me. The winds were still raging, the thunder clapping, and the rains pouring. But there I stood. Tall, fearless, and unbowed.
I STOOD STILL. "Yes, I see" I said. "This must be contentment." There is was. Right in the middle of the storm. "Is this it, God?" I yelled over the storms loud clamour. "Is this contentment?"
In an instant the storm subsided. "Yes Reg, contentment it is. Never forget that serenity can be found in the most difficult of times. Just call My Name. I am always with you." He then looked through my eyes and said, "It's simple, lean on me always. My grace is sufficient for you. My power is made perfect in weakness."
Then God said, "One more Reg. And My will be done. It is time for you to seek PATIENCE."
"Oh no!" I groaned. "God, really, I don't think that I can find patience."
"Have you learned nothing my child? No, YOU can't find patience. You have tried for 43 years. Your power lies within me. It is there that you will be able to find patience. BY MY SPIRIT," God boomed.
"And by the way, your grumbling is becoming a little bit annoying regarding this issue of patience. I am teaching you a lesson because I LOVE YOU. It is not my intention to hurt you. THAT, in fact, is impossible." God gently then gave me a love tap. Convicted with love. AGAIN!
Truth be told, I still had a grumbling spirit as I went off in pursuit of patience. It had eluded me for most of my life. Why should it be any different now? And, really, I just didn't "feel" like trying to find it AGAIN. Well, as they say, FAITH is not a feeling. It is just something that you do. So I decided to stand on faith and upon God's grace. He had been so good to me. What was there to lose? And besides, He was the BEST playmate that a girl could EVER have! Straight ahead I walked. Onto the narrow path.
I searched high and low...for hours. I looked under the couch (trying not to wake my mother who was still fast asleep.) searched behind all of the books on the shelf, and looked behind all of the pictures on the wall. Well, PATIENCE was NO WHERE TO BE FOUND. I searched again. Over and over. EVERYWHERE. I even called it's name, "PATIENCE, come out, come out, where ever you are." It kept hiding.
Much like a spoiled child I stomped my foot (twice, even) in frustration, and plonked down on the floor. Right in front of GOD. I gave Him my best scowl-arms-folded-one-eyebrow-up look.
"Lord", I said exasperated.
"Yes", He of few words replied.
"I simply can't find it!" I pouted.
"Well, what do you do when you can't find something, Reg?", God asked.
"Umm, pray?" I answered.
"OH, and ask! But not before praising your Holy and blessed name, of course!" I said with excitement.
"HALLELUJAH!!!" God roared.
He then reached for my hand and placed PATIENCE right into its palm!!! There it was. Staring at me. Right in my face!
"LORD?" I said.
"YES." He replied.
"Well, no disrespect meant, but it seems kinda' small. In fact, I can hardly see it." I said, humbly, of course.
"Yes, my love. You must believe Me when I tell you that a little bit of my patience goes a very long way!" He chuckled (for some reason). "It is all that you need. It is much like having a mustard seed of FAITH."
"Of course, Lord. Thank you ever so much."
Then God picked up all of my treasures that He had bequeathed to me, tied them together with a big purple bow, and placed them into my heart. (You may remember that I had previously lost my heart to God during another round of game playing! He has been lovingly growing it ever since.)
Well, I was spent. God gently picked me up and placed me in His lap. He said "I love you and you have done well!"
"And you, my child, are one of MY treasures." He then rocked me back to sleep.
ps There is no moral to this story...but I do have a suggestion. Should God come to you with a cup of cocoa at 2am in the morn, make sure that you jump out of your bed with joy and happiness. After all, who knows what GODLY treasures you may find? And don't forget the marshmallows!
*i really love this poem and what it says to me. i wrote it some time ago. but, sho nuff it is singing in my ear..in this moment! i m currently enjoying (really enjoying) reconnecting with my family. restoration. dancing into a new space. i feel loved and wanted. needed even. it is so funny how we as individuals bloom into the whole once we soak in the life of being loved. knowing love. it feels safe. and i also feel like i have room to flap my creative wings. gratitude. that is what is roaming within me. gratitude.
plain and simple.
Copyright 2010 Regina Y. Evans, All Rights Reserved (from the book, Nothing Cool About Ten, available now on http://www.smashwords.com/)
**from time to time i will post reckonings. these reckonings are lil glimpses of my poetry. all the above have been taken from bigger pieces of my poetry and tweaked a bit. basically, whatever catches the eyes of my heart in the moment. there are 5 reckonings for today. five is the number of grace. today i just feel like smiling.
Copyright 2010 Regina Y. Evans All Rights Reserved
A child needs to find security in the trust of another who is there to protect, guide, affirm and love him. This trust forms the foundations of his personality and it allows him to develop self-assurance and confidence. It gives him stability, strength and a set of beliefs which allow him little by little to welcome and integrate reality, to discover who he is and what are his roots, language, religion, values and family traditions. Knowing who he is, he can then discover who he is called to become. - Jean Vanier, Our Journey Home,p.84
today i am just thinking about how much does someone love. ever gotten weary of "loving?" i have. from head to toe.
i woke up thinking about this lovin' thing and then read a post from my friend JOY (that's her nickname cus she is awesome!) and that just confirmed it. i have made choices in love, friendship and life to lay myself bare. and ya'll know what happens when you assume that posture. you are a magnet for it all: the good and the bad. and often the downright ugly. and so many times the gorgoeusly sweet! so, yes, i've been poorly treated and i have been amazingly loved.
in my older age, i fasten on tightly to the notion of choice. i have a choice to walk away from someone's bullshit cus "they tripping". or I have a choice to stick around and see what kinda crazycrap or compassionatezeal has taken up residence in their being. or to just stay and learn love and be love. or just leave and learn love and be love. choice. its a trip, isn't it?! either way, i learn about myself. my failings, my strengths. whatever the case may be. it is a time of growth.
i have recently begun a journey of reconnecting with my family. and this is a journey that i choose willingly to remain upon. through it all. good. and the aweful! so we will see! my choice, i chose. wisely. blood is blood.
yesterday my big sis gave me a new pair of shoes. as she handed them to me she said "You will be able to walk long distances in these. They are very comfortable." And, yes, they are comfortable and quite fabulous to look upon. So, why the shoe story? Well, for me it was a beautiful moment. Something I would have missed out on if i had made the choice of "turning the key" in another direction. And, big sis/lil sis minutes are just special. everyone knows that!
is there a moral to this story? yes...sometimes you gotta know when ta hold 'em, know when to fold 'em. know when to walk away and know when to walk long. In your sister's shoes.
live your life.
** Watch out every Tuesday Morning for my new series called This Thing. The series is on "the truth of the matter" of life. This is the first installment. Feel free to leave thoughts, comments, or impressions.
Check out my friend's, Jason Stevens, Australian television show! What a trooper! I have know Jason for some time now and can vouch for him that he is an awesome kinda guy. One of Australia's gems for sure. I am so inspired by how he has held onto his dreams until fulfillment. The show also features his beautiful wife Beck (who is awesome in her own right and together they make a WOWZAA gorgeous and talented team!) They also rock because they have both stepped up as a team to aid in the fight against sex trafficking. Jason and Beck helped to bring the movie Call and Response (a movie bringing awareness to sex trafficking) to Australia. I believe that they hosted an awareness event/fundraiser for the movie. Also, I believe, that they are involved with additional fundraising efforts on behalf of sex trafficked victims.
Check out the first Big J's Place show at the link below:
"To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else—means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight." e. e. cummings
I came across this quote on a tweet by Chad Hymas. Now here is a man, I reckon, who has an amazing journey and knows a bit of the things of life. Check out part of his bio:
"At the age of 27, Chad Hymas' life changed instantaneously when an accident left him a quadriplegic. Since that time Chad has been recognized by the state of Utah as the Superior Civilian of the Year. He is the president of his own communications company and an internet marketing company. As a member of the National Speakers Association Chad travels as many as 150,000 miles a year speaking to hundreds of professional and civic organizations such as Wells Fargo, Blue Cross Blue Shield, AT&T, Rainbird, IHC, American Express, Prudential Life, Vast FX, Zion Securities, and others."
What a treat is was for my heart to read such a quote from a man who has overcome incredible odds to be who he was destined to be. Be encouraged.
ps i placed the picture of the eagle walking because we love the whole idea and symbolism of eagles soaring but i also find it fascinating and unique (because we don't see nor think of it much!) that eagles can actually walk strong too! and the fab MC Hammer always says: DO THE EAGLE WALK! Regina translation: Keep on truckin! in spite of!
"There is something you must always remember: You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." - Pooh
*I saw this quote on a To Write Love On Her Arms (TWLOHA) tweet. Check out the organization. TWLOHA is a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide. Here is their website link: http://www.twloha.com/
No matter how many bumps or bruises. No matter the heartache and pain. Life bequeaths to you a certain set of giftings and talents. And those things are unique to you. They can never be stripped. I find that quite fascinating.
Oftentimes as I am going through a healing process, when I am completely and utterly raw...I turn towards my giftings: writing and designing clothes. For me, these places are a calm space of worship to Christ. Because He placed those things uniquely in my hands. For me. And they will flow through me in my own Christ inspired way. Always.
I reckon that is cool. Seems like there is something rather warm about TEN.
I looked up to see a girl tryin' ta act like what she thought a woman of today should be actin' like. Tough, armour on. The words street cred come to mind.
"I beg your pardon?" I stammered out.
"I said you budda." she said a bit louder with drawn out vowels. As if the elevation of sound would trigger the knowing.
I stared at her blankly, searchingly.
She then cranked out a larger than life laugh and said, "I like what you wearin'. Budda. You budda." She shrugged.
"Oh. Umm, thanks. Budda. Yes." I gulped.
Conversation sprung forth cus of "budda". Right there. In a Harlem grocery store.
She seemed a bit young to be out in the middle of the day. So, my mouth said what my mind thought.
"Why aren't you in school? Don't you go to school? Its 1 o'clock."
"Did I just say that?" my brain mused.
Well, it was too late to back it right up. I stood my ground. I stared intently. Right into the swimming pools of living waters that she knew only as her eyes.
In query's moment I was sure that I heard a crack.
"Was that her heart?" I wondered.
Shift. Answered. Yes, it was.
Soft terseness spilled from her face.
She spoke, "Well, I, well, my Momma don't worry about it so I don't neither. Why you care anyway? What's it to you?"
I paused a moment. Wondering "Truth. What was it to me?"
"I care because I care about young beautiful girls who should be taking advantage of ALL their opportunities in life. How else do you plan to rule the world? You can't do it on fumes! You need to go to school!"
More softness of face.
Side stepped. She imagined.
"You live around here?" Her.
"Yes, when I am in the country." Me.
When you in the country?" Her, again.
"Yes, when I'm in the country. I spend most of the year in Australia. Ever been there?" Me, last shot.
And with that the newness of a relationship was birthed. Whenever I stepped to the Black Mecca called Harlem, Budda (me) and Budda's friend (her) would spend many evenings sittin' on my Brownstone stoop. Engaged in life. Relationship.
She brought her friends. I brought the chips and red soda. Laughter, questions, stories, passions, dreams. Revealed. Healed. Our individual broken cisterns mended a bit more by the touch of hands. Fingerprints of life. Required.
Note: Sometimes in life, in a split second, we have the opportunity to dive head first into the heart of the matter. Love. May you run like you have never run before and chase like you have never chased before. Discover her. Discover you.
Copyright 2010 Regina Y. Evans All Rights Reserved (from the book "Nothing Cool About Ten")
I can remember the first time my eyes set upon the crevices and valleys of Miss Charlotte's face. It was 1996 and I was hanging out in one of Sydney's posh lil areas called Double Bay (or Double Pay as it is cheekily known locally). Double Bay. An area of try-hards as far as I could tell. Littered with "fashionistas" wearing the latest of the lately thing that only those in the know would wear. As of late.
I found myself captivated with Miss. Charlotte. I yearned to know "the reasons why" of her being. I wanted to know how she learned to sip her tea with her lips pursed so delicately. My own tea sipping always ended with wet dribbles down my chin and onto my slightly wrinkled tee shirt.
Intrigue grabbed my spirit and whispered, "Perfectly coiffed, extraordinarily turned out, who/why/how is that lady?"
I could not walk past her table without searching her out. Or could I?
Did you know that sometimes feet have a thought process of their own?
Off I zoomed. Over to her table. I stood. Said bravely "Hello. Ummm, I'm Reggie and I was just wondering who you are? Are you a model or something?"
There. I had introduced myself. I watched her as she watched me. Watching her. A slow smile drew up the corners of her mouth. Silk unfurled out of her mouth, "My name is Charlotte and, no, I am not a model. I am 82 years old. And, darling, that is two years past the cut off age for modelling these days."
The air stopped dead in its tracks.
"Would you like to join me for a cup of tea?" she asked. Head ever so slightly tilted to the side.
Sometimes in life God sends you an angel who won't highlight the silliness that floats out of your mouth.
"Of course. No I meant...were you a model......when you were young....."
"Would you like to join me" she repeated.
I sat. Still.
That was our first meeting. Over the course of the years Miss Charlotte and I spent a gorgeous amount of minutes together. Chatting, sipping tea (she taught me her non dribbling techniques), laughing and shopping. I learned of her years as a youngster growing up in Germany. I was caressed by the chapters of her life spent in America. She was a lover of passion. A world traveller. She reigned before her time. No man ruled over her. She went where she wanted to go and did what she wanted to do. The sky was her very own canvas, playtoy. A woman after my own heart. Selah.
I loved her smile and the twinkling blue stars which floated out of her irises. She was prone to tottering to the left a little bit as she walked. So, we often found ourselves strolling down the streets of Sydney arm in arm. Resting a bit of her weight upon my being. I felt protective.
She and I, Miss Charlotte and me. We enjoyed each other. The sublimeness of good company and friendship. Joy.
But, there was one small issue. A tiny glitch. Perhaps some would refer to it as a problem. I will leave that for you to decide. You see, I learned early on that Miss Charlotte had a habit of saying such things as "Reggie darling even though you are dark black you are very beautiful". And it continued "You have such big fluffy lips." And the dreaded "Your behind is rather large. Round. Very round. Is that common for Negro girls?"
To make matters worse it seemed that in her sunset years Miss Charlotte would often forget that she had already spun me dry with her series of queries and "compliments". My visits to what I quietly nicknamed "The Black Ditch Of Miss Charlotte" left me quizzical. But, I went. Many times. I answered. I responded. Again and again. "Thank you for complimenting my chocolate drop colored skin, Miss Charlotte" Over and over. 'Yes Ma'am my lips are gloriously full." Round and round again. "Yes, black women are world renown to be beautifully curvy, Miss Charlotte."
My mouth's work burned my ear drums. Everytime.
Here is the thing.
I had really grown to love my beautiful friend. I ran head first into the details of her kaleidoscope exploits. I could not get enough of her stories of she-strength. I learned. I breathed in a new slice of existence because of Miss Charlotte.
So, what was I to do?
Sometimes one has to take life for what it is. And what it was...was this: A beautiful woman, loving and kind. That was one hand. And then on the other hand she possessed this, this...thing called prejuidice.
My decision. My choice.
I chose life. Relationship. In spite of.
We met. Together. On common ground. A place of High Tea, Life Journeys, Anticipated Chats, and Afternoon Strolls.
And, yes, more than occasionally we criss crossed and danced around each. At that place.
"Sometime in life we have to hold each other's hand through all the bullshit and just go for the gold."
Miss Charlotte. She taught me that.
Copyright 2010 Regina Y. Evans All Rights Reserved (from the book "Nothing Cool About Ten")
Prada, Gucci, but sportin' those twins Poly and Ester,
which, by the by, is okay, fine, great, who cares?
But squish thinkin' i'm stupid, not with it,
cus i shop thrift, old, secondthirdfourth hand.
Sport an afro, natural gurl.
Not into the big red church hats
and they ain't into me.
I'm just doin' my thang.
Searching, finding, securing
the who of who i am.
See me? See.
dude tried ta mentally beat the me outta me.
i Jet. ted. faster than wind blows.
not as gentle tho.
Yo! Bishshup! Bishshup!
You don been
Check. and. Mate.
*Haha! Well, my book has a section on the guys that I have dated. i reckon I was pretty pissed off when I wrote this piece! Gosh, I know how to pick 'em, eh?? Welcome to Da Bishshup. And here's to growth. His and mine. Can I get an Amen?
(Copyright 2010 Regina Y. Evans All Rights Reserved (from the book "Nothing Cool About Ten")
Thanksgiving was a special day. Sounds cliche? Well, here's the deal. Thanksgiving 2010 was a day that my family came together after many years of being fractured. This after many prayers whispered into the ear of heaven from healing friends with names such as Bev, Rellie and Cassandra. So, yes. A miracle. I reckon. The afternoon found me helping my Mom prepare her "stuck her foot in it" candy yams for some of the homeless and hungry beloved of our city. Later, we floated over to a beaut of a restaurant to dip into a magical evening of shared laughter and fine dining. My family was not alone at the table. Somewhere during the beginning of the dining adventure Joy sat down and unfolded a menu of delight. The pleasure was all ours. Alas, we saw, up close and personal, that there is indeed room at the table. For All and Whomsoever. Selah.
For me, one of the most amazing gems of the nuit was the venue. A gorgeous restaurant which sits upon the shores of the beautiful lake in our city. And, wondrously so, the restaurant is the former site of the old Lake House. From back in the day. I'm talking history, now. Willie Brown and Ron Dellums as young men, back in the day. A place where the Alpha's and Aka's, Deltas, Omega's used to gather and have dances (and other community events). For those of you who know the history of Black Greek organizations you will understand the feel of that statement. My Mom told me that it was the place where my Dad courted her! My Dad was the president of his undergraduate chapter of Alphas when they were in college. "The Black, Black and Old Gold!"
So, there we sat, soaking in the lovely view. And an extra bonus? I was able to step upon a bit of my Mom's own personal legacy. Literally. You see, the restaurant is owned by the city. And run by an amazing restaurateur. Because it is owned by the city, several organizations pitched in to help develop this slice of beauty. Two of those organizations are Goodwill and Rotary. My Mother is the first woman and first non white person to Chair (Internationally) Goodwill. And she is very active in Rotary in our city (heading its finance committee at one time, amongst other committees).
As we walked down the steps of the restaurant to our family Thanksgiving dinner she stopped us and pointed to the pavement. The pavement has plaques in the shape of oak leaves that have the names of people who helped to contribute to the restoration of this restaurant and its surroundings. And we looked. And there I saw my Mom's name: Dr. Rosemay S. Darden. It literally took my breath away for a moment.
I suppose to some this seems like a small thing. An oak leaf with a name. My Mom, afterall, has conference rooms across America named after her, her name appears on the slate of funders for Berkeley Black Rep, she is friends with several African Dignitaries, has broken ground on huge complexes all around the USA, briefed President Bush, sat with President Obama at a "thank you for donating all of your whole lotta money" type of event in San Francisco (An aside: One is best advised to not speak ill of our esteemed President in my Mother's ear shot. She cried when he was elected. She still is, afterall, a lil black girl from Mobile, Alabama. On the inside. She remembers the times that she was told "No, you can't." She never listened. Neither did President Obama. They are kindred spirits. Apparently.)
Anyway I digress. Back to the point. My Mother. Her achievements (and the oak leaf). My Mom is "that chick". Tenacious, like fire, a do-er, quietly compassionate. Success.
So, there I stared at this plaque. In the shape of an oak leaf. Small in comparison to her many achievements. Why was I smiling like a child with a handful of special lollipops?
One word. Legacy. Left behind in the city where I was born. My city. My Mom's oak leaf represents a place where I can always go. And remember. I can remember her strength...against the voices who told her she was not to be. Her perseverance against all odds. And I can smile. Because, as wild as she is, the Lord carried her over and above. She is a feisty eagle.
Yesterday, I realized that I am the continuation of my Mother's flight. Like the extraordinary Aviator Amelia Earhart my Mom's life has been filled with challenges and adventures. And like Earhart, shecontinues to live a life that believes: "The most effective way to do it, is to do it."*
Yes. Yesterday was special. Historic even. Because I heard differently and perhaps for the first time.
"Welcome home, Regina." Yours truly, the Oak Leaf.