Six days into 2008 and let me ask you, how are things fairing with you? Okay, Okay, I know I said that my motto is 2008 is going to be great! I meant it when I wrote it. I still mean it now…I think. Sure, of course, I still mean it. What am I talking about?
I know, things have been pretty rough these first four days of 2008. Just about anything that can happen seems to be happening around my ‘la casa’. I’ve been tempted, more than once, over these past four days to say, forget it, I’m fed up, I’m in over my head, and all of that negative hogwash. But as I’ve been sifting through tons of emails, catching up on reading blogs, trying to honor my commitments (like writing this blog for one) and venturing into new things in life, I am slowly regaining my strength. You see, readers, God has a way of dealing with me and I’m sure he has his own way of dealing with you too. I’ve fallen down so many times, literally and spiritually. My face has been rubbed in the mud of life and I’ve been bruised along the way. But, I can gladly say that no matter how bad the fall, how much it stings (no it down right hurts), God enables me to get back up. He extends his hand out to my griping, complaining, whining, doubting self, and He pulls me back to my feet. Whew, am I glad I know the man.
What would I do if God treated me like I treat him sometimes? You know what I mean, don’t you? Let me break it down a little more. What if people treated us like we treated them? Don’t pretend like you’re always treating folks right. Don’t act like you haven’t gossipped behind someone’s back or even been two-faced a time or two or three? Don’t act like a little envy and jealousy has never creeped up in your life toward another. Don’t act like you’ve always been on top. So again, I pose the question, what if folks treated us like we treat them?
I don’t know about you, but I would not like it. Yes, I do try my best to be kind, compassionate, friendly and nice toward other people – those who are less fortunate than me and those who have already accomplished some of the things I desire to accomplish. But, I am not always a kind person. Sometimes I get down and out and sometimes I look at others and say, ‘why not me?’ Thanks to God that he has a way of bringing me back to reality. I love me and I love me in spite of my inperfections, my shortcomings, my stumbles and my falls. I love me even though I said the start of my 2008 hasn’t been so great. I should bind my lips right now! (lol)
How can I dare say 2008 hasn’t been great, when I’m living, breathing, moving around, talking, writing, fussing, tripping and some more stuff. So many people are not here to witness the beginning of a new year. Some are here physically but their mental capacities are null and void. Some are here homeless and without a place to lay their heads. Which reminds me of a young lady and her dog. Yes, I said a young lady and her dog.
Just the other day, I was putting my only three dollars into my gas tank (Okay, laugh if you want to, turn up your nose at me if you want to, but be thankful if you’ve never been down to your last). A gallon of regular – number 87, only cost an astronomical $3.02, so I didn’t get quite a gallon! But there was a young lady sitting at the gas station in bitter cold weather. It was about 27 degrees in Memphis at that time. She had the cutest little dog in the car with her, along with piles of clothes, crumbs of food spread around inside. She stopped me and asked if I wanted her dog. Those of you who know me, already know that I am an animal lover. Main, I wanted to say yes so badly, but I told her, no, because I didn’t know how my two felines would react if I brought home a new friend without talking it over with them first. (lol) She let me pet him, and he licked my hand as if saying, ‘It’s okay, you can take me.” She went on to explain that he was housebroken and he had just turned a year old recently. “He gets along well with other animals,” she said, looking at me with sad eyes, hurting eyes, homeless eyes.
I asked her why she was giving away such a cute little dog. Her answer,” I can’t take care of him anymore. I’m living in my car. I have no where to sleep and I can’t do it anymore.” Gosh, my heart was touched. And I’m complaining about having only 3 bucks to put in my car? I’m complaining how 2008 hasn’t started off so great? I’m complaining that my light bill is due and my phone bill too. Yet, I have a roof over my head, heat in my car and at home. More than enough to eat. Family, friends and people who love me enough to never let me get completely down and out. This pretty, young lady who appeared to be in her mid twenties was homeless. I was so touched by her, that I gave her my phone number (cell phone number because the home phone had just been disconnected). Yep, no shame anymore – my home phone was disconnected for the first time in thirty years. Talking about ‘shame’ and worrying what people are going to say about me now? Soon got over that when I couldn’t come up with the funds to keep it on and pride wasn’t going to let me go holding my hand out for a ‘loan.” Anyway, what’s the big deal? I said I gave her my cell phone number. That means that I still had a working phone. How ungrateful can I be? I’m crying over a phone being disconnected when I’m walking around with a cell phone glued to my ear. The things we worry about? Forgive me, Lord.
Anyway, getting back to the young lady and the dog. I told her to please call me if she wanted a place warm to sleep. I explained to her that I didn’t have any money, and she didn’t ask me for any. But had I had some, I would have at least tried to get her a room for the night. Some of you might say I was stupid to offer this stranger a place to lay her head when there’s so much crime going on in the world. She could be running a scam, or she could be trying to set me up to do harm to me. I don’t know.
Maybe I should have told her to find a shelter or something. Maybe I should have told her that she ought to call on her friends or surely she has some family to take her in. But I said none of that. My mind didn’t go in that direction. I couldn’t think about any of that. All I thought about was, “There but by the grace of God go I.” You see, it could be me, you, our children, our family or friends on the street. It could be you, though you’re way up today, things can happen so suddenly that you can come crashing down today.
Her plight made me so thankful for my life. I am so thankful for the opportunity to live. I am so thankful and full of gratitude for being allowed to hang around a little bit longer. 2008 – IS already Great . Even better things are on the way. I just know it.’
So step out into faith today. Lend a hand to someone in need. Show a little more gratitude, and alot less attitude. Be more compassionate, and more sensitive. Stop worrying about those things which are beyond your control, even if you may be the blame for some of the things you’ve gotten yourself into. None of us are perfect. Believe me. Stop focusing on what you don’t have, how you messed up, what if you had done this, or you should have done that. Time out for that. Move beyond the past. do what can be done to make things better. I know that I am. Until the next time! Remember that You Are Blessed!
Shelia E. Lipsey, Into Each Life Literary Q&A