Tuesday, 14 May 2013 18:06

Facing Jordan

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"You got the river of Jer-don, to cross.  Thank God you got the river of Jer-don, to cross.  Just take Jesus as your guide an' He will car-ree you the-ere.  You've got the river, of Jer-don, to cross."  

This song was just another gospel song to me until I looked out and realized that my feet were approaching my own personal River Jordan. Under the Old Law Jordan is a place of miracles and it is seen as movement from enslavement to freedom.  Under the New Law it becomes a place of renewal and spiritual cleansing.  Jesus is baptized in the River Jordan.  Under both laws and in the songs of African Americans the Jordan is the site of transformation from the old life to the new.  Jesus crossed the river many times as did others in the Old Testament.  I take this to mean that there are constant stages along the way.  We have one life and we move on, sometimes alone and sometimes mercifully with good company, into a new way of thinking, living, loving and breathing in a new type of freedom.  The river is always moving, always changing, and it has been said that no man steps into the same river twice.  So we must always be aware of the only constant of life and that is change.  

Moving on when forgiveness is not requested and you will not be vindicated, believed or validated. I'm looking for inspirational quotes, religious verses, stories, which will help me in my journey to move from a painful past when the other person will not ask for forgiveness or will not make an attempt to make me "whole." What do you do when someone has lied on you to the point where it has been manifest in dozens of important relationships and that person lacks the courage to make it right?  I'm stuck at this stage.  I don't know what to do.  My soul detests stagnation and that's exactly what I'm doing right now.  I'm engaging in an activity of which I have no delight.  There's no logic to it.  And it's wasting something I cannot fabricate on my own:  time.  

We say, "forgive and forget." How do you keep forgiving someone who keeps doing the same things? How do you forgive someone who is so very destructive that even contact with someone who KNOWS that person can sometimes be so very emotionally draining? There are toxic people and those people need to be left alone. I think there are times when we can sit down with each other and say, "tell me your story, what's wrong?" And try to hear them out. That's called compassion. But do I allow my compassion to be a weapon used against me? I don't think so. 

My granma said, "honey they talked about Jesus Christ and took his life. Who is you that it cain't happen to you?" I said, "I'm not Jesus." She said, "We all gon' have to go through something and as long as the Lawd knows...." I'm dealing with this right now. God knows. I know. Isn't that all that matters. 

How do you deal with a person who honestly believes that they are above any type of morality, ethics or religion? That they are justified in their actions? I don't know and that's why I'm asking you.  A wise man says, "they way they would deal with you."  I know he's right but I cannot.  I just can't.  It's like I have some kind of chip inserted in my program which keeps me from making these types of decisions until it's too late.  Too much time has been lost.  Too many words spoken.  Too many actions unquestioned and insults unaccounted for.  Too many times biting my tongue and too many times averting my eyes.  Too many days spent in forced amnesia.  Too little time or energy to go back and make it right.  

I have a good friend, close friend, who I respect and admire to the highest levels. But I hesitate to call the person friend because I'm a friend to them and they're using me. I know the person is using me. But I don't feel used. I feel so sorry for them. I've watched this person over many years and this is how they learned to survive from a very early age. It would take a miracle to get them to even be made TO KNOW that they're doing wrong to their own self.  I should have said that I feel they're using me.  I've never been told I love you and I thank you from this person requires at least two high calibre weapons pointed in the same direction.  I've asked myself, "how did they get this way?"  I should have asked how did I come to be someone who would tolerate an association without mutual admiration.  

I'm at a point where the person is a drain on my spirit. Tired of being tired in general. Thank God I only know two people like this. Both of them, on both of them, I'd rather close the door. But here's the thing. I'd feel so bad if I did because both of them need me. Have you ever been cussed out on one day and had a tearful, recalcitrant child hold your hand and ask a type of backhanded forgiveness on the next? I have. Over and and over again.  As I said before, I'm tired.  Should I stop it or should I go off and re-charge and come back ready to do battle again? I don't know.  I'm not that smart.  

In both situations. One man and one woman. There's no drug abuse. No beating. No joblessness. Just spirit. I'm getting to the point where I look for signs of the soul and I'm so conflicted when I take a moment to reflect on my two old friends.  They are right next to me and I'm looking out at the river.  Knowing in all of me that I'm so very ready for rebirth and renewal and wanting desperately to finally have them tell me that I'm loved, worthy, and to not feel that feeling I get when I know I'm being lied to.  And to not have the feeling that I get when I know I've been lied to and said nothing.  I'm desperate to cross that river.  

And now granma's voice mocks me, "I though you said you wasn't Jesus?" She's right. I'm not. Daphne E. Brown says I have to give them over to God. That woman and that man. I'm not Jesus. I cannot give them a Heaven and I cannot send them to hell. And as long as they have me around being blind to their actions and deaf when it comes to rebuking them, in a friendly way, they will continue to have justification. 

I realized that I am part of their problem. I respect both people to tell them off (unless I take a sip and now everyone knows that my kidneys won't stand for that anymore).  However, it's going to take some time because my love is so strong. For some reason, I don't love many and I don't love lightly. I am affectionate with most people as I truly love to give hugs and compliments. But my love? When I look in your eyes and tell you I love you, just the two of us, no one else. I'm not lying, trying to 'get' you, or playing. As I said before my love is strong.  And yet another song plays in my head: 

"I thought we'd stay to see forever but forever has gone away..."  Humans don't own forever.  All we have is now.  I can't keep mortgaging my tomorrows with today. 

So now, going forward, the challenge is NOT unloving these two folks but examining how I love myself. How I expect to be treated. How do I treat myself? That's what I need to work on. Not those other folks. They doing good. They had me to always rely on when they needed a smile. A dirty story. A dance to some new music. Some bad food. A pack of smokes. A hug. A kiss. A cry. A bottle of vodka or some other little delicious gift. A hand to hold. 

If I love you as long as I'm able to hear when you call my name you won't be hungry, cold, or lonely. That may not seem like a lot to you but it is the world to some. Nor even dirty or ragged. I believe in giving my best to my best. But not when it's taken for granted and my kindness is taken for weakness.  That's a great gift I inherited from my granma's river crossings and from my own.  You see I know what it's like to be all of the above and have to fight my way out of it alone.  Sometimes it was my own fault and sometimes I was an innocent victim but that river washed me clean of the notion that it was someone else's duty or my right to take things from folks that I had not earned.  I've been robbed.  Emotionally, physically, and spiritually and we got to the gospel library once again: 

"Well I would not, be a robber.  And I'll tell, you the reason why.  I'd be so afraid the Lord would call me and I'd be so afraid to die."  

I have my dignity and my pride.  I don't chase bunnies 'round the greyhound track. Some folks will do that. They know you want them to change so you two can love together and I'm not talking bout the girlfriend/boyfriend paradigm. Some of you all have mothers who promise not to go to the casino and some of you have fathers who promised to come to your games. Then they promised to come to the grandkids games....  And when you're too mad to spit they take out that ol' violin: you can't judge me, I been thru somethin too. Don't they say that? They good for bringing up their past when it's expedient and can be of good use. But they never seem to make any steps to change their future. That's what I'm talking about.  So very sadly too many of us know this routine by heart.  We've had the pain of those words etched into us with the diamond chisel point held by someone we love.  

And do I have to tell you one more time that I'm not talking about a lover, a man, a woman, or a boyfriend or a girlfriend?  I'm talking about mothers, fathers, cousins, sons and daughters.  No one hurts like family (thank you Paul Mooney) and they keep doing it until you face that river and either decide to stay on the bank and be filthy or jump into that water and be made clean.  It's not a one-time exercise, just like getting in the tub at night or the shower in the morning, it's a repeat until all days are done.  

But now, I'm not talking about forty million souls. I'm talking about me. I'm examining me. I'm pulling myself apart, dissecting each part, and making decisions on what works and what doesn't work. How much more can this machine bear? What's my load capacity? How much faster or more efficiently could I operate if I achieve optimum working order? 

I'm not Jesus. I'm not a machine. I'm just one African descended American woman. Overweight, bad credit, with a house full of children whom I love beyond all reason. I'm a human being who wants to love honestly, out in the open, and without shame. 

How do I cross over once again?  I think the water is cold 'cause it really don't look that inviting.  That aren't that many folks on the opposite shore.  A few folks are waiving me onward.  I'm scared.  I'm scared of what the new me will require.  But one thing is for sure I can't stay here.  Not one minute longer.  Have you every drowned on dry land?  I think it is very possible but I guess I'll go, one step at a time, so I won't find out.  

I'll dive in and face my rebirth and hopefully I won't have to be dragged, kicking, flailing, screaming, fighting and biting into the cleansing River Jordan.  Next time?  After a long journey I want to be in a place where I see it and am relieved at the mere sight.  That's where I want to be.  Happy at the sight. 

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