A Love Supreme
I could write a generic story about how we are soldiers for God and how Hearts of Beauty weekend is like boot camp, tearing you down, then building you up, but, the best writing is like a strip of scotch tape–transparent. So, (sigh), here goes…
It’s really difficult to watch the blessings fall down on others like rain and you feel like you are in a drought. I have told friends, “Don’t worry, God is in the blessing business.” But in the back of my mind, I would say. “Except me.”
I have always been the dependable one, the one who is taking care of things. But I was disheartened to find that the ones that I had sacrificed the most for, were not there in my time of need. The worse feeling in the world can be when you are down for people closest to you, but they are not down for you and won’t even open their mouths to say, “Thank you.”
I would often think, “I am a good person. Why don’t have someone who is there for me like I am for them?” I have had people who were there actually so I don’t want it to seem like there was NO one there. But, when the ones who let you down are the certain people that you held to a high esteem, it stings quite a bit.
So that was my mindset while I was on my drive to Pulaski, MS a few weeks ago. I look at the time and I think to myself that maybe I should not have left so early; it’s only a little after 2:00. I wish that the campground is further away as I nod my head to T.I.’s song, “Warzone.” It’s not that I don’t want to go; I simply want to feel like I am further away from my problems at home. In the back of my mind, I do question my motives. I wonder: If things at home were peachy-keen, would I even be going on this retreat? But I do feel that somehow, I am meant to be here. I just don’t know why.
I see the ladies there, smiling at me as I pull up and being very helpful, even taking my luggage. While I am there, I get hugs. The hugs, oh the hugs! They vary from light squeezes to-
“I can’t breathe!” –
That’s just a little TV nostalgia for you. Oh yes, the tight hugs are warming to my spirit. Ladies come up to me and tell me that they just feel drawn to me. And they can’t seem to stop giving me these bear hugs for some reason. “Wow,” I say to myself, “I must look like a pitiful hot mess.” I think to myself that the staff must be told at the meetings, “Remember, ladies, A.B.H. Always Be Hugging. When you see someone hug them. Hug, hug, hug. Don’t put on too much perfume in the morning because you must hug. You can’t hug enough. We want them to feel welcome.
But Deborah comes up to me and says something and it clicks. These women are simply a conduit. Jesus is so happy to see me that He just has to run up and hug me and he needs a body to do it. It’s like that auntie that hasn’t seen me in years and is so glad to see me. Jesus is so filled with love for me that he can’t help himself. He has been pursuing me all my life. I feel the Holy Spirit when I get these hugs. I find myself walking up to get a hug now. They feel like Amoxicillin, an injection of spiritual antibiotics to clean up my inner infections of bitterness, one squeeze at a time. He loves me!
The only thing that I didn’t like was the quality of sleep that I got. I would love to say that it was the mattresses, but the truth of the matter is..well, my body craved what it usually has to have in order to lull me to sleep. Alcohol. Yes, I was used to getting sloshed before sleeping and had gotten sloshed the night before I left. Here’s some tea- not from Long Island- about boozing it up for those who don’t imbibe-it can cause a mean case of insomnia. Sad to say, I am truly a desolate woman, as I would find out on my retreat. My passiveness has built up a hornet’s nest of bitterness and resentment in my spirit and my pesticide is booze, which is really poison on top of poison. The hornets fly away for a while, but they always return the next day.
Now onto my roommates: The first one that I meet starts speaking into my life before she has even she has even really processed my name. I do feel God speaking to me through her before I even start to unpack and make my bed. God has already started to romance me although I wouldn’t quite realize it quite yet. 2 of the ladies are women that I had met before so I assume that it was set up deliberately by Sharon or Niki. I would later find out that it was random; in fact, the ladies pray over the roommates list!
I have 3 Black roommates and 3 Creole roommates-that’s an inside joke. They are white, and my first thought is that I hope that nothing comes up missing on their end and one of us doesn’t get accused of stealing. I am ashamed to be writing that now, but I flash back to years ago when I had a white roommate and those painful memories resurfaced.
Cynth, the first lady that I met is a short lady with an extroverted personality and a lot of energy, which is good ‘cause I’m an introvert. The cadence of her speech kind of reminds me of Wanda Sykes actually; I feel like she is the comedian of the group. There’s Farah, she’s a itty bitty thing and has a quiet personality. I wonder if she can sing. I picture her with an acoustic guitar, maybe singing a Joni Mitchell or Joan Baez song. Her voice and sound machine have a calming effect that helps me finally sleep-at least the first night.
There are two Kim’s the one closest me has a kind soft voice, and for some reason, I feel like she is a woman who likes things of the earth, like nature or gardening. The other Kim, is has a big energetic spirit. Both Kims to me have a mother hen spirit. Amy is energetic to me too. To me she seems like she would be the kind of woman you can call when you are feeling down and after 5 minutes, you wonder why you were so down in the first place. Then there’s Sylvia, the lady that I have previously met but had not really connected to. She is one of the healers in the group. She has her essential oil diffuser and fills the place with two things in particular: her lavender essential oils via diffuser and her energetic personality. Her energy really starts the connection between us seven, obliterating the “ice” into a cloud of dust. She asks us what revelations we had that day.
One night, we are giggling and talking about how our Lord is continually romancing us, like we are at some sleepaway camp talking about some cute boy. I smile in the moonlight and alcohol is the furthest thing from my mind. He loves me! It is so good to be around women and there is no cattiness and jealousy. Well, I must confess some jealously on my part. I hear them talk about how God talks to them and I realize I want Jesus to whisper in my ear. I long to “hear” and even feel a warm sensation of Him that I have heard others speak of. I want to feel like He is guiding me to make decisions in life and to tell me what to do. I want Him to talk to me in my dreams. How many times did He kiss my eyelids awake only for me to slide past him, too hungover to acknowledge Him? How many times has He romanced me and kept me while I was too drunk or angry to notice?
Well, God did guide me and romance me while I was there constantly and actually, there are really too many to name. But I used to write-I’m quite rusty as this is the first time I have written a piece in several years-Obama was in his first term in office. One of the questions posed to us was, How do I want to live this life? One of the things that I wrote down was that I’d like to start writing again. Lo and behold, what do I get as a door prize the next day? A journal. He loves me!
Well, I had an unfortunate canoe tipping incident that left me drenched. I joked with Cynth that I was thinking of getting baptized again but uh-not like that. She urged me to make that happen and well, I will get baptized on Sunday! He knows me—He know that I would ponder that and probably not do anything and let’s face it. My lease here is going to be up one day. He loves me!
The experience of Hearts of Beauty to me is this: It’s like an extended weekend romantic getaway with your boo: Jesus. Now, having a boo thang in the physical sense has its value. But all of my married friends tell me that married life is anything but a honeymoon every single day so..like Coltrane’s opus, His love will stand the test of time. His love will never wax and wane. There’s no silent treatment and no end to the days when He will pursue me.
Before I know it, time has marched on and it’s time to leave. I pack my things and my truck and notice a large goose sitting off on the bank of the river where I got capsized/Canoe baptized- ha ha- in. Will he fly off? I stand off for a minute and breath in, thinking about going back to reality. I envision Satan lying in wait, his feet up, with a sly expression on his face.
“How was your little trip? I missed ya.”
I close my eyes and breathe in again before I get in my vehicle. They sure were right. I don’t want to leave, I think to myself. But it’s okay.
I’ll be back.