“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not; for, behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and goodwill towards men.’ That’s what Christmas is all about Charlie Brown.”
Luke 2:8-14, KJV, recited by Linus van Pelt
A Charlie Brown Christmas, 1965
Welcome to another exciting episode of my personal dramedy! (drama/comedy, get it?) So, I noticed the other day that I am 2 months, 8 posts deep into this blog thing, and I don’t feel like I’m connecting with my audience. One week, an article does really well, and the next week, not so great. Honestly, I started to doubt myself and question my purposes for writing anyway. And wouldn’t you know it, God stepped in to remind me of the task at hand.
As I gathered my thoughts and notes to create this blog, I had an idea of the topics about which I wanted to write each week and a tentative schedule for when they should be written and shared. However, the death of my college professor, Mr. Willard C. Pitts (who I called, Papa Pitts), changed those plans post haste. I felt in my soul that I had to write about him and how his life effected me, even though that particular story wasn’t a part of the original plan.
I saw Donald Trump on the news the other day, ranting and raving about establishing a ban on all Muslims entering the U.S. Seriously? Fear is such a powerful emotion, but love conquers all. A few weeks ago, I wrote a story about acceptance and love. In my pre-writing phase, I began talking about the love for my Muslim family members being the exact same love I have for my Christian relatives. I accept their practices and beliefs as a cultural difference, and I leave it at that. I have one cousin with whom I had a very close relationship before her conversion to The Muslim Faith and she is one of the most important women of my life. Although our religious beliefs may differ, my love for her and her family is unwavering, just like my love for my gay Christian cousin. The bottom line is we all love God and God is Love. Whether we live life as a Muslim American or a Christian American, we are ALL Americans. But, during my editing process, I narrowed the scope of my article down to concentrate specifically on racism and the unity of my multiracial family, instead of my entire multicultural family.
This last scenario put everything in perspective and inspired these very words that I’m sharing with y’all today.
Ever since I can remember, I have ALWAYS loved Christmas. In my opinion, it really is the most wonderful time of the year. People actually try a little harder to be kind and compassionate to one another. Kids get so excited about Santa Claus, and people are just generally happy. In my hustling days, I liked having a little change in my pocket to buy gifts for my friends and loved ones. Oh, but when I got that full time job and started making that LEGIT money? I felt like Kanye West, you couldn’t tell me nothing! It made me so proud to be able to purchase gifts for my parents, with money I had actually earned! And then I lost my job. I sank into a pool of misery and despair so deep that I wouldn’t emerge for nearly 5 years. Each year as the Christmas season drew near, I would put on my happy face, but my heart was not in it. I looked forward to seeing my parents and other relatives, only to cry like a baby once we were all back in our own homes.
Last year, I finally recognized my depression and made the conscious decision to rediscover my path to happiness. As usual the devil is hard at work trying to keep my spirit down, but my God is awesome! Last week, I wrote a piece in honor of World AIDS Day and discussed the impact HIV/AIDS has had on the Black community, as well as me. My combat in the war against the disease exposed me to some very different cultures and lifestyles that I may have never experienced without an open mind and an open heart. My openly gay, HIV+ employer humanized the disease and the idea of homosexuality for me, which brings me to the here and now.
My family and I fall pretty low on the socioeconomic totem pole. Just like most of our neighbors in our apartment complex, we struggle to make ends meet, but by the grace of God, we survive. We keep to ourselves mostly, and no one bothers us. Well, the other day, much to our surprise and delight, our Transgender neighbor delivered Christmas gifts for us! I’m still in shock because we barely even speak to her. I mean, we’ve never been rude or hateful, and my brother-in-law has given her a ride a few times when car trouble left her stranded, but that’s the extent of the relationship! Nevertheless, she brought 4 neatly wrapped presents to our door for Christmas, and she doesn’t even know us!
Angels in disguise?
‘Tis the season for faith, peace, hope and love. We may not always understand the Will of God, and that’s cool, He works in mysterious ways. But if you listen and pay attention to the signs, He communicates with us all the time. The Lord told me to tell my story. He didn’t tell me how to do it or even why, but every week He shows me something new when I write these posts to share with the world. Now, I can clearly see that I’m merely a vessel, God is in control, and as long as I continue to follow Him, everything else will be all right. Until next time…