Sneaky Houses


On the way to my girl’s preschool, just across from the golf course, there is a row of houses. These houses are all set back from the road a bit, their driveways curving down into little valleys with the buildings nestled behind and in the deep cool green of ancient trees. My husband calls them “sneaky houses”.

I love sneaky houses. I love how they nestle there behind the treeline, screened, protected, and partially hidden. You can see them but only if you’re looking. If you’re not paying attention, you’d drive right by them. They hide there in plain sight, their beauty just barely peeking out. You have to look for them to find them. I also love that they are like people, particularly the people who have become the dearest and most special to me. Just like those sneaky houses, if we can look past what barriers people have been erected, the protections that have been hewn out, sink into the deepness of them, we may just find them even cozier and more welcoming than we originally thought.

Yes, I really do love sneaky houses.

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Thoughts of a Sunday: Social Spoons & Gut Feelings


Introverts-treasure-the-closeI am weird about being around people. I often have little issue with chatting with folks online but being in public with people can be hit or miss at times. I admit that there are days that I cannot handle it. There are days that I have ducked out to the bathroom during greeting time at church (like today) because I simply didn’t have the social spoons to deal with shaking hands/interacting with everyone. There are times that I have been absolutely elated at the cancelling of plans, others when I have been devastated and never admitted it. There are times that my spoons have been so few that I have closed my laptop, put my phone in another room, or screened my calls/message alerts just to avoid having to talk to anyone of an evening.

I love people. Really, I do. But, sometimes, I just cannot handle them. Sometimes I can handle them in small doses.  Sometimes I want to get lost in a crowd that I don’t know and be alone in public. And sometimes I just have to force myself to be around large groups, e.g. when teaching, and fake it until I make it. The last leaves me absolutely exhausted and I spend at least a night recharging. That can either be with alone time or by socializing with a handful of people whom I actually, deeply like and enjoy being around.

sometimes-all-you-have-is-instinct-a-gut-feeling-its-important-to-pay-attention-to-them-james-patterson

Have you ever had a gut feeling for someone? Someone specific? That feeling deep in your core that told you to text, call, write, or instant message them and just…say something nice? Not platitudes but something genuinely, honestly nice? I have and I do, often. And I don’t always understand it.

Sometimes it comes in the morning, sometimes it’s the last thing at night. I might have seen the person just yesterday, or it might have been weeks or even months since I’ve seen or spoken to them. And, yet, there they are: sitting on my heart with a big blinking arrow pointing at them.

I don’t always understand it, but I do it anyway. I’m not saying that this makes me a great person but it is the way I determined to live my life a long time ago. I will always do my best to give those God-gut feelings and heart nudges credit and respect and follow them, whether or not I understand it, get it, or even want to. I never know what might happen or what good might be done to that person because I heeded that gut feeling.

Her


They all saw her outside. They witnessed her every day. Many remarked on her poise and grace, her intelligence and gentleness. They watched her, saw her, day in and day out. Everyone thought they knew her, knew her story, who she was. But there was, of course, a her that they did not see, that they never saw.

Out of sight, there was the her whose shoulders stooped with the weight of responsibility and yet bore up. A her whose voice rang triumphantly in the celebration of a moment. A her who bit her tongue sharply to remind herself of the importance of silence’s role in making wise decisions. A her who chose every day to be the best her she could be. That was what people didn’t see, what they didn’t hear. But it made her the woman that they saw and knew.

Not Understanding My Skin


In their newest article, The Well Written Woman discusses the issues brought forth by the events in Ferguson, MO. I will not be discussing that, not by a long shot. I am woefully uninformed and far from qualified to do so. However, their opening paragraphs struck me as something that I could easily say about my own self [applicable portions bolded]:

“I don’t even know where to start with the rat’s nest of social justice issues that need to be addressed in the midst of all that is happening in the aftermath of the shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown and the ensuing (justifiable) outrage of the people of Ferguson, MO.

I don’t know that I’m even remotely qualified to discuss it.

I don’t know the struggle people of color face in their every day lives, with the police, with the systemic racism that permeates our culture.

I’m white.

I don’t know a damn thing about what it’s like to be black in America.

I can observe what it’s like. I can recognize injustice when I see it. I can empathize with the pain of another human being, but I have no frame of reference to be able to sympathize.

I am blessed with the privilege of being surrounded by diverse people. That diversity has opened my heart and shattered it and rebuilt it over and over again.”

Yes, I am black. No, I have no idea of the hardships and struggles that seem to be synonymous in this country with that state of being. I personally don’t know a damn thing about what it means to be black in America. Though I have been back and forth to the States all my life, I grew up on an island in the Caribbean, amongst a family and community of all shapes and colors, a country composed of multiple ethnicities. Were there cases of racism? Oh, yes! I would be an innocent fool to think otherwise. But I have been fortunate enough in my life, both there and here in the States, to never have personally encountered injustice based solely on the color of my skin, or, if I have, it wasn’t anything that mattered enough for me to notice. But can I say something? I notice that other people notice that I am unbothered, or at least not enraged.

When I was in college, I took an American Literature class and, of course, we came upon African-American literature and the Harlem Renaissance. I was one of two black students in the class, me being an English Education major and him a theatre/directing major. He was very enthusiastic and passionate about this period of literature and the authors and elected to do his class lecture assignment during this segment of the semester. After my fellow student gave his lecture, which was fabulous, the professor stepped up to me as I pulled my things together to leave class and he asked if I was enjoying the class. I assured him that I very much was, and he seemed surprised by that. I asked him why and he explained to me that, frequently, when he had African-American students, they usually seemed to really enjoy the Harlem Renaissance portion of the class but I seemed rather blase about it. I admitted that, while I found some portions of Harlem Renaissance literature interesting, there will always be a part of it that is lost to me. I have not the sense of injustice or righteous anger that seems to pervade a great portion of the literature; I fail to understand or be able to sympathize with it. Therefore, some of the emotion and levels inherent in the writing were inaccessible to me then and still are now.

So in this situation with MO, I find that I am woefully ill-equipped to understand and discuss this situation, which is why I haven’t even brought it up in conversation or watched most of the news coverage or read the stories on it. All I know is that there is a great deal of heartbreak, anger, violence, and, grieving, broken people involved and no amount of talking on my part, particularly from my position in life, is going to do any good. All I can do is pray for everyone involved and that is what I am doing.

It brings to stark relief how good of a life I have had and still have. When I tell my husband that my daughter and I have gone out shopping or something during the day, sometimes he will ask if we saw anyone we knew or if anyone say hi to us or anything. The reason, he tells me, is that he wants us to feel comfortable where we live and to never feel like we need to worry or be afraid or nervous. Want the truth? I have never worried about anywhere that I have lived in my life. I have never feared for myself (or my daughter) because of the color of my skin. Maybe that is blissful ignorance and obliviousness on my part, but, regardless, it is something that I am continually grateful for.