While my 21st birthday didn’t really involve alcohol (yes Mindy, I know this is blasphemy of the highest order), partying (postponed until the weekend), or gifts other than cards from Scarlett and The Bait, a short conversation with Daybreak made it fantastic.
Daybreak: “Happy birthday Daddy, I love you.”
You’d think that after being called Papa for months, it wouldn’t phase me all that much.
You’d be wrong.
Tonight I am more proud of my country than I have ever been in my 20 years on this Earth. To all those in Grant Park tonight, enjoy yourselves and be sure to take lots of pictures. I need to live vicariously through you.
You are witnessing history in the making.
To those who did not vote for President Obama, I ask that you can put it aside and let us work together to be a better America for all her people. I ask that you allow him to earn your trust. This is our land, both democrat and republican. And we are stronger together than we are divided.
As for myself?
I go to bed with a smile on my face and a song in my heart.
Ah, why the Hell not.
So this morning I received my very first award for blogging from the wonderful Diane over at Diane’s Addled Ramblings. Cue megawatt smile. Were I not a state away, I’d give her a gift but alas I’ll just send her some link love from time to time.
Now there are two rules for receiving this award. One, I have to list 6 things I love and then I have to pass 6 people to pass this on to.
Things I love…
1. Books. I’ve often heard that one day books will only be stored electronically and that thought breaks my heart. As someone who practically grew up in a library, nothing can replace the feel of the pages or the intimacy of curling up with a good book. Things a computer screen can’t replicate.
2. Making people laugh, I’m a firm believer in the Patch Adams school of thought. That if you treat a person, you always win.
3. Cooking for the people I care about. I’ve been told I seem to have been designed to want to take care of others, I’m starting to believe it.
4. Seeing the look on a child’s face when they understand what you are trying to teach them. It was this look that convinced me teaching is what I wanted to do with my life.
5. Being a writer. It is easy to write words down on paper. It is far more difficult to give those words meaning.
6. Kissing. Slow and lazy or passionate and burning. I love them all.
Today nominee’s are…
1. Katie over at I Know This Much Is True. She works in the law industry and still holds onto her humanity. She also has an old-school charm that I find endearing.
2. Summer over at Blogfully Yours. Her posts often make me smile, laugh, and think which is truly what it’s all about.
3. Tricia over at The Silver Lining. Somehow a Texas mom to two little boys transplanted in Michigan. Somehow, she even manages to make it work.
4. Mindy over at A MinD in MoTown. Another transplant, this one from Pennsylvania to my own state. Her posts are always good for a dose of liberalism and wit.
5. Tiff over at A Bit Of Miss Tiff. The first friend I ever made blogging and my general go-to person for tech questions. Her posts always make me laugh.
6. Black Hockey Jesus over at The Wind In Your Vagina. If you like laughing and having your thoughts provoked, give him a look-see.
I would spent the next three years or so thinking of God as a sadistic, overgrown child with a magnifying glass and an ant farm. Until a trip to Italy and a walk inside the Sistine Chapel changed my life. Looking at the painted ceiling and hearing people burst into tears, I couldn’t believe God to be malevolent.
No cruel being could be the subject of something so breathtakingly beautiful.
At this point, I could not look anyone in the eye. And my gaze completely avoided the pew where my roommate, his girlfriend, my neighbour, my girlfriend, and her daughter were seated together. I had tears gathering in my eyes and was just waiting for Father Oak to tell me to leave and not come back.
The first thing I heard were the sounds of sniffling throughout the crowd. Then I saw them. My girlfriend and her 3 year-old daughter had stood and were walking toward me. Both were crying.
Her daughter Daybreak let go of her mother’s hand, moved to stand in front of me, and held up her arms. I gathered her into mine and as she buried her face in the crook of my neck, she whispered four little words.
“I love you, Papa.”
Then her mother, Eva, wrapped her arms around my waist and said she loved me as well and that she was proud of how far I had come since then. I am not sure how long the three of us stood there. Just holding each other.
Then I feel another face rest against my back as my roommate’s girlfriend hugs me from behind and a hand on her shoulder from my roommate. Finally, a hand wrapped around my free one as my neighbour stood by my side.
This scene alone was enough to make tears actually course down my cheeks but it was the finale that made me start to sob.
Slowly people stood from where they were standing. First the children from my Sunday School class with their parents, then the other people my age in the youth group, my friends from the Choir, and then most of the congregation.
All were circled around us and saying such things as “thank you”, “we’re proud of you”, and “we love you”.
The people I had been afraid would scorn me for a mistake I made years ago had started a mass group hug around me. I was not alone. They did not look down on me. They were all a part of my family and were loved as such. I stood there in a sea of arms and smiles and had to smile through my tears.
Sometimes it really is nice to have your faith rewarded.
Marching to the beat of my own drum,
The Odd Duckling
I have toiled for the last two weeks to decide on something to write about. It’s not that I can’t think of a topic. Not at all. It’s that I have about half a dozen floating in my head and I was being indecisive. No more.
Way back in June I think, one of our priests asked if we had had our faith tested. This was a group of about 20 college students from the RTP area and I was one of the four who raised their hands. It wasn’t followed up on that day so I eventually put it out of my mind.
Today, said priest who I will call Father Oak, asked during Mass if those who felt compelled would share their testimony with the congregation. My roommate’s girlfriend who is one of the five people not counting myself that knew the story started nudging me and telling me I should share.
Something you need to understand is that I am not a shy person. In the least. For all my other issues, I am a very extroverted person who has little trouble striking up conversation when I meet people. However this is sharing something that I am ashamed of to this day with over a 100 people.
The easiest way to describe the fear is that I felt as if I may be run out of the church once I finished with torches ablaze. Especially since I taught a good number of the younger children in Sunday School.
Growing up I never questioned that God created and loved me. I loved having either my Nana or a great aunt of mine read stories from the Bible and explain in a way a small child could understand. Something I know now is not an easy task.
Then certain events came about when I was 13 and I was so angry. People told me ‘God has a plan’ and that just made me madder. I wanted to feel better right then and there. My grandmother (who has largely disowned me, I’ll post about that at some point) had me talk to her pastor about what I was feeling.
Think pretty much every negative stereotype of a preacher and you have this guy. Pinstripe suit, Jerry curl, at least one woman on the side, and a Mercedes obtained mysteriously. Needless to say, I did not trust this man so I wasn’t too responsive.
I don’t remember the actual conversation now but by the end of it I wanted to punch him. He then told me God has a plan. In that moment, I made a decision. I turned to the cross that had been situated behind the altar and spat on it. Cue, shocked gasp from the people of my church as I tell them this.
Knowing what was about to come would shock them even more I asked the parents of children who they didn’t want to hear a very strong curse word to cover their ears. Those who felt the need did so and I told them how my last act before leaving that place was to yell, “Fuck God’s plan.”
To be continued in Part II…