I was standing in my kitchen today, May 3, 2021 when the thought occurred to me that it’s been almost five years since I was in the throes of a custody battle. I wanted to take my youngest two kids out of the charter school they had grown to hate. Their dad wanted them to remain. We both had valid reasons. In the end, I prevailed.
I was fighting to get some help for my son. He hadn’t passed a single standardized test. They told me not to worry about it. But I did worry and wanted to move them because I needed someone to acknowledge my concerns and develop a plan. Thankfully, public schools are legally obligated to address the needs of every child.
Now, he is a straight A student who no longer just tolerates school.
But today, two days after winning our local school board election, I realized, He did it for me.
The move to this town and house was divine. I didn’t want to live here but I listened. I followed the still soft voice. Following that voice brought me here. To this day. To the moment of filling out the application to run. Then I won.
I’ve read my share of feel good articles about people helping the homeless or less fortunate. I’ve watched videos of people asking for food from those who seemingly have it to give but their requests are denied. I’ve paid it forward in the drive thru line. I’ve even offered to buy a guy’s grocery bill when he left his wallet at home. He was buying flowers and the makings of a nice dinner how could I not?
Today was different. I was picking up a few items for the fan4 aka my four children at the store when a lady approached me and asked me to buy her groceries. I was taken off guard then I did a quick scan of her basket as she talked. “I get food stamps but they don’t come in until the sixth. I’m just trying to get some food for me and my daughter.” Within a few seconds I sized her up, analyzed her basket and did a quick calculation of what I needed vs what she was asking me to buy and whether or not it was an expense I was willing to take on.
I wanted to talk to her about budgeting her food stamps. I wanted to ask what was her plan after the two pack of hotdogs, one can of chili, two can of Pringle’s and one pack of break and bake cookies were gone. I wanted to know why there was no fresh fruit or vegetables in her basket. I wanted to know her scam or her hustle. What I didn’t want to know was her struggle. I have my own.
I thought about telling her I’m a single mother of four working one and a half jobs on a tight budget. Then I felt a tinge of condemnation. Yes, I will buy your groceries. As I checked out I couldn’t help but wonder why the clerk didn’t ask her how she was paying. I had her items separated from mine. For some reason I wanted different transactions. Some how the clerk knew I was picking up the tab. As soon as her groceries were paid, she thanked me and disappeared.
As I walked out of the store I wasn’t overcome with any emotion or sense of pride for doing a good deed. That’s what bothered me. Why didn’t I feel good? Why didn’t I have a rush of adrenaline? Where were the endorphins? I don’t know. Does it count when you perform the action but your heart didn’t play a part?
All it took was 1 deity to speak and light was
All it took was 1 act and paradise was lost
All it took was 1 look and a pillar of salt was made
All it took was 1 promise and a nation was birthed
All it took was 1 burning bush and a nation was saved
All it took was 1 rock and a giant fell
All it took was 1 virgin and a savior was birthed
All it took was 1 cross and we can be saved
All it takes is 1 person to pass the good news
All it takes is 1 person to hear
All it takes is 1 person to believe
All it takes is 1
I am not sure who to give credit to for the picture. From the Wizard of Oz.
I hope at some point in time you have seen the Wizard of Oz. If not, please add it to your list of movies to see. My focus is on the cowardly lion. We know is nature, the lion represents the king of beasts. He is supposed to be the big man on campus. He gets the big piece of chicken. He gets the honor at the head of the table because of his courage and willingness to sacrifice his life for his pride. At any point during the day, he could run into another lion who wants to challenge him and take over his pride. His job is take on the challenge and win. The lion has a sense of duty, honor and country (pride) that seems to be missing today in some.
I have a friend who graduated from West Point many moons ago. I had the privilege of attending the ceremony. I remember seeing the words Duty, Honor, Country and they were forever engrained in my memory. At West Point they are holding to a tradition that used to be common in our households.
Photo credit: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
Duty- expected by moral or legal obligation, action or task required by a person’s position, an act or expression of respect
Honor- honesty, fairness or integrity in one’s beliefs and actions
Country (pride or family)- state, nation, land of one’s birth (taking creative liberty- the people you have promised to love, honor and respect or who you should feel an obligation towards due to their status in your life)
Back to the Wizard of Oz, the cowardly lion was going to see the wizard because he lacked courage. He doesn’t stand up when he’s afraid, he cowers and hides. We all have time in our lives when we want to run and hide. But, I am saying to you don’t give in to the fear, especially when it comes to your country (pride or family and your really good friends). Face the situation head on, dig deep within you and give out the biggest roar you can muster. If that doesn’t work, let the battle ensue. But, it’s better to stand for and represent duty, honor and country than to cower and run. The battle doesn’t have to be a physical battle. It may be a mental, verbal or prayerful battle. The battle is not always against someONE it could be someTHING.
(Spoiler alert!)As they discovered at the end of the journey to Oz, it was always there. He always had courage, he just didn’t recognize it in himself. Recognize the courage in yourself. Be ready to take a stand when it’s required. Other wise, enjoy the big piece of chicken you earned because you are proven and willing.
If I could love you through your heart ache I would
The things that plague you are beyond my natural reach
If I could kiss away your bruises I would
My lips cannot reach your past
If I could hug away the pain I would
But you hold onto it like it’s your lifeline
If I could set you on the road to freedom I would
But you hold the key to the shackles keeping you bound
If I could use my words to lift you up I would
But the weight of your burdens is too much for me to carry
But I will be your friend and I will walk with you ’til the end
I was talking to someone and they were saying they believe love is measured in sacrifice, the more you sacrifice the more you love and the more you love the more you will sacrifice. I am not sure that I completely agree with that thought. Sacrifice alone is not enough. If your words and actions don’t align with your sacrifice then you still end up at zero.
Does love spill over from one day to the other? Is love renewed and proven on a daily basis?
When I was married I honestly thought if I said I love you today then you should just assume I still love you tomorrow unless I said something different. I now realize some people need more. There is nothing wrong with showing, saying and sacrificing on a daily basis to confirm your commitment and love to those in your life.
There really is not a greater love than to lay down you life, agenda, pride, fear, guilt, preferences or plans for another.
A little bit of love goes a long way. I little bit of inconsideration goes further. Forgiveness bridges the gap between the two.
My momma always said, “Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” – Forrest Gump
I can remember every year around Christmas time my mom would have a box of Sees chocolates sitting around. Back then, they didn’t provide you with an easy to follow illustration that helped you determine the type of filling. I did what some of you did, I bit a tiny piece off of bottom of the candy until I found one I liked. You know the routine, you bite one and if it’s not what you were looking for then you put it back.
Although the original intent of this post was to bring back a fond memory, I feel compelled to ask, is this how we treat relationships today? Take a sample, then put it back when we realize it wasn’t what we wanted. The chocolate that is left in the box is now incomplete and not as desirable to the next person. If you were the next person, how did you get past the incompleteness of the chocolate? Maybe it’s not that big of a deal. Maybe…