In class on November 15th, we discussed correctional facilities and prison reform. I posed the following question to my students: Are correctional facilities designed to “correct” behavior or character? Most of them said “both,” but some said neither. What do you think?
As we go about our holiday season, I think of those who are unable to have food, family, and fun – at the same time. Needless to say, there are individuals who have committed crimes unthinkable, yet there are some who have not. Are their lives being changed while on the inside of confinement? Are our lives being enhanced while we are captive to our vices? The truth is if we were caught in our everyday violations of malice, greed, and pride, we would be incarcerated right along side of our brothers and sisters.
So, I pose these questions to you… What are you chained to? What mental or emotional prison are you in? Is your “facility” correcting or enabling the behavior that got you there?
Fall is here and that means family time is here as well. There’s a perfect shortstop for that.
I would love to think that everyone’s holiday season brings laughs, love, and bountiful blessings, but I know it doesn’t. Some family ties have turned into strings that choke out the possibility of beautiful moments. Adults that were best friends as children all of a sudden can’t stand to be in the same room with each other. Siblings live in silence across state lines. Parents and children holding on to wounds of old.
Let me tell you something.
“We’re All We Got.”
There’s enough division in the world. We don’t need to multiply it with broken families. There are plenty of sores that need to be healed and broken hearts with shredded band-aids holding them together. I will never trivialize the pain that has created those rifts; however, for today… this season… this life… all we have is each other. Maybe that person is not designed for the permanent prime real estate in your heart, but someone is. At least you have someone to be angry toward or someone to kiss goodnight.
For the family that is alive and sitting around you and to the family that is in a nursing home or prison, remind them and yourself that you were born to each other for a reason. Perhaps you’ll never know what it is as you fight over past sins, but nonetheless, the fact remains. WAWG. Just slip them a handwritten note and a smile. At least you sent the reminder. That’s all you are responsible for.
Maybe it’s the holiday spirit, but I’ve been in my feelings lately…the good ones.
Sisters come in so many shades of goodness. Some enter our lives through the crossing of life paths and others by the blood in our veins.
Recently, I’ve been recharged through some amazing women. Scoping out the different types of goodness that I have the honor of experiencing. The sheer fact that our energies can buzz around each other and create new perspectives is a phenomenon science can not touch.
Politics. Culture. Music. Relationships. Work. Passion. You name it, we’ve talked about it. We’ve gotten angry together and laughed until we’ve cried. We’ve danced together in the joy of hip-hop classics and prayed together in mind-altering faith. We have overcome tragedies and digested injustice while holding hands. Feeling each other’s pain is normal. Hearing each other’s cries from miles away is a regular occurrence. We are bonded.
It reminds me of something I tell my students – We weren’t designed to do life alone. I’m not talking about marriage; I’m talking about spiritually. You need a tribe. A confidant. A plant. A dog. Something. Even the meanest person can experience solace through a fish tank. It’s a part of our DNA. We were designed to reach out, be heard, and love fiercely.That’s why it hurts physically when our hearts our broken. We were not created for eternal solitude, but for perpetual connection.
So this leads me back to my sistergood. Do you have people of the same gender that you can be verbally naked with? I’m not talking about acquaintances, associates, or even friends. I’m talking about family that may or may not include blood lines. Sisters or brothers that you have unadulterated honesty with and no one leaves permanently angry. People that you don’t have to worry about being manipulative with your words or deeds. It’s rare, but possible. My sistergood is a small circle, but fiercely loyal and safe. My sisterly connections span a little larger, but are just as awesome. I love them all, and I’m grateful for them too. The older I get, the more I realize how important this goodness is to my soul. Starting with my mother and going outward, I am blessed beyond measure to have the opportunity to love and be loved by them.
I pray that you find your sisters and brothers in this world. My world is definitely better with them in it. Yours will be too. Don’t be afraid to do life together.