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Listening at the Speed of Life

– by C. J. Wade –

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communication

Wednesday Wind Down: Fruit

Hey, Family!

Can you believe it’s October? Y’all… we made it to October. I’m going to pause and celebrate that with you. *fist bump* Here’s a short stop (500 words or less) for your week.

I’ve been on a fruit kick lately… as in the study of how fruit multiplies itself.

Elementary school gave us the following basics, right?

seed -> sprout -> bush, tree, or vine -> flower, bud -> fruit

But we know the story doesn’t end there. Inside of that fruit is more seed to keep the process going. To perpetuate what began. I always found that part fascinating… how God placed that law in motion at the beginning of time and it continues to this day. Strawberries make more strawberries. Oranges make more oranges. Bananas produce more bananas and we are not surprised. We expect the fruit to multiply, but not just multiply more fruit… we expect it to multiply itself.

Photo by Pok Rie on Pexels.com

When you read and hear the Word of God, a seed of Life becomes available for the soil in your spirit. Maybe it’s a word of hope, faith, love, encouragement… whatever the type, it is a viable, living seed that is divinely designed with spiritually-genetic code. It was created to multiply just as God’s Word did during the Creation. It was destined to die in the soil and germinate in your heart so fruit can burst forth in your life. Seeds die so they can produce what is within. In that unsuspecting seed is a tree full of more than we can imagine and someone somewhere needs that fruit.

My thought for us is to remember the purpose of our seeds. Remember there is fruit in them. In every Bible verse you read, there is fruit waiting to happen. Goodness waiting to multiply. Love waiting to be shared. Hope waiting to be held. In each Word you hear, you have the opportunity to multiply it everywhere you go.

Everywhere.

Here’s the question – what are you planting around you? If you’ve been around this blog for a while, you may remember a #bloglikecrazy post or a Wednesday Wind Down about this topic. I’m passionate about it because it affects everything around us. The very air we breathe can carry remnants of positive or negative fruit from a previous conversation. So, I encourage you to multiply the fruit of God’s spirit as much as you can. It’s a struggle sometimes, I know… for real… but we can do it. We were built for growth, after all, we’re made from the Earth. *shrug*

So, sprinkle those seeds of temperance in the office. Place a seed of self-control in your home tomorrow. Throw a seed of kindness in the grocery store. It won’t go to waste… I promise. Seeds never die without purpose. At the very least, they can’t say they didn’t see a Seed in you.

I love you all and I’m praying for you. Stay well out there.

Peace & Thanks for listening!

Wednesday Wind Down: Shush

Hi, Family!

I’m going to jump right in, OK? Great.

Do you have moments when you reeeeeeeeally want to speak up, but you know it would be a waste of breath? I mean, a true expulsion of your precious oxygen?

Me too. So, how do you handle it?

In those moments, an tidal wave of itchy annoyance barrels through my core. My listening elevates to a hypersensitivity mode like I’m a seasoned member of the X-Men. It feels like someone turned a secret volume knob behind my ears. I may stretch my neck a little, but my default internal setting is to throttle down to quietness. Like non-existent audio. When this mode is activated, I know it is best for me to hush, work on something else, or leave the area.

Can you relate? Do you have moments when it is best for you to shut up, but the words are bouncing between your jaws like they are in a WWE match waiting for a chance to tag team someone’s comment and break through your lips? It can be downright frustrating, but the icing on the cake is when your intelligence is insulted.

Photo by Mikhail Nilov on Pexels.com

Whew. Y’all… the evil forces know this is an area of progress for me. When someone combats with false information, THEN dismisses my well-informed input…? That’s it. Cue the X-Men ears and wrestling ring of words ready to break out. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, the Holy Spirit has to tighten my bridle.

Don’t get me wrong – there are divine opportunities for clarity and structure to be verbalized. The key word is divine. Every moment of discourse is not designated for your mouth to open. You have to know when those times are set before you and when they are a trap. Check out the following verse –

Even fools are thought wise when they keep silent; with their mouths shut, they seem intelligent.

– Proverbs 17:28 (New Living Translation)

Every time I read this verse, I feel seen… terribly. The scenario usually goes a little something like this –

God: “Daughter, even fools know when to shut up.”
Me: “But, God, for real?! Seriously?! Do you hear this foolishness?”
God: “Ma’am.” *insert heavenly side-eye*
Me: “But, they act like I don’t know what I’m talking about… and I have degrees and professional experience in this stuff! Who do they think they’re talking to?”
God: “And what do you think it will accomplish? They aren’t listening.”
Me: “I know, I know… it’s not worth it…”
God: “Nope. Keep your mouth shut and keep it movin’.”

Family, I know it’s tempting to tell them off and flex your intellectual muscles or share your life experience to help them taste humility. It’s tempting to be petty and shut the conversation down, but it’s simply not worth it. The truth is – and hear me out – sometimes, it’s better just letting them think you don’t know anything.

Photo by Tony Schnagl on Pexels.com

I saw that face.

I know that face.

I make it too.

But when you do the math, your breath and your peace are too valuable for some conversations. I’ve had to calculate the probability of understanding on many occasions and be at peace with the outcome. The truth is that some people like to swirl in a caldron of complaints and ear-tickling information. They only drink what they pour. They never seek to comprehensively understand. Never. Let them tell it, the apocalypse is going to happen in a few minutes because a law doesn’t fit their preferences. In their world, discriminatory practices are figments of political imagination. And that can make you angry enough to explode… especially when you’re unheard or dismissed. The honest response that tap-dances in my spirit is “I teach social sciences and you’re trying to school me by using incorrect or insanely biased data? You’re seriously trying to tell me a historical event didn’t take place? Can you even tell me how a bill becomes a law? You don’t get to talk to me about ANYTHING relating to immigration, civil rights infringement, gun control, or any other soundbite you choose to cook on the stove of your mind. Miss me with that.”

Photo by Monstera on Pexels.com

…aaaand that’s why the Holy Spirit has to oil up that bridle. *sigh* What good will that rant do? Why stir up a conversation with someone who has already decided that they will not listen? In communications class, we say the ultimate goal of communication is a shared understanding. Unfortunately, understanding can not be shared until both parties are willing to listen… willing to exchange compassion. If this cannot be detected, I highly encourage you to hold your tongue and your peace… then unleash your frustration elsewhere in a healthy way.

I leave you with this just in case you need it at the family table or in the conference room soon –

A man of knowledge restrains his words, and a man of understanding maintains a calm spirit.

– Proverbs 17:27

Calm doesn’t mean there isn’t activity beneath the ocean’s surface. It means it has a boundary that isn’t remote controlled. I’m not asking you to mute yourself. I’m encouraging you to assess and act accordingly instead of jumping into every pool of dialogue. I’m asking you not to take the bait. I’m asking you to think of the long game instead of the short reward. I’m asking you to allow the Holy Spirit to be your Guide. It’s worth it; I’m living proof.

You got this and I got your back. *fist bump*

Peace & Thanks for listening! Stay well out there!

Thursday Love: At Capacity

Good Morning, Family!

This morning, my spirit was full… of crap.

I felt the weight of the world’s problems on my shoulders. People arguing about masks, vaccinations, federal vs. state rights, and other issues can sometimes seep into my pores and steam under my skin. Add being empathic into that mix and it can generate a whirlwind in my chest that is difficult to dissipate. Hearing and seeing the discord can make me Godly angry, then exhausted.

This morning, I noticed my internal engines revving. No, it wasn’t because of a news story or something I read. It was residue from a conversation about current events that I witnessed.

Wow… you’re really drinking your own Kool-Aid, I said to myself as words flew between the people involved. Then I thought again, as I have many times this year, if I wasn’t a Christian, I wouldn’t want to be one now. Where’s the compassion? Disappointment and grief fused my lips together as I tried my best not to hear the conversation. Bible verses that distinctly tell us how to handle disagreements and how to love one another beyond our comfort zones swirled in my head like bullets ready to be fired from my mouth. I drove home shaking my head and apparently fertilizing my heart because that thing had germinated in my spirit enough that it was sprouting leaves into today and that made me angrier. Robbing me of my brand new day was unacceptable and it felt like a cactus that wouldn’t stop growing inside my belly.

Photo by Valeria Ushakova on Pexels.com

So, what do you do when you’re at capacity with current events? When you feel like you can’t hear or see another thing before exploding? When you’re trying to see how God fits in all this mess? Great question. I’ve had to figure out a few tactics myself to keep me from spiraling. As I learn, I share, so maybe these will help you too!

First

On the way to work this morning, I vented to God about it. No filter. If you’ve been around my blog for awhile, you know real prayers are a huge part of my faith walk. What good is it to serve someone you can’t be honest with? *shrugs* So, that’s what I did. I shared my disgust, my anger, my frustration with the One who holds my heart. Feel free to do the same; He can take it.

Second

I said the following personal mantras aloud:

I can not control everything.

People will do what they want to do.

This is just a season and seasons do change. (You can thank my mom for that one.)

I don’t have to let it in.

Third

I cleansed my spiritual palate with a musical reminder that I am finite and can not hold the world’s problems inside of me. I am not designed to be the host of high stress. Soothing sounds were needed to help me throttle down, so I played How Deeply I Need You by Shekinah Glory… more than once. It’s one of my go-to songs when I don’t know what to do.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Lastly…

I made a mental list of people that show their love by respecting me. When I closed my eyes, I could see them one-by-one. I imagined them hugging me as I took deep breaths into a further state of calm. With that list, I was reminding my spirit that those high-strung people – although God loves them still – are not in my circle. They do not hold power or influence over my life. I have an excellent tribe that I value and those individuals that I saw were a temporary stop along my life’s journey. They do not get to change the molecular structure of my day or my spirit. I am loved. I am cherished. I am respected. I do not have to be loved, cherished, or respected by them. It does not elevate my value.

After a couple of hours, I was back to baseline. I could feel my skin again instead of wanting to jump out of it. I could breathe easier.

I encourage you to gather your own “emergency response” ritual in case you need it and before it sneaks up on you at the grocery store or around your family. Chop down the bad growth before the cactus within gets out of control. It’s not worth it… because after you’re dead, the foolishness will continue without missing a beat. So, don’t miss your life because it. *reminding myself too*

Peace & Thanks for listening! I love y’all and stay well!

Wednesday Wind Down: A Secret Addiction

Good Morning, Family!

I’m glad you’re here. Thanks for stopping by. Let’s dive into this short stop for your week (it’s less than 500 words).

I woke up this morning and asked God about a particular situation where I believe the art of listening wasn’t valued. This phrase breathed into my spirit – addiction to defiance.

The ceiling above my head looked like a blank canvas as I replayed the situation. Immediately, I saw evidence of what I heard. Immediately, I changed the original idea of this post.

Family, I believe some people are high on defiance. It deafens their ears and their hearts. If you tell them not to touch the mailbox because it’s freshly painted, they’ll go outside and lick it. OK, maybe not, but they’ll definitely leave a fingerprint. Getting into conversations with those with such an addiction can be mind-numbing. Fruitless and frustrating. So, it’s not worth it.

You heard me – save your breath.

Photo by Kelvin Valerio on Pexels.com

In some instances, defiance is a viable force for such cases as human rights. In other scenarios, it is a way to charge an internal battery. Perhaps that battery turns over by fear or anger. Residue from being abused by authority. An indoctrination of defiance being the only way to assert one’s self. Fear of extracted freedom. Lack of verbal resources to comprehensively express one’s opinion. Whatever it is, it can materialize into an addiction that harms budding and long-term relationships.

When I was a teenager, my dad would test my strength and will via foot races and wrestling. One time, my mother asked my dad to let me go during a mini-match in the living room. She was being a mom, what can I say? 🙂 My dad, on the other hand, was definitely being a dad because he asked if I was OK while in a pin. I said yes. Then he asked “You give?” I said no with gritted teeth. I tried to wiggle out of his pin, but it didn’t work. “Do you give?” he asked again. “No!” I yelled, still twisting myself toward freedom. There was something about the defiance that strengthened me. I used it as fuel. Somehow, I found an out and my dad congratulated me. I later heard from my mom that he said “Whew! She almost got me that time!”

That will to break out of the pin was helpful then, but my prayer is to never be saturated with it. I never want to be numb to the humanity of those around me. So gritty to defend that I refuse decipher. My prayer is that you do the same. Listen to the heartbeat of those around you, even if you don’t agree. Stay pliable enough to see the fingerprint of God on each creation, even if you have to grit your teeth.

I love you all and stay well out there. Peace & Thanks for listening!

Wednesday Wind Down: The Invisibles

Hi, Family!

I hope you had a good day. If not, it just got better. I prayed for you this week and here’s the shortstop Word I was given to share.

One of my consistent prayers is to see the heart of people. To peer past the surface and listen to the heartbeat God placed within these bodies. Let me warn you – this is one of those real prayers. It’s not an easy feat to penetrate a heavy armor of hatred and seek the root of a person. Honestly, it takes practice (but doesn’t all of this thing call faith take practice?).

After praying that request some years ago, my natural empathy boosted 10 times over. It felt like an overload some days. I walked by a woman one day and realized her retail therapy was an attempt to hush her grief-stricken heart. I spoke to her and she cried. Moments like that began to multiply and I found myself praying the following: “Lord, how many of us are there? How many of us are walking with invisible scars, aches, and pains? How many of us do we not see?” The answer I heard – “Everywhere.”

Every day, the Invisibles are among us. They work with us, shop with us, and even live with us. Some are strangers we love and some are family we despise. Some hold stark opinions that can make your blood boil. Newsflash: Our faith calls us to Love them too.

Now, I’m not telling you to act like a licensed professional and diagnose everyone you meet. I am challenging you to see beyond. Since we do not know what a person is experiencing, it would behoove us to act like Jesus and show compassion to all. Since some battles are invisible, it would be wise not to pass judgment to anyone. Since we do not live in each other’s skin, we should watch our mouths. Our words alone could repel someone from seeing the essence of our beliefs. So, since we don’t know, we should be quiet. Be still. Check in with the Holy Spirit and check our circles of influence. Be for real and ask God to illuminate and eliminate our blind spots . We should show that overwhelming Love that was shown to us.

It doesn’t take much. It just takes kindness. An extra tip to your server. An open door for a person who is carrying a load. An encouraging text to someone you admire. A listening ear to someone who feels unheard. A sincere compliment. It takes an extension of yourself past that prayer.

So let’s make grace contagious. Let’s move past the familiar and into the invisible. Let’s see the fingerprint of God in people and Love them as we are commanded to do.

Stay well out there and, in case you haven’t heard it recently, I love you and I’m proud of you. You’re still here and you made it this far.

Peace & Thanks for listening!

Wednesday Wind Down: Got A Buck?

Hi, Family!

I know it’s not Wednesday. I also know that you wouldn’t have wanted me to type anything last night as sleepy as I was. I felt like a restless cranky kid fighting bedtime. I told my aunt “I’m so sleepy, but I need to write my blog post… but I can’t do it!” *insert fake-cry-almost real cry here* She told me I should go to bed, so I did… and the sleep was glorious. I missed you, but the back of my eyelids made good company too.

On the flip side, I knew exactly what I wanted to say, so here we go. 🙂

All day Wednesday, I heard the same thing in my spirit.

Are you on Instagram? Great. Me too.

I instantly thought of political parties, countries, families, corporations… a plethora of complex organisms. The back-and-forth on who should pay for healthcare, if redlining is real, if dad should be in an assisted living facility, or why historical injustices should be recognized as a repellent for the future is enough to make anyone throw up her hands and say “forget it.”

But, then what? We end up being two sides of one coin trying to separate from its core. As a faith walker, the tension will make you want to stay out of conversations that need your voice… or make you pass the buck to someone else. Unfortunately, that is not what we are called to do as the Body of Christ.

That’s right. I said it. Christians skirt around responsibilities and tough conversations too. Don’t confuse arguing and debating with digesting communication. They are not the same. We tend to pass the buck when ideals do not align to ours. Disagreements will exist; so, do our responsibilities.

We are called to stand up for the voiceless. We are commanded to love the difficult heart. We are commissioned to serve the those that are without. These are non-negotiables. So, when a member of God’s Kingdom tells another member of the same Kingdom that their experience is false, unimportant, or discounted, we are passing the buck. We are saying “That’s not my responsibility” and I beg to differ that Jesus would use the same words in our current environment.

Do you know one place where the buck doesn’t get shuffled around? Your body.

Photo by Evelina Zhu on Pexels.com

You’re equipped with various methods to fight illness and injury at any given time. You have different types of pain receptors the assist with proper pain management assessment and microphages that destroy harmful organisms on a regular basis. Your body doesn’t say “That’s not my problem” or “You’re making excuses.” It says I feel you and we’re in this together.

What buck are you passing around at work or home? What are you dodging instead of acknowledging both? This is an internal and external means of accountability. Bottom line – own it. Whatever it is. Maybe it’s that conversation you’ve been avoiding with your spouse or child. Perhaps it is that offensive statement you made to a friend that you have yet to apologize for. When the buck stands still, it doesn’t create a vortex of pain between the parties at play. That’s where we get the phrase the buck stops here. Who cares who pays for healthcare if it means a citizen doesn’t have to choose going to work over a doctor’s appointment? What difference should it make if a Latinx family moves into an all-White neighborhood? Why shouldn’t a someone be empathic when he hears of a racist act? Family, the buck should stop with us because we are representatives of the Blood of Christ. Matthew 12:36 states the following: But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken.

As long as we deflect responsibility, we will never work together as a seamless organism. So, I encourage you to survey your internal and external grounds (like I am) to check for those roaming bucks. Call them to order and live in dominion over them all.

Peace & Thanks for listening! Stay well out there!

Wednesday Wind Down: Tongue-Tie

Hi, Sweethearts!

Let’s talk about ankyloglossia.

According to the Mayo Clinic, it’s a relatively common condition in which small band of tissue connects the tip of the tongue to the floor of the mouth. It is usually present at birth and can affect one’s speaking and eating. Sometimes surgery is necessary to rectify the condition.

What do you do when you’re trying to say something and you can’t find the words to make it happen? I usually pause to allow a pathway for the right word to surface. At times, however, I don’t say anything at all and I tuck my thought in the back of my mind.

Lately, I’ve felt like my prayers of hope have been struggling to reach the ceiling. Heartfelt whispers easily flew from my lips, but to utter a sound — to use my voice — seemed like a tall order. I could sense the hands of disappointment choking me as I prayed for myself. I tried to get the words out, but they ended up getting tucked back in.

Has that ever happened to you? Have you been afraid to pray for what you need? What’s your spiritual tongue-tie condition?

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

This week, I got frustrated with my lack of expectation and I couldn’t hold it in anymore. I raised my arms and prayed out loud. For the first time in months, I felt my words break through the glass ceiling in my mind. My voice cracked through clouds of despair and it was invigorating. I immediately thought “I need to do this again. This is just the beginning.” See, the thing about ankyloglossia is that it doesn’t prevent a baby from crying. It doesn’t deter the sound of the soul. The following verse was my first step.

Courtesy of my YouVersion App

Don’t allow the past to choke the voice of your future. It deteriorates the power of your prayers — our prayers.

Let’s speak in confidence to our God. One sentence at a time, if need be. Sing in the car, lift your hands in the closet, or pray aloud while you’re cooking. Let’s do what it takes to make our voices break through the clouds. Our hope is stronger than any evil force that says otherwise and being tongue-tied will not stop us from communicating with our Creator.

Stay well out there. Peace & Thanks for listening!

#bloglikecrazy: Open Letter #30

To My Fellow Creatives:


I sincerely applaud us! Like immigrants, we get the job done! (see what I did there?)

We robe ourselves with the stories of others and output exceptional interpretations. It takes a brilliant mind to do such acrobatics. It takes a certain level of emotional skill to tap into the dark recesses of the world to tell an authentic story and come out of the cave without permanent scarring. I marvel at our community’s ability to do this often and sometimes across multiple projects. We are AH-MAY-ZING!

If I had to remind us of something, it would be to remember that we are valuable beyond what we do. Yes, our skills pay the bills, but we are more than what comes out of us. We are more than our masks. We are more than the stage.

Photo by Andrew Neel on Pexels.com

The truth is if we die tomorrow, the show of society would commemorate us for a bit and continue with another cast of characters. So, take care of yourselves, Loves. Our minds, bodies, and souls are more than worth it. I know we lie ourselves down for the sake of the craft, but for a lifetime of creative expulsion, I don’t like seeing us falling victim to the vice of overexertion. Some of us therapeutically deal with our issues through the arts and some of us die physically and spiritually because of them. The cycle in our community has to stop. WE MATTER.

Photo by Edgar Colomba on Pexels.com

When we sing, notes fly out of our souls like beautifully-winged freedom. When we dance, movement creates waves that disrupt unseen demons. When we act, emotion pours out of us and onto a canvas called life so others can see themselves. Yet… when I see another one of us die by suicide, drugs, crime, and various manners caused by reckless living, I am saddened because it was so preventable and the world is dimmer. Such a beautiful Icarus. Another creative we must love from afar because they got too close to the sun.

Please take care of you and look out for one another. It can be a lonely career although it is dependent upon so many people. Once you give yourself so well and you return to your hotel room or the job is over and you’re back home until the next call, the pause can be rejuvenating or deafening. Let’s be sure that we’re OK. Let’s be sure we don’t get lost in the sauce. Let’s remember that we are people first and we are loved.

Keep rocking EVERYTHING, Co-Stars!

CJW

#bloglikecrazy: Open Letter #29

Written January 11, 2017 at 1:36 AM (It’s a little lengthy because I let it flow that day. No apologies.)

To The Obama Family:


I cried.

Not the sniff-sniff sentimental cute cry. The ugly one. A lamentation even.

I kept asking myself “Why am I crying?! Why… am I crying?” I’m a firm believer that tears have a name. They speak when your words can’t, so I was trying to hear what these were saying. My voice got softer as the tears got bigger and my face crumbled like an unwanted piece of paper. I didn’t understand where the tears were coming from. Here I was — watching the farewell address of a current president as I had done before, only this time, my soul was weeping and I couldn’t put my finger on the origin. Then, I asked again aloud in frustration, “Why am I crying right now?!” I heard the Lord say “Because someone had to do it. You’re mourning the end, but you’re glad to see it.”

I couldn’t have agreed more.

I was so overjoyed to see with own eyes the historical manifestation of what I taught to hundreds of students. I was proud of our technological age as I absorbed the spirit of the moment through my cell phone. I was grateful to hear the passionate sincerity in your voice, President Obama. My president. My ownership of the political process was just as real as my ancestors. In essence, I was crying with my late grandmother that used to clean the homes of White families. I was crying with my late great-grandparents and my uncles who experienced discrimination in the military. I can’t describe how anointed it felt to be in this moment, full of grace and momentum, simultaneously.

I was in awe.

Photo by Aaron Schwartz on Pexels.com

I felt the love toward your wife and daughters. I absorbed the gratitude extended to the vice-president, cabinet, and staff. I witnessed the appreciation toward the volunteers and voters that got you there (at this moment I could see the tear wiped from your face with a handkerchief). To acknowledge the torch was burning for a new carrier and that you had taken it as far as you could. Despite the surge of overt racism, death threats, and emphatic defiance, you made it to this moment. And it was true — somebody had to do it. And I wasn’t looking for perfection — I was just looking for someone to try. Someone that looked like me.

And First Lady Obama… to be painted as an angry Black woman in the midst of raising the standard of America’s children as well as your own was no feat for the average will, but again… somebody had to do it and do it well. So much so, that the second go ’round was even more beautiful to behold than the first. Your blossoms of security, passion, and focus were bigger and brighter. As a result, the pollination of other Queendoms ensued and there are gardens all over the world. You were and still are remarkable in your own undeniable right and I love you for being brave enough to remain authentic. Authentically in love with your husband, authentically protective of your children, and authentically passionate about justice and solidarity. I appreciate that. A blueprint beautifully unscrolled for other women to follow and cherish.

Sasha and Malia — Bless you for growing up under such a judgmental microscope. When people picked you apart, I shook my head and spoke up. You were children living in a world you didn’t sign up for, not on a reality show with a contract. You were not “fair game,” as I heard someone say. Despite all of this, you rose to exceptional heights and I am so proud of you. You’re intelligent and you stand unapologetically in your womanhood. Keep doing just that.

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels.com

I’m still amazed how those sporadic tears jumped down my face, but they were definitely shed without regret. I admonished them to have their way and for my soul to speak its peace without restraint. And it did. Again and again. A lamented song with bars I had never heard. I let it out without penance. I was sad to see you go, Obama Family, but so happy to see the completion of this chapter. There were many times I prayed no one would kill you as you waved to crowds with heart and hugged with compassion. I prayed often for your protection because the threats were out there. I’ve always prayed for leaders as the Bible says so, but this time was different. On several occasions, I feared for your lives and your optimism. I didn’t want the vile of a few to dilute your hope and strength. The past, present, and future needed you.

In closing, I appreciate your steadfastness toward each other and for displaying balance of life. You have a few more gray hairs there, Mr. President, and you earned every one. There’s no telling how many backdoor conversations you had to stomach and pep talks you had to give and get.

I’m sorry to see you go, but I’m glad to see you live.

Somebody had to do it. Somebody had to stand in the middle of time and history. Somebody had to be you in this lifetime and I’m so glad it was you. Thank you. For everything seen and unseen. You did it well and your heart spoke for you in every footstep toward your belief for better. My tears today are well spent and I appreciate the opportunity to let them fall. Thank you for being you and may God richly bless your days and the lives of your family.

Sincerely,

Christina J. Wade

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