Sitting there I felt as if my way was being questioned and I resented it. I went through a platter of emotions. I even became mad at myself for requesting that darn meeting. But that too was a way of life. Those “A-’s” I had received were “not acceptable,” I told myself as I marched to his office. “I need an A!” He had struck a chord with me. Call it over-achiever, workaholic, driven, type-A personality... whatever, but it is a way of life for me. It is my norm. I have this need to fill every waking moment with something. Whether it’s a thought, an act, or my words.
But that day in his small office, sitting in the silence, the tears started streaming down my face. The six year old little girl had taken center stage. I knew exactly what it was. I could hear Mama’s voice, "Bitch! You ain’t shit! You ain’t never gonna be shit!" That's what Mama told me from the time I could remember and since then, I had been working hard to prove Mama wrong. Enough was NEVER enough! The more I did, the more I needed to do!
Diva AIDS Awareness Bracelet Line, had a photo shoot with models for the collection and then revamped the entire web-store. I launched a blog, established a partnership with BlackDoctor.org and became a contributing writer for SouthsNews.com. I revved up my social media campaign, created a fan page on Facebook and started tweeting like I have lost my mind. (Over 7,000 tweets in 8 weeks.) I didn't stop to take a breath and I rarely stopped to sleep. Even when I try, most nights I lay in bed thinking. My mind is working constantly. Even on the road I work before I speak, answering e-mails, checking on my Facebook and Tweeting along the way. I seem to never shut down.
Jenna, told me the other day, "Umm Rae, I think “normal” people who are self-employed take breaks and don't work all day and night. We’re here to help. Whatever you need us to do.” I know she’s right. In the last few weeks I have been blessed with some very talented volunteers, Jenna included. I even picked up a bead apprentice, Renisha. #TeamRae is helping to make my life a little easier, I just have to be willing to delegate. And I must do it because I'm starting to feel the weight of it all and that could make me sick. Stress is not a good thing for anyone, it is especially not good for people with AIDS. On Twitter I laugh it off with a tag #workaholicsUnite, but this really is serious.
seminary about Sabbath. I started to think that maybe what’s going on is much deeper than meeting ones' approval. I wonder if somewhere I have a fear of rest. The author of the book states:
“We are terrified of the painful grief that is too hot to touch, sharp and piercing, so we keep moving faster and faster so we will not feel how sad we are, how much we have lost in this life: strength, youthfulness, playfulness, so many friends, lovers, dreams that did not come true. When we stop for a moment we can feel the burning, empty hole in our belly. So we keep moving, afraid the empty fire of loss will consume us.... while speed keeps us safe, it also keeps us malnourished.”(p.53)
Yes, there have many been many losses in my life. Not only from my childhood and HIV/AIDS, but of love, space and things. In spite of these losses, I have to find the strength to stop the madness. I agree with the author, “while speed keeps us safe, it also keeps us malnourished.” Trying to balance ministering on the road and my other projects has indeed left me malnourished. I am certain that this is not what God had in mind when he gave me this assignment. Even Jesus took breaks for renewal.
Paula Deen’s lemon curd pudding, go to the Friday noon-day concerts at my church, knit and take long walks on the lake front. Yes, I understand that when I stop moving I may be forced to face the very painful losses in my life. But in rest, I will also face the things that will keep me safe: “prayer, touch, kindness and fragrance.”(p.53) In this stillness, I am sure that God will renew my spirit.