“Live the life you want to be remembered by.”–Unknown
I woke up this Monday morning just fresh after my birthday weekend and just days into the New Year with something very heavy on my mind. As I lay in bed I kept asking myself “who do you want to be Sophia?” Who do you want to be remembered as when you leave this journey called life. And what is the day to day of your life speaking to others. Are you living a life worth remembering?
I think as we approach a new year, with our 42 days of “release” behind us, and a new horizon in front of us, I want to share some thoughts with you about a spiritual distraction that came at me very early in the “New Year” and tried to get me off course.
The day before my birthday on January 4th as I was still giddy from Christmas, my amazing New Year’s Eve celebrated as a guest of Pastor Jenkins & Lady Jenkins at First Baptist Glen Arden Church here in Washington, DC metro, and my unbelievably fabulous year ahead, I got a disturbing call from a friend who had been strangely connected with a former friend of mine. Long story short this former friend was trashing my character and spewing out right untruths about me and what supposedly “happened” between us. It was hurtful and disappointing all at once. The pain I had moved past many months ago came rushing back in again, and there I was stuck with “distraction” (don’t miss this).
I don’t want to say too much about it, but suffice it to say none of us should go around trashing former friends, lovers, colleagues, etc. To do so is to guarantee that the soul we trample on today, will one day be our own. It is karma. It is the law of life. You reap what you sow. We need to face the facts when people hurt us and we hurt them: it happened, that it is over, that we had good times with that person, that they were a blessing for a season, we need to own our own part in the mess, ask for forgiveness, forgive ourselves, and however brief their stay was in our path–we need to learn the lessons they came to teach us, and if we have some sense we move forward having learned something good.
My point is this: Gossip, slander, and bad mouthing people brings us no good thing. I learned this on a deeply personal level in 2012. I watched people who claim to love God be disloyal, negative, and unholy in ways I never imagined. The truth is gossip can only bring us a harvest of pain, and regret. The reality is that at some point you have to let stuff go. I can tell you in the instance of this former friend, I tried all I could to make it right, to talk, to heal, to restore, as did some well meaning others. I humbled myself and apologized when any objective observer of what happened would agree I was wronged badly on several fronts, and owed an apology as well. But waiting for someone to apologize is silly at best. That does not release me from my responsibility for my part in whatever conflict or offense occurred. I also made some gestures late last year to make clear to this person that I cared for them, wished them well, forgave them, forgave myself, and that it was my sincere hope at some point in our lives we could at least meet and talk, and be in a better place with all that happened between us. So I ask again, “who do you want to be ?” I mean after you have done all you can, you just stand.
The fact is I cannot control what someone else does or says. Neither can you. But I can control me and what I do. I can strive to live a life worthy of the name “Christian”, “sister”, “daughter”-“friend”-“colleague”-“loved one”-“journalist”-“author”-“human being”. God has a funny way of confirming things in our spirit when we face attacks like this. And on my birthday this past weekend–He did so again. The out pouring of love from some of the most amazing, adored, powerful people in our nation came headed in my direction. My social media feeds, my mail box at home, gifts, flowers, calls from sisters living abroad, emails, etc. was simply overwhelming. I was humbled to the point of tears about what people were saying about and to me. I did not feel worthy. And then a senior member of my love council said to me with tears in her eyes: “Sophia you cannot let the ill informed thoughts of an embittered former friend, who does not have all the facts break your heart anymore. Look at what God is doing in your life in your mid 40s. Look at where you are and where they are. Look at the love the people who have KNOWN you for 20 years, 10 years, 5 years, or 1 month have to say about you. You are a good woman. Believe that. You are human. You fail, yes. But, my sister those of us who know you, love and adore most about you is that you always own your part, you will step-up, you want to be better and do better. You do what most of us do not–you make an effort everyday to be the woman you profess to be.”
I am humbled that those who matter see me this way.
Today, as we start a new week–a new season of Restoration in 2013-my word to you is NOT to allow distractions from your past, haters, mean people, bitter people, ill informed people hurt you anymore. 2012 was my year of release. And I released this former friend with class, love, sisterliness, honor and dignity. I have witnesses. My life is a living, transparent book all can read pretty easily. I may not be everyone’s cup of tea. That is okay. But, I do not need to defend myself or chase down rumors anymore. My life and my living speaks for itself. The unmerited favor God has bestowed on me in the highest circles speaks for itself.
So ask yourself “who do you want to be?” And then do your best everyday to live that life abundantly as a blessing to others and to yourself.