Today as I gathered with my closest family and friends, I paused to ask a question. I asked those gathered to celebrate me, many who have been in my life more than 10, 20 or 30 years and a few new friends why it is that some people come into our lives and they stay forever, while others we only get to keep for a moment?
I asked them how is it that the women and men who love me so, and who think the world of my character, my heart, my mind, and my spirit could see me so differently from those who have cursed me, left me, hated me, tried to hurt me or who misused me. How is it that some people can love us no matter what and yet others will run away at the first sign of trouble, or testing?
They all nodded as I asked these rhetorical questions. They all smiled and assured me that they all had been there too. One of my wiser sorority sisters who is 58 (looks 35) and who has survived two bouts of Cancer told me, “It is not your responsibility to care what other’s think of you.” She continued, “care only about those at this table, your mom, your man, your closest friends, because they know you. And they love you.” She was so right. And I am so blessed as this day comes to a close here in the East (it’s about 11:30PM). It is early in 2014. And I am expecting an amazing year. Last year was just not the year I had hoped for: illness, setbacks, betrayals (not by old loyal friends but by new acquaintances that I never should have allowed into my space, who were unworthy of the gift of me, and who proved themselves to be people of very poor character), storms in my most intimate relationship with the man I love, a serious accident in the summer, and more. But you know what? I survived it all. Everything life threw at me and more, I still landed on my feet. I am still standing. I am not just a survivor, I am a thriver. Watch me work in 2014.
I could go on and on about all I have learned in this 40+ years, but the most important thing I wanted to share was that you cannot base your life, your happiness or your value on people who tear you down, try to hurt you, who walk away from you, talk about you, lie on you, talk about you, or worse. Your worth is based on those you love and those who love you. Love is all that matters in the end. Trust that. So I challenge you as I challenge myself to spend more of your time connecting with those who celebrate, elevate, and love you. Cherish your mind, your body, and your soul. Life is more than things, status, stuff, or a lifestyle. The years go fast. Life is a vapor. So live. This year I plan to live, to travel, to love, and to laugh a lot. I am going to be intentional about my living, not for everyone else, but for me.
To those who made this day special thank you. To those who have stuck by me, loved me, honored me, lifted me, celebrated me, corrected me, cared for me, prayed for me, crawled in the pit with me, and counseled me; thank you. I could not have made it without you. No woman is an island. We need one another. There is a code to life. Honor, loyalty, love, truth, peace, grace, mercy and justice. This year do yourself a favor: associate with people who share your CODE. And rid your precious space of distractions, trouble makers, gossips, takers, users, and haters. God bless you in 2014. Let’s GO!!!!