Sirach 6:6-17: "You pay for your learning."
My oldest sister says that a lot. I agree.
And time alone in which I had to separate myself in order to heal and recover from years of abuse and shock-after-shock of learning that "being black was bad" has taught me what real friendship is. I recently lost two people that I thought were friends, one was a drunk/drug addict, the other a co-dependent of drug addicts. I knew she drank, it just took me being around her three months too long to find out "how much."
Two of my older friends, whom I think of as my 'parents' just because they are older than me, called the first one "40." That's because she'll be soaking down a 40-ounce malt liquor at 3 pm and didn't think it odd when I said "There are people out there who wake up drinking beer for breakfast." She gave me this look, like, "what's wrong with that?" I was amazed that she was amazed. Then I remembered, "she's part-German." They drink bier, or is it brau?, for breakfast, lunch, and dinner; and a snack.
The second, well, to make a very long story short -- is a therapist who works with physically disabled people who not only betrayed the confidence of several friends--a couple of which she lost because of it; but who went on record by way of certified letter, as a person who (1) discloses personal information about friends to confessed habitual drug addicts; and (2) stigmatizes people covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Pretty good for a person in the medical profession with a license ... but kind of scary, considering the person has access to people's medical records and histories and can't keep her mouth shut. And, the "codependent" former friend let another self-confessed drug addict get her tangled up in 'the spider web' ... legally.
But the book of Sirach, one of the "lost books" of the Bible (which can be compared to the book of Proverbs) says this: "For there are friends when it suits them, but they will not be around in times of trouble." "Others are friends, table companions; but they cannot be found in time of affliction."
Then again, the same chapter reads "Faithful friends are beyond price, no amount can balance their worth."
I can never measure a faithful friend in terms of money. That friend would be known as a "Bankquiqui."
But I do want to take the moment to give a shout out for the Ultimate Trust Factor to my best girls in the world, and to thank my therapist and counselor for reminding me, as I process and heal and go through this "rough patch" in life, that not everyone is a horrid self-absorbed promise-breaker.
I told my counselor that I saw a couple fighting on the bus and it scares me to be around people any more because it means an inevitable fight. As he teaches me to reconnect with something I used to know and somehow lost scraping around on the bottom sludge heap with tras-can pickers and low-hanging fruit, he asked me a question. "You mean you can't think of anyone, ever, that you've never had a fight with?"
I had a sudden revelation in a moment of loss and fear.
To the loves of my life: Angela - 18 years and we never had a fight; Mary - 31 years and we never had a fight; Jetaun - 23 years and we never had a fight; Alpha ("Ms Grown & Sexy") - 46 years and we never had a fight; and especially to Monica back in the A-T-L, 21 years. And we never had a fight. And I lived with her for awhile as I was transitioning from my ex-whatever-it-was. She cried when I left. She said "He will hurt you." (I was trying to reconcile with my (then) husband when the big bombshell hit a few months later.) She was right. I love you, Moni. More than you will ever know.
Instead of hatred, as I spiraled into extreme and utter despair, they wrapped their big ol' Big Mama arms around me, called my name gently, pressed their cheeks to mine, held me close, and said "Let us pray. The devil cannot have my sistah. Just cain't have her," they all said. "Lord, she belongs to you. Even when she forgets at times, she's still your child. Keep her. This, too, shall pass."
They didn't call the cops -- they called the Main Line. I have reason to believe that these precious women of color do, indeed, have the number stored on speed dial. It wouldn't surprise me if I looked at their cell phones and they all had a stored contact that reads "Jesus: Main Line."
Check out this vid. Reminds me of when I was a little girl and that AME church grandma Blanche used to make us go to back when we had to wear white gloves and fold our hands in our laps and cross our legs at the ankle and keep still, or we surely heard about it when we got home (smile). I still used to move my feet a little bit, though. (So much more of the Lord's spirit here than in those plexiglass-pulpit-televangelist churches with the too-loud-too-fast screaming for music...)
I am starting to remember, after years of refusing treatment because I didn't think anything was wrong, what it feels like to be surrounded and held tight by the REAL "sistahs." The women of color who have come through my life. And truthfully, there's not many a sistah that I have had a disagreement with that landed me in court. We have a tendency to be real real with one another when it comes to disagreements, not all faked out with "Dr. Phil" behaviors speeches. I had given up and forgotten until, during a very spiritual counseling session last week, I was reminded:[Can't Buy Me Love.]
Godspeed to these guys, these professional counselors. They don't have to be in this frustrating 'revolving door' business of people who feel lost and hopeless and beyond help. They do it because they care.
The therapist I am talking to right now knows who he is. He's straight up good at what he does--even when he has to "confront" me about some stuff I've learned to let push my buttons, and I think he's just being mean. I shake, I cry, I shudder when he tries to force me to remember what was once good about life and when I just want to give up all over again ... argh ... he wants to be a doctor one day.
And this is my homework for the week, to just embrace what I used to know as good, and see if I can put the pieces back together without breaking the puzzle again (it breaks a lot lately). I'm a pretty fast learner and he's pointing me in the right direction back to the "happy places." Just because some pieces come apart in life doesn't automatically equal dumb. Think Albert Einstein -- manic depressive with bipolar syndrome, but went out of this life one of the best and most famous mathematical brainiacs in the business. If I could stop cussing and smoking, I'd be as perfect as some of those "Christians" out there (LOL).
My counselor will never let me have my way, (smile) but I'll look him up when he graduates, if I can figure out why the hayell I'm still here before then. If it wasn't all business; I'm sure we'd be friends, too.