Tag Archives: betrayal

How Does Your Garden Grow

This past several days have been full of hot weather and a lot of rain. The rain caused many shifts in the temperature within just a day. Much like the weather, these past few days have created some shifts in my life. The shifts have sparked refocus for me into different directions, both personally and professional. Of course my life is much like any superhero’s (constantly singular), and I don’t get much time off from working hard to make a difference. In spite of that, there are days when I’m thankful for the rain storms that come along even when they are coupled with 103 degree temperatures. Many states are and have been experiencing record high temperatures and storms these past few days. Likewise, many people experience storms in their lives.    

Heat is known to burn and scorch the Earth. Heat is often looked at as a destructive force for many reasons, and it can be sometimes. But heat also has cleansing properties to it. Have you ever seen a field that has been burned and wondered what happened to it? In agriculture there’s a process called slash and burn, or controlled burn, where a field is cut and is intentionally burned so that the ashes can provide nutrients to the soil in that area. For those of us who are not familiar with this process, we would think that something tragic had happened to the soil and that it would no longer be useful for growing a crop. But the opposite is true. From heat many things become renewed. In mythology a phoenix is said to rise from ashes of the fire that it died in, and diamonds are created by a mineral process when coal (or magma, according to some) is heated to temperatures of 1000 degree celsius. Some people practice bikram yoga because it is meant to reduce stress and tension while allowing a deeper stretch because the muscles of the body are warmer. Many of the islands we find so beautiful resulted from erupting volcanoes that now lay dormant. Heat has its place in our lives and it can be useful and beneficial, if used correctly.

Rain storms can also be looked upon as very destructive. I personally believe that into each life a little (sometimes a lot, depending on who you ask) rain must fall. Rain storms come through and create power outages, topple trees and even flood or wash away areas that can’t withstand the pressure. We sometimes are fearful of the rain because the weather reports tell us that we should be. Much like heat, rain serves other purposes. Rain nourishes the Earth.  Rain also allows for growth in desolate places. Rain in a person’s life cleanses the soul. Without rain, life is dry. Rain can also wash away all the dirt that tries to settle in places where it shouldn’t, both literally and figuratively. The more dirt there is, the stronger the rain storm has to be to wash it away, in nature and in life.

Sometimes (when I can), I look at my life from what I can remember as a child up until now. Although my life has always been good, it has had its share of heat and rain. Sometimes I think I got more than my fair share of heat and rain, but you know what they say, God never gives us more than we can handle. I’ve been truly blessed. I look at it as a blessing because I know that heat and rain are a process and necessity in our lives. They are changing forces. Change is good.

I look at my life as a garden. Doing so allows me a better grasp of my life and understanding of my purpose. In my garden there are all the things I need along with some of the things I want. It is all given to me because of the Master’s Plan. Everything in my garden serves a purpose, whether I understand it or not and whether I like it or not. Just like any other garden, weeds grow and destructive insects try to infiltrate and destroy my garden and turn it into what they want it to be. This is contradictory to the Master’s Plan. When this occurs, to rectify the situation, weeds have to be pulled, insecticides have to be introduced to the environment, and rain storms form to wash away the dirt, weeds and dead insects. In extreme situations, when God sees fit or when there aren’t any other options to get my garden back in order, it is completely burned and regrown. The  weeding of my garden’ is what I refer to it as. Others call it by many names: break ups, divorce, bankruptcy, miscarriage, death of a loved one, unwanted change in career, friendships that end, betrayal, car accidents.  

Typically my garden is weeded every few years. Lately, it has been happening every month for the last few months. I see exactly what it is for what it is. It is the process that is necessary to keep those who don’t fit into my life away from me and enhanced security of what I’m meant to have and achieve. It’s my spiritual shield, armor and bullet proof vest.  

The process of weeding my garden is never much fun. It sometimes causes pain and even heartache. However, I recognize it as a necessity so that I can live the purpose driven life that I’m meant to live. I understand that everything I may want isn’t what I’m meant to have. I know that I have something that I bring to this world that is of value and requires I have certain people in my life. I also know that everyone that I meet is not meant to be in my life for the rest of my life. Those who are already destined to be with me for a long time have already been put in place and proven themselves as friends. I know that these, along with other life events, people, places and experiences are all elements in my garden and that it will grow, change, bloom with perennials and annuals and occasionally will require weeding. I know that the heat and rain that come are essential to the process of maintaining my garden as well. It all works together to make me who I am and who I’m meant to be.

Everyone has a garden and it needs to be taken care of. Sometimes we’re not able to make the hard decisions because of our personal desires. Sometimes we’re not able to tell a person who is hurting us that we don’t want or need them around because we love them. Sometimes we’re not able to change a situation just because we want it to. Sometimes we don’t do what we need to do willingly to improve our lives and circumstances. Sometimes we need a Godly intervention. That is what the heat and rain are that you experience in your life:

God moving you to where you should be, when you need to be there, even when you resist it.     

So how does your garden grow? Are you allowing the heat and rain to cleanse and renew your garden when necessary? Do you welcome the growth that comes about afterwards? Or do you like having weeds and pests?

The Water Bill is High

You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor. – Bible, Exodus 20:17

This scripture is one that is pivotal when dealing with relationships between men and women. Particularly in a day and age where Black women are made to feel that there aren’t enough available Black men in the world, so to them it’s reasonable to become involved with a married or committed man. And with many Black men feeling that Black women are desperate for a relationship or attention that they would easily fall into the arms of another man hoping for something better than what they have at home, it is becoming common practice in our society to pursue another man’s woman. This scripture is one of the ten commandments and it warns us against being envious of what someone else has, regardless of what it is. However, it amazes me how people feel that it is within their rights to attempt to infiltrate someone else’s relationship because it looks good to them from the outside. People who do this often believe that what someone else has comes easy to that person. They fail to recognize that a good relationship takes work. HARD work; along with commitment, understanding and good communication. None of those elements comes easy, even when you have a really good connection and attraction to someone. As a person you have to make a conscious decision to have a good relationship, then you have to put the necessary actions behind that decision. People looking for an easy relationship often lack the work ethic that it takes to maintain a relationship.  

I recently went from being single to committed. During the last four years of being a single woman, I never dated or became involved with a man that had a girlfriend or wife. If I did, I didn’t know it. There are reasons I didn’t date married or committed men. One reason is trust. If  a man would cheat on his girlfriend or wife, there’s a huge possibility that he would also cheat on me. Another reason is respect. If  a man doesn’t respect his own relationship, he will not respect mine. And the most important reason to me is Karma. I didn’t want to do anything to anyone else, that I wouldn’t want to have happen to me. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had numerous opportunities to be the type of woman who messes around with married men. I’ve received “offers” from men to be their “other woman”, but the cost to me was too great. The cost to my morals and values was one that they couldn’t properly compensate me for. They couldn’t afford other woman’s insurance. So I sent them back to their wives and suggested that they make an effort to become better husbands. If any of these men’s wives were to ask me what happened, I would tell them. I don’t owe any loyalty to those men. They were the one’s willing to break their marriage vows, not me. And having had the misfortune of being a married woman (once upon a time) whose husband cheated, I know the pain that betrayal can bring. Every one’s situation is different and every woman doesn’t leave an unfaithful husband, and vice versa. However, the truth, regardless of how painful, is still the truth. I prefer to live with the truth, than to live a lie. You can’t make good decisions in life based on a lie.

The one thing I’m noticing now that I’m in a relationship is how many men I meet want to be “friends”, as if I’m so naive at thirty-six years old that I don’t know what they really mean. That’s an example of coveting your neighbor. They have no idea what it takes to be with me. They have no knowledge to the fact that many, many men have tried, and failed, in the arena with me. They have no idea of my flaws or moods. Sex is easy. Friendship is difficult because people often realize later that they want more or can’t handle more. And a relationship is life-altering. When I was single, if a man approached me with the “friends” line, I knew immediately they wouldn’t be boyfriend or potential husband material for me. They didn’t think I was worthy of commitment. I was dating with the purpose of finding a spouse. When a man says that to me now that I’m in a relationship, I know the same is true and that he really wouldn’t make a good friend at all – platonic or otherwise. And of course, my boyfriend is having similar experiences with women. Women are a mess, too. Sometimes they are worse than men are because they can be more aggressive and relentless. They can’t believe that someone else got the man they wanted, even though they never told him they were interested or had feelings towards him. The same can be said for men. To that I say, oh well, your inability to communicate your feelings are not anyone else’s fault.  And even if you had, it doesn’t mean you’d have the same type of relationship with that person.

Everything ain’t for everybody. I say that for a reason. Everyone isn’t compatible, regardless of physical attraction. It is not physical attraction alone that makes a good relationship. So many things factor into having a healthy, trusting relationship with the opposite sex. There are a lot of beautiful women and gorgeous men that are single. Appearances only mask our character for a short time. Eventually the facade comes down and the real person is revealed. In a relationship you have to be able to show your true, authentic self and accept the true and authentic self of your partner. Relationships are not for fickle, superficial people who believe that it doesn’t ever rain. Relationships are for strong, resilient, forgiving people who keep an umbrella on hand

First rule to relationships – You attract who and what you are. Two fickle, superficial people who are delusional in a relationship are doomed to fail. One fickle, superficial person in a relationship is a headache to their partner. However, two people with the same understanding of what it takes to maintain a relationship will be more successful, come rain or shine.

The next time you approach someone who tells you they are married or in a relationship consider the possibility that they have flaws and issues that you may not be capable of handling. The person they are with is their choice and their choice has nothing to do with your desires or lust. Respect their relationship. I went to a Tyler Perry play once and his character Madea said, “People always think the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. But when they get over there, they find out their neighbor was using ChemLawn and the water bill is high as hell”.