Do you know what I’ve discovered? My time is almost up and my odyssey is drawing to an end. I mean I don’t plan on dying tomorrow (although you never know), but I’m not nineteen anymore and given the slide rule of life, I’m a lot closer to the end than I ever was before. People just a little bit older than I am are dying all around me in my personal life, and at least 50 celebrities that entertained me most of my life (Soul Train’s Don Cornelius, Nora Ephron, Donna Summers, Dick Clark, Ray Bradbury, Marvin Hamlisch, Maurice Sendak, and Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees just to name a few) bit the dust in 2012. I did the math and the average age-span of all those who died this year were just eight to ten years older than I am. Jesus, Mary, Mother of God—where did the time go? Just yesterday “we were young” and setting the world on fire. Well, at least they set the world on fire—I’m still striking the match.
That is why I’ve been begging God for one more chapter in my life. I don’t mind dying; I just want to end my life better than it began. I must sound like a broken record in his ear: “please, please, please don’t let me die yet until I’ve had one final chapter of me leaving my mark as a writer and a storyteller.” Imagine my surprise when God answered.
GOD: Okay, Kiddo, I’ve heard your prayers. As of March 1, 2013 you’re losing your job.
ME: What the___________ (oops, sorry). I didn’t ask to become unemployed, God! Perhaps you misunderstood me. I asked for another chapter in my life—preferably one that is interesting and not pathetic. You know how much I love bling and travel and food. I need to keep the Benjamins flowing to keep my game on—thus I need to keep my job.
GOD: You’re not becoming unemployed, so to speak; I’m just closing a door to this particular employment chapter.
ME: And opening a window, I hope, with money trees outside that window?
GOD: Nice cliché, Cherie, but no—I’m just closing a door so that you have enough hours in the day to pursue your next chapter in life. How you get out of the room you’re currently in is up to you.
ME: Wait a minute! This is not what I want to hear. Are you sure you’re God? Or are you the one who told, Bachmann, Romney, Gingrich, Santorum, Perry, and Cain to run for President of the United States in 2012 to save our country for the “real Americans?” Remember them? (You don’t? Well, neither do most of us!) Because if you are the same voice they heard, I think you must be Satan, and I may be in a world of hurt.
GOD: Yes, I’m the same God, but that clown car only heard the first half of what I had to say. They didn’t stick around long enough to hear the part that said they weren’t going to win. They mixed up my voice with Charlie Sheen’s triumphalism battlecry of “WINNING!” There are a lot of chapters in life that have multiple lessons that are needed to complete the book of life of every human, and not all of them hit the “mother lode” or the jackpot as you humans like to boast about which is really code for “money, power, or fame.” Sometimes roads are meant to be traveled just for the journey and the character development. I think my boy, Sheen, finally got that message in 2012. At least I hope he did, for his sake.
ME: Well, I would like to make a living from my next adventure. What’s wrong with that? I think my voice of love and tolerance is something the world needs (a born-again Christian with a sense of humor who isn’t nuts and doesn’t have a rod up her ass, who isn’t a bigot, isn’t homophobic, and who isn’t against science and the reality of global warming, to name a few of the items that have turned so much of your Church into a laughingstock). Couldn’t you use someone like me and pay me as well?
GOD: No guarantees, Chica. You’ll just have to walk this road and see where it leads you. If you extrapolate that you’ll become rich and famous from your journey, you’ll be as bad as the political clown car of 2012 that you judge so ruthlessly. As for your motivation, I’ll leave you with a quote from one of my favorite peeps up here in Heaven (Sparrowrose Howard Thurman) who was Martin Luther King’s favorite theologian:
“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs are people who have come alive.”
I am discovering that I have had many chapters before this final chapter in life that is being dictated by my age. I’ve been the poor black kid in the ghetto who “came alive” through the love of reading and education, I’ve been the affirmative action kid who went to college on a full scholarship who helped integrate an all-white school and worked my ass off in the process because I found my calling, I’ve been half of an interracial marriage of 34 years that is so full of love I pinch myself on a daily basis, I’ve been the mother of two amazing women and now the grandmother of a truly delightful grandson, and I’ve traveled a great deal of the world that I once thought I’d only experience through books. Writing, acting, storytelling, motivational speaking—giving hope to a world that desperately needs encouragement in the midst of all the terror that assails us—that is what makes me come alive! 2013—here I come!
“Sometimes your only available transportation is a leap of faith.”—Margaret Shepard
(image from lawlogix.com)
“Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams.”—Ashley Smith
“Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life – think of it, dream of it, and live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success; that is the way great spiritual giants are produced.”— Swami Vivekananda
“Carpe diem! Rejoice while you are alive; enjoy the day; live life to the fullest; make the most of what you have. It is later than you think.”—Horace
“The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do.”—Walter Bagehot
“”When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one that has opened for us.”—Alexander Graham Bell
Calvin and Hobbes||Bill Watterson Cartoon
“This is my (2013) wish for you: Comfort on difficult days, smiles when sadness intrudes, rainbows to follow the clouds, laughter to kiss your lips, sunsets to warm your heart, hugs when spirits sag, beauty for your eyes to see, friendships to brighten your being, faith so that you can believe, confidence for when you doubt, courage to know yourself, patience to accept the truth, Love to complete your life.”—Anonymous
HAPPY NEW YEAR—FROM ET, WW, AND OUR DELICIOUS BROOD!
PHOTO CREDIT: C. Richardson (a.k.a. “Pee-Wee”)
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