Welcome to the Ground of My Heart. If this is your first visit to this site:
- Hi and Welcome! I’m so happy and truly honored that you’ve taken the time to view something that I’ve been scared about sharing at times.
- I want to know what you’re listening to because I played Arcade Fire, Salt n Pepa, John Legend, Hillsong, and Fred Hammond so much this weekend that I need a break.
- Please don’t judge this site by the next sentence you’re about to read.
“YOU–You [are] a low-down, treacherous, no-good, dirty monkey with a skirt on. And your breath stinks.”
I wanted to say that recently, but I didn’t. That’s not how young, Christian, well-mannered, humble ladies talk. It just isn’t. So I kept quiet, and dug in my purse for mints that I knew I had. Or thought I had. I am obsessed with mints– not gum, for it could pop my temporary dental crown out you see–, and when I say obsessed I mean it. I am also obsessed with building character and changing into a better person everyday. Sometimes it’s a close relationship like the one in the above scenario that brings you to a challenging moment when you either revert back into the old you or you grow for the Glory of God, and sometimes it’s a complete stranger.
I saw the stranger I’m referring to out of the corner of my eye in the airport. She was obviously traveling with her mother, who was obviously slowing her down. But on the whole they were both slow, which is exactly why I was determined to beat them to the first security post, and past the scanner. Dressed in traditional Muslim garb, they looked like um…they looked like they were going to be in security for a long time. I mean, I could be wearing jeans and a t-shirt and they want to pat me down. What do you think they’re going to do with two ladies dressed from head to toe in flowing garments, one of whom you can only see her eyes? Her entire face was covered, with only a tiny slit for her eyes. “Well that’s something you won’t see in the South,” I thought.
I never wanted to live in Alabama as a young adult, but I like retaining my country roots as much as possible while living in New York. My parents and aunts beg me to move home, but instead I steal home. Little pieces from the many houses where I lay my head
somehow accidentally totally on-purpose make their way into my suitcase and into my Brooklyn apartment after every trip it seems. The heel spurs my Dad uses to train horses on my dresser, the deer-skinned rug from a doe we killed tucked in the closet. These are the familiar trinkets that make me feel warm when I relax in my apartment. Even the rubber alligators that you win if you finish a fish bowl full of alcohol at Brother Jimmy’s southern-style bar are still in my kitchen. That’s one of them sitting above my sink in the background of that picture. How else would I make it through a huge sink full of dishes if not for their goofy faces watching me scrub?
But none of my Southern trinkets compare to my cowboy boots. Expensive, leather, and comfortable as all get-out, I simply adore them. And I’ve worn them until there were holes in the soles. Now I managed to ignore the holes until this past spring when I was forced to tape them up with hard covers from an Oprah Magazine. I decided to have them restored before winter came and salt on the roads began eating my socks, and took them to the premiere leather repair shop in the City. The same one where I used to take customers’ shoes when I worked for Tory Burch. But instead of banging out your repairs in days like they used to, it now takes weeks. I found myself nearly in tears when I didn’t have them before leaving for Atlanta last week. I never, ever fly without my cowboy boots on. They slip on and off so easily when you’re flinging off clothing in an airport, and they make me feel safe. I know that no harm will befall me because I delight in the Lord. But frankly speaking, if I do die on a plane, I want to go out in my cowboy boots. Yee-haw.
The Muslim lady and her mother picked the same security line I did, but I squeezed in right ahead of them. I was silently congratulating myself for not getting stuck behind them and moving briskly thought security when I approached the conveyor belt that carries your purse through the x-ray machine. Drop the purse, step up, hold the boarding pass, step step step. And suddenly I realized that I hadn’t taken my shoes off. My buckets holding my things were already gone inside of the machine, and I was too close to the front to go back. I looked down at my flats and back up at the security officer who was seconds from making me start all over. “Here, you can put them with mine,” said a small voice. I looked on all sides of me before I realized that it was the tiny Muslim girl behind me. She sounded so…so American. I must have been frozen because she tapped her bucket and motioned again. I stammered a thank you, and she said, “You’re welcome”. I walked through, got buzzed because of my jewelry and when I bumped into her walking backwards she laughed. Here I was, assuming she didn’t speak English and rushing to get ahead of her, offended by her foreign ways, and she was extending so much kindness my way. Forgive them Father for they know not who they stand next to in LaGuardia Airport. I could only see her eyes, but I know we could be friends. I’m only looking for people who can help me grow to be friends with. You’re either qualified or you’re not. And she was, just by being herself.
I had a similar a-ha moment in Atlanta while singing a praise and worship song. I looked around and I just burst into tears because there were so many people from so many different backgrounds, and they were all worshipping the Lord. You cannot guess at what is underneath the surface of the person you’re standing next to, but we all share a common thread and derive from the same Maker. And He is good, all the time.
If you’re lucky, you find other people who you share even more in common with. And for the sake of having a lot in common, I’m going to give “Mad Men” a shot. Just to see what it is and how they act and stuff. I hear it’s quite good, but I’ve never watched it and I really wished I had when I walked into Virginia’s birthday party. Virginia is a living beauty who looks like she belongs in that era, and I am her sassy black friend that enjoys crossing my legs and laughing and pretending like I watch shows like Mad Men. And that is why we’re a great match. And that is why I sucked it up and went to her party despite being exhausted the night before I left for Atlanta. I drank a huge glass of water and watched her drink a Manhattan, and I thought about how adult and fancy and fun we were. And how much I love her. And how I couldn’t wait to get out of the city and to the nearest Waffle House.
The night before the trip was a near-disaster, and I believe I was dehydrated. Normally I am uber-organized and focused prior to a trip, but this time I did a last-minute packing job. And on top of that, I left the house in shambles, which is something I despise coming home to. Little piles of bobbi pins on almost every table, everywhere you look. In an effort to save money I was lugging a forty pound carry-on and taking the bus to the airport. I wasn’t happy about this, nor was I happy to get on a bus that smelled like vomit. The bus was so crowded and I was firmly held in my seat on three sides by the butts of three standing strangers. There was no telling which butt or which seat the smell was coming from, so I tucked my head into my lap and tried to block it out. Easier than it sounds.
I was in a pretty good mood when I got to Atlanta despite the bumps in the road, and I ended up having the best trip I’ve taken all year. For one thing, I reunited with my friend Aymee. And for two, I went to a conference held for leaders in the Church. Non-stop study of the Bible for three days, plus an average of four hours of sleep, plus the most fattening food makes me a loopy, joyful person who now weighs a few more pounds. It completely changed my outlook on my life and where I now stand. I have two options as a believer: I can give up and go down to Wall Street and join a movement of…geez, I don’t know what to call it–OR– I can put my trust solely in God who has never let me go hungry or forsaken me. I choose the latter. If I don’t learn to trust Him with my whole life right now, when will I? Things are not going to get better ‘out there’. So I’m going to get on the winning side and ride it out to my next victory. And by next victory I don’t mean Waffle House, although an All-Star breakfast (2 eggs, waffles, grits, hashbrowns, AND toast) comes pretty close. I have so much more to tell you about the conference, and I’ll be doing just that on the ‘You Hungry’ page in the next couple of days.
But that’s enough for now. 5 4 3 2 1 Blast off. The Ground of My Heart has officially launched, and I am at the beginning of a new season. Get some rest, and I’ll see you tomorrow.
Oh. And because I’m a woman who keeps my promises: If you like websites with lots of pictures of aliens/UFO’s/handsome Moroccan men, go to theufotimes.com. :)
Written to: Patti LaBelle “Somebody Loves You Baby” (and kicked my shoes off), Foster the People “Pumped Up Kicks” (on repeat), Bill Withers “Use Me”