I let the peace of God rule in my heart, and I refuse to worry about anything. So if I’m not able to communicate with the outside world because my phone has no service because all Blackberry’s around the world are experiencing lack of cell phone data because they really just want you to buy an iPhone but I’m not getting a stupid iPhone because I like buttons on my phone thank you very much because I was born when Ronald Reagan was in office and we had buttons back then…then so be it.
It’s the kind of day when you need songs like Kari Jobe’s “Healer”, but you also need some Red Hot Chili Peppers. Yes, I said the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Have you ever listened to their remake of Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground” and just mumbled along? Check out what you’re saying:
I’m so darn glad He let me try it again,
‘Cause my last time on earth I lived a whole world of sin.
I’m so glad that I know more than I knew then.
Gonna keep on tryin’ till I reach the highest ground.
Cleaning out my music collection was tough, but googling the lyrics– pay attention to what you listen to kitten face!– showed me who my new favorites were. I heard that Madonna is going to be the Super Bowl half-time show this year. I have a mixed reaction. I like her music, but not as much as I used to. I used to see Madonna almost every Friday night at the Kabbalah Center. That’s a true story. Before I discovered the Truth, I used to pay thirty or forty dollars to eat Shabbat dinner with Madonna and other Kabbalists, and I paid a lot more to take classes on love and freedom from hurt and whatever I thought would help me get free from using cocaine. Plus I used to clean the bookstore, wash dishes, and say prayers that I couldn’t understand in the Kabbalah Center weekly. For over a year you wouldn’t catch me without a thin red string tied around my wrist. So I know a thing or two about being Jewish. And it ain’t just because I love hummus.
If Waffle House had hummus, I’d move back to the South a little earlier than planned. As soon as I put down their plastic menu I ordered my All-Star meal and picked up the phone to call Xica (Shee-ka). She answered of course. She always answers the phone. And the way she answers it tells me that she loves me greatly. We had a quick conversation, just long enough for me to double-check the next day’s meet-up time and place. I flew from Atlanta to New York the next morning, and when Brandon and I arrived in Cranford, New Jersey that afternoon the sun was shining. We sat down on a bench and watched traffic go by as we waited for Xica to pick us up. He got some shrimp fried rice from a place down the street, and I talked to God about how happy I was that He continues to restore old friendships like the ones I have with the Jersey crew. I’ve known Najwa and Xica since I was 11 or 12 years old, and here we were on our way to Najwa’s wedding. My phone rang and when I answered it I heard Xica frantically breathing. “My car is dirty!”, she kept saying. As if I cared. But she made us, both of us, sit in the back seat to avoid moving at least four changes of clothing, make-up, a statue, lotion bottles, paper, books, and whatever else was up there. To be fair, the statue– which shows two Black people getting it on– was her gift for the bride and groom. But to be unfair, a statue of two people having sex wasn’t on their registry in the first place. And where are they going to put that?! Not on the table we got them I hope.
From Cranford we had at least another hour and thirty minutes to the wedding site. Not one to mess with on the road, Xica started speeding past cute little houses in cute little towns that Brandon swore he’d never want to live in. We were in the middle of discussing our high school reunions when she came to a stop behind a huge pick-up truck. The passenger door of the truck opened and a guy hopped out. The driver of the pick-up truck didn’t hit the gas, but sat there. Xica started yelling, but I couldn’t really see what was happening since I was in the friggin’ back seat. “Move! MOVE!”, she started yelling, and then she laid her whole body into the horn. Hard. She couldn’t go around him so she just kept honking. I leaned my body to the side and saw that not only was there a car in front of him, but we were at a red light. She said something about not being able to tell there was a red light since his pick-up truck was so big, and kept right on going.
The wedding was beautiful. Or so I think. That GPS on her windshield, that thing lied to us and told us we’d be there at 6:28. And we didn’t get there until almost 7:30. We missed the entire ceremony, and Xica sounded so defeated by the time she pulled her car up to the valet guys. I was really surprised at how much traffic we hit on the way, since it was Yom Kippur and all. Xica asked me what Yom Kippur was and I happily launched into a long explanation of the tabernacle and the veil and Jewish laws and the day of atonement. She let me finish my whole speech, waited a minute or two and said, “Yeah. I like that. I can just apologize at the end of the year?” “Sort of. I mean, you call people and you atone for any hurt you’ve caused them,” I said. She started trying to think of any people she’d hurt but couldn’t come up with any, and then said she wanted to be Jewish anyway. Not finding it funny, I made her say the Prayer of Salvation on the freeway. And that probably had something to do with us getting there when the reception was starting.
Our trio scrambled into cocktail hour, and then tried to play it cool. Well really I tried to play it cool, but Xica was already looking like she belonged there and Brandon is always extra cool. We found our table, and got settled. The doors flung open and the wedding party emerged. Every picture I have of the ten minutes after that is blurry because I had happy-shakey-hands and was trying so hard not to cry. Najwa looked more beautiful than I’ve ever seen her, and she made a fine choice in marrying David. Together they looked like perfection. The room, the whole set-up was so elegant, and I felt so grown-up all of a sudden. Married, wow. All of the food was excellent, but I still couldn’t convince Brandon to eat three tiny leaves of salad. I pulled Xica with me over to their table-for-two to take pictures, and I burst into tears. Holding one of my oldest friend’s hands I hugged the other oldest friend, and I can’t describe how happy I felt. Even when we went back to our table I kept crying and telling Xica how much I loved her, and how I know that I could call her at anytime, day or night, and she would be there for me. When it goes down, you need people who will back you up, clean you up, pray and pull you up, and never tell a soul.
When we left I was tired. I had danced the Electric Slide and the Cha Cha Slide and the Wobble too. But I was talking a mile a minute. And so was Xica. This time I demanded to sit in the front so that we could talk about what else, relationships. Brandon moved a few people around on his fantasy football team by phone, then went to sleep in the back. We got into an in-depth discussion about love and the sacrifices it takes to make it work. We talked about divorce too, and I said it wasn’t an option for me. She told me she thought people should live together beforehand to make sure they know what they’re getting into, and I started arguing how that’s wrong. Don’t play house with your boyfriend. “Why not?”, she asked me. I told her, “Because the Bible says not to. Jesus doesn’t approve.”
“See…if I was Jewish all I’d have to do is apologize. And you know who I think I’m going to use my first Jewish apology for?…That man in the pick-up truck.”
Written to: Vashwan Mitchell “Nobody Greater”, Beyonce “Love On Top”, Missy Elliott “Get Your Freak On”.