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I smiled victoriously as I had not only managed to make it through a month that I could only compare to rush week or hell week for sororities and fraternities, but I finally managed to get myself to a church post relocation. Several Sundays had come and gone and yet for some reason or another, either being tired, traveling, or working I had not managed to find a church that I wanted to visit. I thanked God and Google for finding the church, finding out how to get there, and the fact that it was downtown. I’m a city girl and well at least once a week I need to pay homage the city.
I walked through the glass paned doors and grabbed a seat in the back near the door. It was a new church and well, if things got cultish I wanted to be able to get out. The man next to me, Bob, introduced himself and gave me one of those hard handshakes that makes your whole body reverberate. Service started and post prayer, corny inside jokes that an outsider like me didn’t get were shared, the sermon was shared, offering collected, pictures from a recent missions trip to Japan viewed and narrated by the thin balding man in the plaid shirt, and then songs were sung.
I knew almost all of them. Some learned during my undergraduate years, some learned during my family’s stint as devout baptist church attendees, and some were new, songs that I would catalog as ones learned when I moved west. The words to the pone song were easy enough, as was the rhythm. Then we got to the chorus and I found myself on the verge of tears.
You and I embrace surrender
You an I choose to believe
You and I will see who we were meant to be
“Surrender,” “choose,” and “all we were meant to be” were words that leapt off the screen adorning the the exposed brick wall behind the minister. I held in the tears, less out of embarrassment, and more out of being uber conscious of being one of three adult people of color and simply not wanting any more eyes on me than the ones that had already been. So I hummed the words the next time the chorus came around. I closed my eyes and I hummed and I pondered and I was grateful.
I was grateful because I had longed to get back to me for weeks. I longed to get back to writing regularly, journaling regularly, eating breakfast, cooking, going to the gym, wearing clothes because the look I put together was amazing as opposed to a necessity as stepping out of my home in the nude is illegal. I longed to get back to all of the things that I have known to be inherently me, regardless of what was going on in my life, there were things that fed my soul and kept me from flat lining.
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The words hit home, reminding me that I could choose to get back to the basics, or I could keep meandering further and further from myself, from who I know myself to be, from my purpose, in the name of work, career moves, transitioning, protecting people I cared about, and attempts to keep the peace within a variety of relationship circles. I could choose to look at all of the things I chose to make musts and should, and realize that the only must or should that really mattered was that of me being who I was meant to be.
Those words took up residence in the forefront of my mind for the rest of the day and as I pulled out my planner to glance at the week ahead I wrote at the top of the page “Get back to me.” The planner filled with times to exercise, to grocery shop for fresh ingredients to cook more this week, individuals whom I would call, days that I would go home for lunch, and blocks of time to write.
It’s easy to get away from the basics, yet I find that it’s the basics that keep us grounded, centered, and focused on what will allow us to and how we can LIVE. For businesses it’s mission and vision statements, architects have their blue prints, accountants and chief financial officers have budgets, teachers have lesson plans, clinicians have treatment plans. They’re guides that are simple and instrumental to the strength of the foundation of the work to be done and help ensure that the desired outcome comes to fruition. The basics are no different. Granted my basics and yours may vary, but their purpose is the same. The basics keep us true to who we are at our core, warn us when we are forgetting them and turning into that person we aren’t and were never designed to be, and if we choose to surrender, they redirect us so that we can get back to being ALL we were meant to be. Cheers to the Simply Basic Life!
|Photo courtesy of S. Haks as pinned on Pinterest|