Remember Why You Began

I think it’s appropriate that it’s almost been a year since I’ve made a post on here. I stopped for so many reasons. I was transitioning out of a bad situation into a good one. I was nervous about life. I didn’t think what I had to say mattered too much anymore. I felt weird about where I was in life and who I knew, that I removed myself from anything that provided any amount of comfort. I removed myself from my daily reminder that the little things matter.

So, let me give some updates, in bullet point fashion.

  • Last August I started attending seminary, and incidentally, stopped going to church. Seminary has been a collection of experiences, some of which remind me how celestial we truly are, while others scream, “We are dangerously human!” The fragile state of human existence is rather beautiful, intricate, and complicated.
  • This year I started working steadily in a courthouse. It’s humbling and high-stress work, but I’d be lying if  I said I hate it. It brings me some odd satisfaction.
  • I started going to therapy in December. I’m sure I’ll write so many more posts about how therapy is a sacred space, and everyone should have a therapist. Right now, I will say that it is amazing what I can do when I feel understood.
  • I was honest about my job hopping, but I’m not sure if I was honest about my home. Last year, I almost lost my home to foreclosure. I’m absolutely grateful I didn’t. To be very honest, I’m not sure how it is possible that I’m still in my home. In the twelve months, I think I made four or five payments. Any other time, I would’ve said God wanted me to have my house. However, since beginning seminary, I’ve learned that it’s important what I’m saying and what I’m not saying. If I said God wanted me to have my home, then what am I saying to those who have lost their homes? Working in a court system, I meet hundreds of people who have been evicted due to nonpayment, and it’s humbling every time. Never would I stand before them and say, “Well, God just wanted you out.” I’ve learned not to speak for God. I’ve learned that there are no tiny graces. I hurt for those people who have lost their homes. I mourn for them picking up the broken pieces. I don’t have the words for what I feel, but I am grateful that I was able to stay in my house.
  • I stopped going to my heavily Pentecostal non-denominational church (that I love and miss) and floated around in my seminary education. Sometime in November I read about Pauli Murray. In the book, All Out of Faith, I read her essay “Full Circle.” I still am unable to describe what it is I felt after reading. The closest thing that comes to mind is overwhelmed. I took in a glimpse of her story and fell in love with her, with God, with how our lives unapologetically come full circle into reconciliation. That reconciliation with ourselves, our families, and our current societal positions looks so different than what we could have ever expected. Rev. Murray was the first African American woman to become an Episcopal priest. Her story inspired me to visit an Episcopal church. I was a nervous wreck. I didn’t know the hymns, when to stand or kneel, but I did know the Nicene Creed (courtesy of my Church History professor), and I knew how to receive communion. There was something completely different about communion at that church than anywhere else. The experience was golden. It was fulfilling. There is something passionately intimate about being in silence, kneeling at the altar, and receiving the blood and the body of Christ. It was holy.

There’s so much more I could list, but that would take the fun out of all future posts.

Over the course of a month or so, I received notifications that multiple someones had liked a post from over a year ago. I would read what they liked, and remembered how I believed. How and who I believed God to be a year ago is drastically different from where I am now.  I began this blog because I wanted to further the idea that we are so much more than what we believe ourselves to be. We are magical and celestial and greatly heard. Since those notifications started popping up, those are things that I felt like the Spirit is trying to remind me of. All week, I have heard a whisper, “Remember why you began, Aisha. Remember why you began.” Those notifications and the feeling of freedom I have typing this is why I began. I believed this to be a space of transparency and freedom for myself and for others. So, I am beginning again on the same blog (instead of cutting and running like I would’ve before) and hoping that my life encourages someone else’s.

Lessons from My Rubber Band Ball

At work I use my breaks to bounce my rubber band ball around outside. It’s almost as big as a tennis ball, so it’s light entertainment. The rhythmic beating of the ball hitting the pavement is soothing. The echoes are a nice trade from the keyboard clicks. 

Today, I went outside alone. I bounced around and tried to avoid hitting any cracks, so I wouldn’t have to sprint after a runaway ball. I only played with my right hand because my left hand wasn’t as quick. Naturally, that started some internal debate. 

“Why not bounce it with your left hand?”

“It’s not quick enough. I’ll lose my ball.” 

“How will it be as good as the right if you don’t train it?”

“I could lose my ball.”

“Bounce low. Pay attention.”

“These aren’t my rubber bands.”

“Trust yourself.” 

I gave it a try, and I tossed my ball at an angle. For that half a second, I thought about myself searching through the patch of trees for lost office supplies. I watched the ball bounce and land right in my left hand. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t excited. I expected the ball to richochet off my shoe, never to be seen again. I walked and bounced. I wasn’t as bad as I thought. 

I strolled around the parking lot avoiding the cracks, catching with both hands, and occasionally chasing after a stray ball. I enjoyed myself more than I care to admit. I even stopped worrying if I would lose something that wasn’t mine in the first place. 

Although my break is over, I wonder if in 15 minutes my hand did get faster or if I believed that it did. 

Belief has the power to completely transform our perspectives if we allow it to. One moment I was okay with bouncing a ball with one hand and catching with one hand. I knew the result–a ball caught every time. No mistakes and no effort. The next moment I was okay with losing something that provided such comfort to me in 15 minute intervals if it meant I could be better all around. 

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance” James 1:2 NIV.” 

After all, what is faith, if not the belief in the power of the unknown?