Yesterday, sitting by the RaceTrac at the intersection of Old Milton and Westside, I was thinking about how God works through so many people in our lives. He uses people to teach us, to help us, to lead us, and to guide. Then I thought, "God is like a Shower Head." In Him (from sources only He knows) is an endless supply of refreshing, life sustaining, cleansing, correcting, restoring, redeeming, guiding, graceful, merciful, and forgiving water.
Through the various holes of mothers, fathers, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers, sisters, friends, teachers, preachers, pastors, deacons, elders, mentors, role models, and sometimes even children, in the Shower Head of God, He passes all that this water provides, preparing us and getting us ready for the "show" of life.
Thank you God for ALL the holes you've used in your Shower Head to make me presentable to the world. Thank you, Lord, for all that You've done, do, and will ever do for me and mine. Mine Lord? Yes, my Mother, my Father, my Children, my Brothers, my Sisters, my Friends, my Uncles and Aunts, my Cousins, and Love of my life. Thank you God!! THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!! I LOVE YOU! AMEN!
HAPPY HUMP DAY Y'ALL!!! I LOVE YOU ALL, EACH AND EVERY ONE!!!
Growing up in Eight Mile, Alabama was awesome and adventurous. We got into lots of fun, bad, and dangerous things, in a neighborhood full of boys. There were frequent fights over all sorts of nonsense and stupid stuff. The thought that I'm sharing today, presented itself to my mind on yesterday, prior to the beginning of church service. Ultimately, it's about hugs between men. Before I dive in, I'd like to share a bit of how our minds operated as children, concerning manhood. We believed that men didn't cry or show any emotional weakness. If you did, you were a punk and found yourself bullied a bit. Affection between men was absolutely gay. I'm sure we all have heard the term, "pissing contest", right. Well, for little boys, we felt that whoever's stream traveled the farthest, was a "greater man" than the rest. Silly stuff right? The last thing that came along with being a man, was getting girls. Sex made you a real man.
As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13:11, "When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me."
Now, let me put the ways of childhood behind me. As a man, who has strived to understand love and compassion more and more, over the past 16 years of my life, I see a greater understanding of what it is to truly be a man. Think about it. God created man in His image and likeness, so our love should mirror His. How many of us, men, have ever shed tears in prayer? How many of us have even wailed out to God, in tough and trying times? I don't care how this sounds, but there are times when a man can only be consoled by another man. It takes a man to know the pain of another. There is nothing weak about it!! There is nothing gay about it!! As men, we have to be able to love one another, as God loves us.
Moving forward, there are some significant hugs I'd like to recognize, that have taken place between myself and certain men in my life. As I mentioned earlier, there was a time I firmly believed that dudes don't hug dudes. The first hug, I'd like to call out is one that took place between Mfundishi Mingo and I. He graduated a year ahead of me and went into the Navy. He was home for a bit during my Senior year, on leave or whatever. When it came time for him to head out, I took him to the airport (back when you could go all the way to the gate with the traveler). As the boarding began and we said our "check ya laters", there was a pause, then a "screw it" moment. We hugged with both arms. That was the first dude hug I had ever given, but he was my friend. To this day, I'd have to say he is one of my most loyal friends, if not THE most loyal. I LOVE YOU BRO!
The next hug took place at my Grandmother's funeral, in December of 1995. I read a poem I had written on the day she passed. After the reading, my father approached me and hugged me. I broke down in his arms and let it all out. I had never hugged my Dad that way before, but at that time, I knew that his arms were the only ones that could comfort me. Thank you God! Side hugs and half hugs were what we had been accustomed to. This was definitely the first truly significant hug between my father and I. There is another moment of significance when it comes to my Dad. I can't remember how old I was but I had to be in preschool or kindergarten. I was ill in some way. It may have been an ear infection or something like it. I had slept the night on the sofa, and early the next morning, before going to work, my father kissed me on the forehead. Dad, it's moment like these that I will never forget. It's moments like these that remind me that you love me! I LOVE YOU DAD!!
Moving right along to August 21st, 1998, the night I got saved. I confessed my life to Christ at St. Andrews Chapel, which was more of a shack in the woods at the time. My Aunts Stella, Nana, and Shirley Paulette were there. I'm not sure if Aunt Lisa was there, but forgive Auntie for this hiccup in recollection. My Uncle Butch was there as well. I hugged everyone there, after spilling my entire being onto the wood floor, in the form of tears. BUT, the hug that stood out and lasted the longest was the hug with Uncle Butch. Again, only a man who had experienced some "stuff" in his life could sustain me and my emotions at that time. Also, it was the only hug I ever remember sharing with my Uncle, EVER, up to that point in my life. There was one more hug of significance Uncle Butch and I shared, and it was just after a surgery where the Doctors discovered there was nothing they could do for him. He was staying over at Aunt Terry's, as he recuperated. I remember hugging him before leaving and his reaction, "OW, not too tight, cause it HOYTS!" It was the last time I saw him alive. I must add that his funeral was awesome!! Uncle Gordon (another man with great hugs) sang, and we truly celebrated Uncle Butch's life that day! This leads me into another hug, that I was not even thinking about until now. At the funeral, I was working in the sound booth and I had a break down moment. Cousin Mark noticed and came over and grabbed me. He held me and whispered something in my ear, that I cannot remember, and my wailing of sorrow quickly turned into uncontrollable laughter. I'll never forget it. I smile and laugh, even now, as I think back to this day. I LOVE YOU UNCLE BUTCH & COUSIN MARK!!
The next hug that came to mind on yesterday took place in 2001, and it came from another cousin, Rodney. It took place on vacation, in Orlando, at a time I needed his forgiveness. He sat me down and let me have it, but not in a mean or ugly way, but a needed way. At this time, he corrected me, chastised me a bit, but also advised and counseled me. When the talk ended, he told me he loved me and he hugged me. It was another needed hug. For someone to forgive you, is great, but to follow it with a hug that holds nothing but love for you.......friggin AMAZING! I LOVE YOU BRO!
Last, but not least, is Uncle Jerry, a man who has hugs on tap. Every hug with Uncle Jerry is significant. It's like that Love that words cannot explain. The man loves and loves deep and you can feel it in EVERY one of his hugs. The weight of Love is what you feel whenever this man hugs you. Thank you for being the man you are and thank you for being all that you were for my father, in his early years of becoming a man. I LOVE YOU!
Ultimately, my family is full of awesome and hard loving men. Everyone man mentioned above has played a significant part in my being who I am today. I love ALL my family, but today, I wanted to highlight a few of the men, real men of the Hampton/Williams seed. What makes these moments stand out, I've come to realize, is God. God moves through and uses people to comfort us. Not only have I felt the arms of my Dad, Uncles, Cousins, and Friends, I've felt the arms of God Himself, confirming His Love for me.
Thank you, Lord, for these men in my life! Thank you for using them to show me Your way, at the times I needed to see You the most. I LOVE YOU, GOD!! I THANK YOU, GOD!! AMEN!
HAPPY MONDAY Y'ALL!! I LOVE EVERY ONE OF YA!!
This thought is inspired by several recent conversations that have taken place between my Best Friend and I.......
We all have experienced love or the lack there of, right? I'd like to think so, but true love is only known when you're in it. I admit, that it was not until the age of 37 that I began to know Love, as it is meant to be. Explain, I can't. It truly is the stuff of fairy tales, for the human mind. I think, that's what prevents most of us from ever experiencing love for what it truly is and what it's meant to be, between two people whose hearts belong to one another.......our minds. At the beginning of my journey of understanding true love, I could not help but the question what I claimed to have had in my heart for those of my past.
Love, in its truest of essence, originates in the heart of God. There is no way that a heart, NOT given over to God can experience Love's depths. Yes, this is my opinion, but it has solid foundation. Whatever is meant for us, has been meant for us since before we were born. The only way to see, have, gain, and find what these things are, is to follow God's lead for your life. I mean, would you take the blue prints from the architect and hand them to a 2 year old and say, "build my house"? I didn't think so.
Anyway, do you really know what it is to love someone? I'm not talking about your kids, family, and friends. I'm talking about loving someone who owes you nothing; someone who can easily reject you; someone who has the option of reciprocating or neglecting you. Think about it! To love is to risk. Often times we throw our love at the ideas of being with individuals. Isn't the idea much easier to get along with? Think about how awesome the "ideas" are, and then imagine the even greater awesomeness of the one who IS everything you've ever wanted, who blows the idea out of the water.
Most of us still hope an dream of such a love, and I'm even bold enough to say that several married people are in this boat also. The hopes and dreams become so unattainable to us, we end up settling for something or someone who we KNOW is not FULLY what our hearts desire. We've taken our lives into our own hands and sidetracked ourselves. "Life in our own hands".......reminds me of a scripture:
"Though I constantly take my life in my hands, I will not forget Your law." -Psalm 119:109 -
We do this daily but we too often forget about God, His way, His preference, and what He may have already set up for us. Red flags, all say long, we ignore. Clear and blatant actions, we act as though we do not see. We feel we can accept and deal with the little quirks and things we don't necessarily like. Then, we think the person will change over time and become a better mate. God is the potter and we are the clay, but we wake up some days thinking we can go into the arts and crafts room and make something better. If anything, we break a person, damage a person, cause internal changes that they feel must be made in an effort of protection. Sometimes, we are the person damaged by it all.
In my time, I've been the heart breaker and the heart broken. Never intentional, it was. There was never any malice intended. There will always be disappointment, chaos, and disorder in a room full of squares and round holes. When things are just not meant to be, they are just not meant to be.
Allowing God to truly enter my heart, on this matter of Love, a year ago this week, has really made a difference in me. Honesty with myself is where it all began. Recognizing my chosen blindness and ignorance, helped me to understand my own fault in every relationship of my past. He took me deep into my own heart, where I was reacquainted with me. While there, I saw clearly what He set aside for me. I do not regret my life or the going down any of the roads I've traveled. If I didn't, I wouldn't be the man I am today, nor would I be the father I am today. I'm grateful for every lesson and each ounce of wisdom I've gained. I can easily humble myself enough to tell bits and pieces of my story. As I've stated in earlier writings, our lives are testimonies to something. We all have the ability to teach, guide, and advise in some area and aspect of life, simply because we've been there and done that. The first set of students of our lives should always be our children.
I am glad God took me home last year and gave my dream back to me. Knowing what I've been through, what I've seen and survived, I could be a totally different person today, and not in a good way. The experience of true Love can save any soul, heal any heart, and provide any life with a Sun that NEVER sets.
HAPPY TUESDAY Y'ALL!! I LOVE ALL Y'ALL!!
"Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth.
Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them;
They shall not be ashamed,
But shall speak with their enemies in the gate."
- Psalm 127:3-5 -
Though I have only two, my quiver is full and my heart abounds with joy. I train them up in the way they should, and I pray that they never part from it. Do's and Don't's, I make clear. Transparent, my goal.......wow, "TRANS.......PARENT!" Rules, lessons, teachings, wisdom, and laws, transcending from my grandparents, to my parents, to me, and now to my youngans. Yeah, "transparent" is how we all should be. Most of what we learn is by what we see.
Soon, I will fire them from my bow, into the world, piercing it with love and integrity and much else that the world tends to lack; confident in their futures, seldom looking back. Move forward my children, let nothing lead you astray. There is joy to be had, all along God's way. He'll sustain you, care for you, and provide in ways I never could. Fear not anything or man that comes against you. For victory has been yours from the day God breathed you into your mother's womb! Proud of you, I am. Proud of you, I will always be. Grateful is my soul, that God entrusted you to me.
Taylor and Davyd, Daddy loves you more than you will ever know!! I am forever proud of you two, and I will always strive to be all I can and need to be for you monkeys!! I LOVE YOU!!!
Is it arrogance or even conceit to speak what you know to be truth about yourself? This question was sparked by a thought I had this morning as I pondered yesterday and conversations held in it. When someone values you, I mean TRULY values you, it makes huge difference in your life and in how you view yourself. For someone to truly see your heart, along with your good, your bad, and your ugly, and say "beautiful", is something for which to live! Then, to be made to feel that YOU are enough, YOU are okay just the way you are, and YOU matter, is AMAZING! All we ever want to be is loved as the people we are, never being made to feel any part of our being is inadequate or needs changing. In relationships, you can change the linens; you can change your clothes; and you can definitely change your underwear; BUT you can't change your mate.
Back to my thought. I am solid rock in an ocean of mirages. Swimmers all over, swimming with all their might and life to make it to that which does not exist. With eyes bigger than their hearts and souls, they go on and on, and then out of sight. Few have stopped, placed hands and held on, only to catch breath and move on. Failing to realize that I am the only real thing in this particular stretch of ocean, they continue on, in futile pursuit.
Along comes a beautiful mermaid, who makes me her home. For she knows what's real and what is not. She has been swimming for years to find a home, her home, the place meant for her. She saw the soul of a rock and fell in love. She knows what she wants and needs, and finds it all in me.
Is this not what we ALL want??
HAPPY SATURDAY Y'ALL!!! I LOVE YOU ALL, EACH AND EVERY ONE!!
Bryan Hollomon Williams