Yet it seems to elude so many of us. We don’t know where or how to find it. Is it like a seedling that needs water to grow and nurturing under equal parts sun and shade to fully thrive? Can it be dropped from the sky into our waiting arms and if so would we know how to care for it?
I wonder if Black children have been particularly failed because we see the behavior of the past generation as manifested by the sharp increase in unmarried status of Black women coupled with the nearly doubled out of wedlock birth rate in the past 30 years to more than 70% in both cases. Along with the increase in HIV cases.
That alone should be a call to arms, on the national agenda of the Civil Rights Industrial Complex and a heated a roundtable discussion but it isn’t. There’s no shame involved. This isn’t about judgement it’s about survival. Free will gone awry will lead to destruction. So I ask about love because somewhere along the way the wheels fell off the bus and it’s skidding dangerously close to the edge of a cliff. Whether the people in the bus or those standing outside looking on agree with this doesn’t change anything.
What is love? There’s a biblical example that is often misunderstood and misquoted and dismissed as something for “other people”. Believe me it has to be because for so many to sit in churches week in and out and to never get it means it’s not being applied or considered. So let’s talk about the things so many of us do allow because we feel desperate or are confused.
I know that it’s not rushed and loud phone calls at 1am where expletives are hurled like missiles back and forth in angry tones because she is trying to track down where he is and who he’s with. It’s not laughing at causing someone else pain. It’s not a male who by nature of birth wields his appendage like a badge of honor and uses the act of multiple insertions into numerous partners to show he is man when that does everything but prove it so.
It is not taking delight in receiving attention by someone who disrespects you. It isn’t pushing someone to go past their comfort zone into uncharted physical terrain as proof of their affection. It isn’t taking and never giving anything back in return. It isn’t raising your hand to strike the first of what will be many blows. It isn’t you taking out your frustrations and personal failings on someone you claim to love, when they already know you can barely stand them because you already hate yourself so you have nothing left of value to give to another.
It isn’t putting race loyalty over standards or sharing a man with other women. It isn’t selling your body. It isn’t taking the innocence of a child. It isn’t investing all of your energy into someone who isn’t worthy. It is not that pit of desperation that eats away the lining in your stomach because you know this person you’ve invested so much time in and whom you foolishly gave your heart to doesn’t really want to be with you, but you make it so convenient they won’t say no. Yet neither will they honor you, leaving you no peace until you say “enough”. Even if you do, if you don’t figure out your part in choosing a less than and never was will fall for another cookie cutter version hurling down that assembly line.
Or you’ll become angry and bitter because you were already wounded to begin with and are now even more so. If you’ve had a steady diet of substandard food you’d still reject the balanced meal because it wouldn’t seem “real” to you. That would make you a bit of a fool you see as your fears impair your judgment. Even if you do know better and choose better there’s no guarantee of not finding defective property without needing an extended warranty.
So you raise the white flag and retreat into creature comforts, but taking yourself out of the game doesn’t mean you’ve mastered the rules. If you’ve stumbled and fumbled your way through this process you have to dust yourself and get back in the game. You have to learn how to play to win and be ruthless in your execution. You have to pass “go” to collect your $200. You have to roll the dice to land on Park Place. You have to grab that “Get Out of Jail Free Card”. You have to accept that life is a struggle but it doesn’t have to define you.
It’s always a choice and one that should be made soberly and with wisdom. We have to give our best to eventually get the best in return. It’s trial and error sometimes. It’s something that we need to do patiently and with care for ourselves. It’s like training for a marathon. Endurance wins out in the end. It doesn’t matter whether you are the fastest or slowest the point is to cross that finish line.