The Pendulum.

This is week three of isolation for me, and I must admit that it feels as though the walls are beginning to close in on me.  My old jogs have turned into extended runs.  Honestly, I don’t know if I’m running for fitness or sanity, but the only thing that truly matters is that I need to keep running.  I find myself running in order to feel less alone and more accomplished.  In fact, when my run is over, my mind continues on.  Lately, I’ve been really thinking about joy.  As I have written over the course of the years that we have been together, I often times find joy in the memories of my past.  Why???  I have come to this conclusion; for me, the presence of joy is the absence of fear.  When I was a child, I was not afraid of jumping from trees.  Therefore, I found joy in it.  As a child, I wasn’t afraid of what monsters lurked beneath lake waters that were too dark to see through, because the swim with my friends was the only thing that mattered.  As a child, I wasn’t afraid to take a chance because let’s face it, as a non-affluent African American boy, chance is sometimes your only friend. I was not afraid.  Today, I find that most of my decisions are based on the avoidance of pain rather than the pursuit of joy.  Even though that may be the case, the only absolute truth that I have gathered is that life is not pain free.  At times, life can be painful.  However, we continue on.  The scars from the battles that we have survived can sometimes leave us cynical and closed, but nonetheless, we continue on.  As I watch my television, I feel for the family members of those that die alone as a result of COVID-19.  I hate the idea that many of them are required to die alone without being able to glimpse into the eyes of those that they dedicated their lives to one last time.  I hate the idea that we aren’t able to celebrate their lives in the way that we have grown accustomed to.  I hate the idea that their family members can’t dress them in clothing that makes the living feel better and the dead noticeably celebrated.  However, currently, this is our new normal.  I’m sometimes afraid to open my window.  Okay, I’m afraid.  My fear has such control of me that I can’t appreciate the beautiful sunsets that I’m able to see everyday.  My fear has such control of me that I can’t fully appreciate the friends that continue to call me despite the fact that I’m not sure of when we’ll be able to see one another again.  As the day settles in, I find myself terrified of the news that tomorrow is definitely going to bring.  I’m afraid.  With that being said, tonight will be the last time that I allow my mind to convince my soul that it should be afraid.  Tomorrow, I have decided that I will allow my soul to dictate policy even though my mind may object.  I’m going to allow joy to come in.  As I said, true joy is the absence of fear, so because I love God, I have no reason to be afraid.  I trust.  Family, where you are and when you can, open your arms and let the winds move through your fingers.  Look at the people sitting next to you.  Regardless of who they are and how they got there, someone, somewhere made a choice that led them to you.  Embrace them for nothing else than comforting you through the loneliness that you would certainly feel if they weren’t there.  Open the window and look at the world that we are so fortunate to experience.  Feel the earth beneath your feet and breathe.  Look at the sky above your head and allow yourself to believe that this will be over soon.  One day, this will be over.  Until the time that it is, let joy be your compass rather than fear.  Everything is going to be alright.  If you find that your family members have boarded the flight to heaven before you could bear the thought of them leaving the terminal, please know that they only left to decorate for those that they left behind.  Everything is going to be alright.  Nothing real can ever be broken, and true love never dies, for it is true joy valiantly existing without the presence of fear.  Everything is going to be alright.  If you need to talk, I’m here.  Patrick

As always, this week, please do something for someone other than yourself for no other reason than to make their lives better.  Also, if you make it to where you’re going, please don’t forget to leave a map for the rest of us.  Always Choose Love…We Are World Strong…

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