It was a few weeks ago on October 14th that I was afforded the privilege of marking one more year with my husband and soulmate, James A. Lacy. The celebration and acknowledgement of his birthday took on a new form for me this year!
It was not about how early in the day I could get a social media posting going to alert friends about his birthday. No, that was not on the agenda this year. Besides, I know of at least one portal that generates birthday alerts that gives well-wishers the opportunity to acknowledge birthdays. Some did make good use of that to express birthday sentiments, and I thank them for that. Others celebrated him by sending him text messages, making phone calls, and in the old-fashioned way- – -by being physically present and taking charge of what turned out to be a rather meaningful and unique surprise informal gathering which underscored a variety of themes aimed at celebrating and sincerely acknowledging his sweet spirit from a close vantage point.
It is not surprising that the celebration did not end on the day of his birthday as more extended family members have since stopped by to show him some love!
My heartfelt gratitude goes to all who contributed to making Birthday 2017 ever so exciting for him.
As I mark my own birthday in the hospital waiting room today, with much anticipation of the answers to questions that have cropped up of late, I cannot think of a better way to spend my time than to write this open letter for all to understand what my husband means to me. I hope by doing this, more people would open up and subscribe to a culture that accommodates the celebration of humankind in a grand way – as the default modus operandi – be it in celebration of the spouse, the offspring, the neighbor, the boss or Joe Blow! Here goes!
Love, respect and reciprocity engender credit for the role our partners play in empowering us. I invite you to share your story.
My dearest Darling Jim:
In addition to being grateful for “One More Year”, my position with regards to celebrating you is one which takes the form of daily in-the-moment meaningful interactions that bear as much significance as the birthday milestone itself. Giving credit where credit is due, I thank God for using Rev. Dr. & Mrs. Thomas Lacy to manifest his handiwork in the form of the kind, gentle, courageous and selfless human being that I know you to be. As I celebrate you, I thank God for blessing me with a partner of such courage, resilience, stamina, caliber, and integrity, …and for heeding to my prayer that if there was ever to be a second time around, it was going to have to be with a man (an earthly Angel) who possessed the qualities you possess, my darling.
Even though you have- – – along with me- – -subscribed to a real life demonstration of what happens when we ask for what we want—knowing that once we play our own part, our wishes do stand the chance of coming true—I cannot in good conscience embrace this “ask-do-believe concept”, without doing the same for our resolve to navigate to the best of our abilities, the unwelcome guests that come in the form of serious health challenges we are currently navigating. Your propensity for grace to precede all – – -while under fire- – -is second to none! You have effectively subscribed to a new definition of what it means to gracefully navigate life-altering challenges. I thank you for making it so much easier for me to keep my composure and focus on the important lessons of our journey. I am proud to say that you and I are card-carrying members of a breed that embraces emotional and spiritual growth in the midst of life’s calamities and its resulting side shows as its status quo. How wonderful!
Come Hell or High Water!
You know what is so special about our partnership? It is the unwavering awareness of our role on this earth – our unshakable raison d’être that brings and maintains meaning to our collective lives. Thank you for being the perfect “accomplice” to a mindset which effortlessly dictates that even as we go through our own trials and tribulations, if we could “help somebody along the way”, our “living shall not be in vain”!
You are truly a Class Act…and a Half!
I will continue to smile for you, knowing that you are right for me, and I am right for you, my darling…in sickness and in health! You are the best birthday gift I can wish for today! I suspect Mama, Samuel and Madona understand why they have to play second fiddle at this time. 🙂
Please accept my sincerest wishes for an eventful, productive and meaningful 2015. I wish you all the health and prosperity that you may wish for yourself. It is also my hope that as you reach out for a brand new canvas of life’s experiences in 2015, you will not neglect to include in your supplies box, the tools of 2014 that you used to positively affect your life and that of the people around you.
Along with the aforementioned tools of healthy engagement, we must employ the all-too-often evasive tools of self-examination and self-engagement! This honest conversation we hold with ourselves will, undoubtedly, help us examine our missteps, our misspeaks and our follies which we sometimes unwittingly have used to damage, or outright kill, the spirit of people who have looked up to us for guidance, support, leadership, emotional security, or even a simple connection in times of emotional need.
If this is beginning to look like a list of tools in its own right, it is because it certainly is. I suspect there are as many who would willingly take on this self-examination, as there are those who are not quite prepared to take this journey as yet. For those of us who are not quite there yet, the good news is that when we are ready, this process will cost us nothing. Thankfully, it begins and ends with us, and can be turned on when we are truly ready to take the leap.
Another related move that is necessary for the actualization of all the wonderful wishes that have been sent our way, is for us to develop heightened and renewed awareness of how to do unto others as we would have them do unto us.
Allow me to share some suggestions that might help this process along.
Let us aspire …
1. To eliminate the tendency to bully, arm-wrestle or indoctrinate those we regard as highly susceptible to our manipulative ways. This insecurity-based modality makes us a perpetual target, robs others of the joy of celebrating us and sends the wrong message to our children.
2. To refrain from being dismissive of people we believe have “nothing of consequence” to offer us. For this says more about our ineptness and our inability to grasp the concept that everyone matters, and that people are placed in our lives to help us grow and see life from a fresh and healthy perspective. This gift is simply priceless – everyone grows, and everyone wins!
3. To operate in a manner devoid of the mind games vindictive people play to get “even”. There are other effective ways to make our feelings known that will earn us much respect – even in the eyes of our enemies. Out with the ugliness of organizational, institutional, community and family thuggery! Civility always wins!
4. To refrain from the thinking that racism and discrimination will go away without any effort on our part. We must try to avoid sending poison darts at anyone – our own kind included. It cannot be disputed that some of us project hatred and resentment toward others because we can’t be bothered to relate to the common thread that runs through the fabric of mankind. In some instances, all will be well as long as “they know their place” in the restrictive mould we have crafted for them. Also, have you heard? Tokenism is on its last leg. Let us be the first to eradicate this poisonous self-esteem buster, and make sincerity-in-engagement the new normal, replacing tokenism with full inclusion based on equal opportunity.
5. To gain a full understanding of why staying on the ground when “life” knocks us down, is not and never will be a viable option. Let us not take our innate ability to pick ourselves up off the ground lightly, for we must remind ourselves that there would be no talk of “knocking us down” if we were naturally meant to stay on the ground.
6. To operate with the awareness that there is no justification for the perpetration or tolerance of insensitivity and rudeness. We can always take the high road and find a way to say or do something that makes a positive contribution to our legacy.
7. To seek professional help if all this looks like jargon to us. Otherwise, let us strive towards defining and re-defining ourselves with a promise to touch the life of someone – anyone – we believe has “nothing of consequence” to offer us in return. We can make this a positive move towards receptivity, which should open our hearts and minds wide enough to allow for the manifestation of all the fantastic wishes and prayers we have been showered with this new year.
I conclude with a prayer that people from around the world will keep in the forefront of their minds the thinking that true legacy-building has more to do with the exceptional ways we have related to humanity, and less to do with the material wealth we leave behind. Material wealth is disposable. Unhealthy family, institutional and community dynamics can only result in destructive and unwholesome legacies!
The legacy I speak of consoles us and give us strength to go on when our loved ones depart from this world. It compels us to follow the footsteps of those who have touched hearts and minds in their quest for excellence and altruism. As my father’s soul rests in peace (1921-2014), I promise to do my utmost to uphold his rich and admirable legacy. Even as I miss him so much, I am consoled by the major contribution he has made to the lessons of my life!
Again, I wish you a Happy New Year. Please do not hesitate to share with me the details of how you incorporate these tools and those of your own into your life’s journey. I would like to hear how you have chosen to receive the warm sentiments you have received.