Wednesday, October 31, 2012


If I offer to listen

And not judge

Will you speak?

If I extend my hand

To pray the tears away

With you

Will you reach out?

Is there a place for us

To call a truce?

Or shall we grow old

With silence and frozen hearts?

If you knew that I still cared

Would it make a difference?

Can anything change for us

 Besides the falling leaves

And chilly nights?

Do you know for sure

That this is how it ends?

Or are we worth the chance

Of a new beginning?

Bonita Jones Knott © October 31, 2012

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Relationships and Rocket Science...same thing

I have a confession to make…I really don’t understand this human experience 90% of the time. I am particularly baffled by relationships and the disposable nature in which they come and go. I’m not necessarily talking about marriage, I understand how they dissolve, it takes intentional negligence for a marriage to die. I’m talking about friendships.

I have come to the conclusion that in order for me to fully discern whether a person is supposed to be in my life for a moment, a season or a lifetime, I am going to have to do some serious research on human behavior. As much as I love the idea of doing life with a chosen few, I get that this desire is simply not enough. So, for the past couple of days, I’ve gone to two different libraries picking up books with titles such as:

Make Peace with Anyone (Breakthrough Strategies to quickly end any conflict, feud, or estrangement) by David J. Lieberman, PhD
I really like this one so far. I’m only on the second chapter but I’ve already learned a lot about caring for people who have low self-esteem.

The Law of Forgiveness – Connie Domino

Authentic Relationships – Wayne Jacobsen & Clay Jacobsen
I recommend this one to people who prefer to read Christian authors. Very insightful on why “church” friendships don’t always last.

Living with Your Heart Wide Open (How mindfulness & compassion can free you from unworthiness, inadequacy and shame) – Steve Flowers, MFT  & Bob Stahl, PhD

A Weekend to Change Your Life (Find your authentic self after a lifetime of being all things to all people) – Joan Anderson

If it Hurts It Isn’t Love (and 365 other principles to heal and transform your relationships) Chuck Spezzano, PhD

Last but not least…
Being in Balance (9 Principles for Creating Habits to Match Your Desires) – Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

As you can tell, I’m on a mission to attract more positive, loving and thoughtful people into my life, who want to commit to lifelong relationships. However, this will not come without an effort to understand human behavior and uncover the mistakes that I have made in the past. I have much tolerance for my own quirkiness but very little for someone else’s at times. This is partially because I have become proficient at being my own best friend and therefore I’ve learned to forgive myself more often than I have learned to forgive others. I think that this is a common behavior with most people.

On my new journey, with the help of God, prayer, meditation and the desire to read at least three books at once, I hope to achieve a profound sense of empathy, patience and compassion for others. I hope to see into the hearts of people close to me and understand their actions when they are unable to communicate with words. I would also love to be a soft place to fall when my friends are overcome with hurt and pain. Not to be mistaken however, for an emergency crash pad where people spin out of control and land on you, baggage and all.

I realize that even after all of my efforts, there will still be those encounters that leave me baffled but at least I will be better able to discern the behavior and remove myself quicker without taking it personally. Minimize the damage…yes, that would be nice.

It’s Sunday and it’s the only day of the week that I am truly alone for at least a few hours. I've shut the dog out of my room, listened to Israel Houghton (my favorite Sunday sound), I’m dressed in my “I am NOT leaving the house” clothes and now I’m ready to dig into some reading. I’ll start with the scriptures and work my way through the rest of the books, reading a chapter here, and another there.

Wish me well…the clock of life is ticking and so I must begin…

Love and Peace to You

Sunday, October 21, 2012

A Good Goodbye

The hardest thing for me to accept the most about my father growing up was that he had very high standards and a critical eye. I never felt smart enough around him and every question that I had (I sometimes made them up just to talk to him while on a road trip) felt stupid when he answered them. In short, there was no father - daughter magic between us.

However, when I got married and had children he often complimented me on being a good mother and for the first time in my life, I felt approved by him.

But when the cancer came, things really changed. He called me personally to tell me that he was out of remission and he wanted to see me. In fact, he wanted to see all of his children.  He was still gruff and hard around the edges but he seemed to be on the cusp of change. Unfortunately, the change came on his death bed and all that was harsh and distant between us melted away at the last minute.
On his last day of life, I came into his hospital room and whispered into his ear that all was forgiven between us and that he was free to go if he was ready. Ten minutes later, my father reached up out of a coma toward the ceiling and opened his eyes and tried to speak. Something powerful had gotten his attention and I’m sure I know what it was. I was there to witness his departure from this world and although it was somewhat startling at first, because it happened so fast…it was amazing at the same time. After reaching, he lay back on his pillow and seconds later, I leaned over and closed his eyes. We sang and prayed our goodbyes and when that was done, I put my head on his chest and wept. I wept because he was gone, I wept because I was there to witness it and most of all, I wept because he called for me to come to see him before he slipped into the coma…and I was there to say goodbye.

Death has been a steady stream in my life ever since childhood.  I’m very familiar with the pain of loss and its’ dreaded finality (or so it seems.) For that reason, after losing my mother at 10, my oldest sister about 10 years ago and a slew of relatives in between, I live to die the right way. I desire to leave nothing important unsaid to those that I love. I laugh as much as possible with my children, so that the legacy of joy is passed down to them.  And more importantly now than ever, I only allow relationships that are whole, nurturing and healthy in my life.  Anything else just won’t do.

What I know about life I learned early on, that it is fragile and doesn’t have to be as complicated as we make it.

What I can appreciate about death is that it just keeps reinforcing the purpose of life to me over and over again, to live, to give and to love wholeheartedly.

From this vantage point, I can see much good in my father now and I realize that he, like all of us, struggled with the sentiments that leave us vulnerable to others. I am not marred by his lack of affection; I am simply encouraged to display it to my children as much as possible. I will speak with the voice of love that my father did not master. I will do it in his honor.

I wish to live a long full life with more joy than sorrow but what I really want, in the end, is to leave a legacy so full of the fragrance of love that it lingers in the life of my children forever.

And you?...

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Alone in the Powder Room...

Recently I watched a program called Iyanla Fix My Life. I wasn't nuts about the title because it seemed a bit presumptuous, but the concept intrigued me. In short it is a show with a relationship specialist Iyanla Vansant, who works at helping people to resolve issues that have torn them apart. On this particular night, Iyanla was helping six women restore their friendships after having a devastating falling out over a project that they were working on called “Six Brown Chics” a blogging site consisting of each women’s area of expertise. The project was designed to help women in different areas of their lives…relationships, finance etc…

What unfolded during this episode struck me from many different angles and caused me to look at the failures of many of my female relationships. Each woman came with her own issues, insecurity, control, not being able to trust and blatant insensitivity. The accusations that were hurled back and forth consisted of, hurt, abandonment, lies, mistrust and so on.  It seemed that Ms. Vansant had her work cut out for her. It seemed that these women’s issues brought out the very worst in them and the disrespect was surprising at times.

In the end, after many shed tears, confessions and forgiveness, the women made great progress and healing was taking place. There was much call for introspection and less for projection. In other words the dialogue had to change from “you did this to me” to “I own my part in this.” It was a very mature approach with very effective results.

I wonder what would happen if we women would start owning our own stuff when it came to mending relationships with each other, instead of finding an excuse for our bad or insensitive behavior. I wonder if we would make great strides and be able to work together in the community, the church or wherever we are called, if we took the time to work on our own trouble spots before pointing out our sister’s.

There is so much that we can accomplish if we put our minds and hearts together and decide to rise above the childish notions that cause us to fall out in the first place. I wonder what my life would be like if I were part of a strong team of women who decided that no matter what, we would stand together and accept each other for who we are. That we would not judge, gossip, or criticize one another for the cause of the greater good…the unity of sisterhood.

Wouldn't it be worth it so that we can leave our daughters a legacy of healthy female relationships? From that many more things would be accomplished and a deep healing could occur in those of us who often choose to stand alone because we are tired of the disappointments that come from being in the midst of our sisters.

The bottom line is, whatever I leave unresolved is the very thing that I will project on my sister. However, the very thing that I choose healing for, may be the very thing that heals my sister...