Becoming Better is the brainchild of my dear friend and our generous benefactor, Dr. Westmoreland. She is a perpetual optimist, you know – the type that’s an early riser, never late, generally good-natured, smiles on and off cue and sees the proverbial glass as half-full.
She challenged me to blog a few years back … I’m not sure if she knew it then but I secretly thought about blogging … but I blew it off. I was no writer. I didn’t have anything special to share. But, I’ll tell you – it was life changing for me, personally, and for two of my dearest friends and my BFF’s mother who read it faithfully. Dr. Westmoreland was even kind enough to share that old blog, right here on Becoming Better.
Dr. Westmoreland’s challenging me to blog back then … gave me license and freedom to write about everything and nothing. It made me believe that I had something to say and at least one person who would take the time to read it. Thank you, Dr. Westmoreland.
One may call that affirmation, encouragement or perhaps, Dr. Westmoreland was simply being a good friend. Aah, but I’d say that in that moment, Dr. Westmoreland was an ‘unlikely accomplice.’ That’s the term I use to describe those moments in life when you need something extra – some kind word or nudge that puts you back on the ‘proverbial path.’ I’ll share with you, the unlikely accomplice can manifest in a number or ways.
My grandmother passed in December 2017. And just one day afterwards, my dear friend lost her husband and asked me to speak at his funeral. I called him “My Brother” and there wasn’t one phone conversation where he didn’t end it with ‘Love ya, Sis.’ I couldn’t speak at his funeral for it was the exact same time as my grandmothers. And it had me in a bad way.
To tell you the truth, my mind was blown for quite some time. I was surprised to be so sad about my grandmother for she had lived a full life. But all I could think about were the things we never did. She took me on my first trip, she taught me how to play cards (for money no doubt to my mother’s dismay), she taught me the importance of grinding, having a side hustle, fun money and how to run a house. And she took me everywhere with her. And of all the fond memories I had … I couldn’t stop regretting that she had never been to my home.
Oh, we talked about having Sunday dinner like we used to have when I was growing up. But needless to say it never occurred. For quite some time, I was stuck. Stuck regretting, reminiscing and focusing … on what I didn’t have or didn’t experience. I struggled, in a way, that I couldn’t even communicate but grief will do that.
There were all of these things I wanted to say to my grandmother and share with ‘My Brother,’ but there was no time. Looking back, I needed something … and that something was … an ‘unlikely accomplice.’ I needed something to remind me that life is for living. That my focus now and forever should be on being grateful.
Say out loud, “I’ll never be happy” and trust me, you never will for that is a declaration. Think to yourself, “I’ll never amount to anything “ … and sure enough, your proclamation will come true, you never will. Proverbs 23:7a says “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he:” They don’t say words have power for no reason.
What I needed was a reminder – and in that moment and even now as I capture my thoughts, I’m sitting here with my current ‘unlikely accomplice’ … my Christmas Tree. Yes, it’s April but this ‘unlikely accomplice’ helped me get through. It made me smile during that December and this one. How many times have I had prayer by its light? How many times have I hit that door in a bad mood only to feel better simply by its sheer presence? How many times has it caused me to remember fondly past Christmas’– where I felt safe and sound? This ‘unlikely accomplice’ is my daily reminder to choose joy and to be grateful in any and all circumstances. Now, I have in my mind that I will take that tree down on Good Friday. And I will but … there are one or two things I’ve learned with this ‘unlikely accomplice.”
I’ve learned to live better in the moment, to be present, and less distracted, when spending time with others. I’ve learned to cherish those moments doing absolutely nothing. And, I continue to learn to be still and relax with what I have.
A word of advice … Whenever you experience one of life’s moments when an ‘unlikely accomplice’ is needed … remember Dr. Westmoreland’s outlook that the proverbial glass is half-full and that becoming better requires your daily, active, intentional participation. Be Better.