The Double Text (Snippet)

First Encounter
She stood in the self-checkout lane with her favorite pair of sweats and a hoodie-nothing fancy. Her hair was in a messy bun with cute earrings to match the casual occasion. After all, it was just the grocery store. She was aware that men are visual. Old ladies often told her that a little "color" to her face would make a big difference but she wasn't interested. She would know that a man was into her for her, for sure, if she didn't do any of the bonus things but he approached her anyway.

There were a couple of people between them in line. He couldn't help but notice her physique. Not that he was some perv trying to catch glances, but it was a sight for the sore eye. He was reluctant to approach her. There had been too many instances that a woman's physique had gotten him into the "oh-my-bad-I-thought-you-were-someone-I-knew " kind of trouble. This was his way of politely excusing himself from a woman he chose to approach solely based on what he saw from behind; the kind that her face didn’t match her shape. He could tell by the way she matched her sweats that she cleaned up nice. The side profile revealed her beauty. Her skin was clear and glowing. "Unless that's makeup. You never know with women these days." He thought. She looked to be cute enough from a distance.

Plus, there wasn't much time before he would have to run her down to catch up with her if she got away. There were only two items left in her basket. The time he spent in his head delayed his return to reality. He noticed that her basket was now empty and she was completing her transaction. It was now or never. He wasn't chasing anyone down.

Another lane opened so, the person in front of him moved accordingly. The move provided the opportunity to stand next to her as she was collecting her bags. He was pleased by what he saw as he arrived at the checkout system beside her. He mumbled "thank you, Yahweh" before he hopped into the process of getting her number. There was no time for small talk. "Excuse me!" The exclamation came out a little squeaky. He cleared his throat. She stopped and turned around, bags doubled in each hand. They were heavy. She was not in the mood for games and it was interwoven in her facial expression. He proceeded with caution: “My name is Dallas. Can I talk to you for a minute?”

"Uggghhhhhh! I know he sees me with these bags in my hands,” she thought to herself. It had been a while since she swerved a guy so she would allow him to humor her. "Sure, what's up?" She responded. And so it began: he inquired her name, where she was from, and her number, making it obvious that he would like to get to know her. Maybe it was the one dimple in his left cheek or his manners; shucks, it could have been a little of everything about him; either way, shooting him down was not as easy it initially seemed it would be. In fact, it didn't feel like a good idea at all. She gave him her telephone number- the correct one and headed to her car, wondering what she'd gotten herself into.

Good Vibes
30 minutes later her phone rang from a number she didn’t recognize. She answered to learn it was Dallas from the grocery store. They spoke for 2 hours straight. No dead space or awkward moments. And get this: he was saved! "How saved" had yet to be determined but knowing that much was good enough for the time being. It was getting late and she still needed to complete her devotion. She concluded the conversation. She had a rule that she never ended her night with a man as the last thing on her mind. Plus, the flow of the conversation peaked her interest. Prayer was necessary. Two weeks of consistent conversation and the interest was mutual and growing. Long discussions, laughs from the belly, good morning texts, and pleasantly surprising “thinking-of-you” messages had become regular. He had his own ringtone. It was a little something to make her reach for the phone quicker.

Selfies were cool. So were the Facetime sessions, but they weren't sufficient. The more he spoke to her the more he wanted to see her. Women have it easy: all they have to do is answer “yes” or “no.” It's the man that has to muster the heart to invite a lady out; that was really all it was, an invitation. One that could be accepted or declined. On top of mustering the courage, he has to have tact with how he "accepts" her decline; like his ego isn't crushed or that he’s not angered by the response. All of the above was worth the risk. He didn't usually call during the work day but he was making the exception today. He had to know if she would see him again. He grabbed her number from his "favorites" tab in his phone and tapped her picture. The phone rang once and she answered the phone puzzled.

"Hey! Are you okay?" She was concerned. "Yeah, yeah. I'm cool. How are you?" He tried to sound smooth. He would have loved to continue with the small talk as usual. But the way his anticipation was set up, he couldn't wait: "hey, you want to link up soon? I mean, it doesn't have to be anything special; just to you know..." In that instant, the storm to the walls of her fortress had begun. He was coming for her heart. It wasn't that she didn't want to go. She was delighted and wondered if he would ever ask. There was no point in fronting. She let him and saved him the need to try to save face by her clear-cut reply: "I'd love to."

Good Company
She'd been in the mirror for hours; blending her foundation, comparing faux eyelashes between flirty and bold, and lining her eyes. Although she was the what-you-see-is-what-you-get type, the natural look wasn't what she was going for tonight. She wanted her eyes to pop as she sat across from him at the dinner table. This date would only be her second time seeing him in person. She struggled to find something to wear. She searched her closet for the perfect combination, aiming to send a message that she was stylish but far from fast. She was finally ready after several second-guesses. She grabbed her pudge as she felt a flutter in her belly that she'd not felt in a while. Now all she had to do was meet him at the restaurant and sashay in there like she did this type of stuff all the time. Truth is, her phone had been dry for months. It was the vibes through the phone that heightened her excitement about tonight. Here he was, someone that she could talk to for hours; conversations that went beyond the rigid rigmarole of getting to know someone.

His mom called him on the way to his date. She must've asked a hundred questions within their first 5 minutes of chatting. He was a mama's boy. He didn't mind it. Although it was a bit embarrassing that his mother caught onto the excitement in his voice. He was able to downplay tonight with his boys, but he couldn't fool his mom. A mama always knows. He was dressed in a button-down that flattered his complexion. It looked to be something from the Ralph Lauren line, but it was Izod. She didn't seem to be the gold-digger type and he liked that.

Dinner was everything they both hoped. She was happy to have a free meal that was worth the date and he was happy to pay for it. They sat sharing laughs and meaningful conversation until they were subliminally alerted that it was time for them to go. All the chairs had been straightened, the booths had been wiped out, and the waiter had returned his card over an hour ago. The restaurant manager and staff shut the lights down in the establishment like a nosy neighbor peering through vinyl blinds. That was their cue.

Never mind the sashay. There didn't seem to be any further need for facades. She walked slowly as he strolled behind her, both hating that the night had come to an end. They could've gone back to one another's places and chatted the night away but that would not have been wise. So, they reluctantly parted ways with a warm hug. He told her he would call her later. That was at 12:08 a.m.

Second Guesses
She arrived home safe but worried. She had already checked twice to make sure that her phone wasn't on vibrate. She even reset it to make sure that her calls would come through. No sign of him. She went to bed crushed and angry at herself for believing he was different. She didn't wake up feeling any differently. The second day passed and she found herself contemplating things that could have happened: was he faking that he enjoyed himself? Did he wreck on the way home? Was he seeing someone and no longer had free time or privacy to keep his word? Did men still play the "2-day wait game?" What was it? Maybe she said something wrong or talked too much at the dinner table. "Whatever it was, he could've just been honest," she concluded.

Best friend called to inquire how the date went and so began the "that's how guys do" convo. That was why she loved her best friend. She was always down to ride and she always matched her indignation during conversations. Best friend was a bit more forward: "well, did you call him? Did you text him? Well, maybe you should shoot him a text and see what's up. Maybe he went home and fell asleep or something. But real talk, he could have at least followed up with an apology." Old girl wasn't that type. Pursuing a man was un-lady like and she wasn't about to be chasing anyone. Forget him!

Three more days passed and she officially felt stupid. She should have known that this was how things would end. It was always risky business to assume that a guy was a good one. She did that many times to learn that her assumptions were wrong. Each lesson cost her heartache. The fight didn't seem worth it after a while. Especially, when all she had to do was dismiss him and his bad vibes, wait for the next one, and hope for the best. It was peculiar: she wanted a real chance at love but hated the work that came with it. She was willing to use a little elbow grease when necessary but how could she determine if it was worth the try? And then there were the times that she tried to make them a good guy. That only ended with frustration. Besides, differences were one of the many beautiful aspects of it all. There was a cool kind of groove to being with someone that could provide a different point-of-view, something new to try, or simply put a slight spin on how she always knew things to be. She thought that was where she was headed. Maybe not.

Her phone vibrated at work. It was him. Old girl was in her office silently screaming at the phone with her lips poked out and an attitude. "This dude is really texting me ‘hey sis’ like we cool!" She told herself to get it together as she calmed down and sent a blunt text in response: "hey."

"Hey!?" We vibed so well the other night and the only response she had was a ‘hey?’ Oh, she tripping. I guess the other night wasn't all that I thought it was. Chicks stay scavenging for a free meal." He shook his head and laid his phone down.

Visit Books.NoiseTrade.com/marishamathis/the-double-text to download the full version of the Double Text.

Grace and peace,

Risha

Crafting My Second Book

So... I've written another book! Ain't God good? The writing process for this book was more intense for me because I've stepped further out of my comfort zone. Beauty for Ashes caused me to be anxious about what people would think. I wondered if it was good enough. The process for my second book hasn't been any different.

My writing is typically associated with spoken word poetry. This project will not have any poetry. However, there are some similarities present such as inspiration from God, relatable context, and a creative undertone.

The book is called Close to Home. It presents real-life, original concepts that provoke readers to consider how they would handle situations if they were at their front door. There is suspense, romance, drama, and action rolled into one book. I took a poll via social media recently. I wanted to learn if people prefer happy endings or plot twists. Most people responded that they prefer plot-twists opposed to happy endings. Each storyline provides a reader with an opportunity to determine the ending for themselves.

I don't take it for granted that you all read my work, share it, or show me love. It's never overlooked or forgotten. Thanks for all of the support along the way. Let the journey continue!

Grace and peace,

Risha

JourneysMarisha Mathis
Get Out: Depression and Reality of the Sunken Place

Get Out has been out for a minute now. So technically, this shouldn’t be considered a spoiler. One of the most discussed and intense scenes is when Chris unwillingly sinks into the floor. Once he falls into a dark and bottomless hole where he can no longer be seen or heard from by anyone, the hypnotist informs him that he is in the “sunken place.”  Characters throughout the storyline function from the sunken place: their body image doesn’t change. They look to be the same despite their imprisonment.

I’ve heard many people respond to the scene in the movie with the phrase “that’s crazy!”  What's crazier is the countless people with depression so severe that they're actively in the sunken place.  It’s difficult for others around them to know because they look the same outwardly. Some function in work environments as they always have, post selfies and vids regularly,  dress to the tee for church services, or provide for families all while their emotional health is in shambles. And then there are others with stents of Depression so crippling that they’ve become numb, over or underweight, unhappy, and unmotivated.  It’s misfortunate that Depression has such a negative connotation. Perhaps people would be more willing to seek help if they didn’t fear the negative associations that come with it. Some who've become entrapped don’t know how to get out.

The sunken place can be a very lonely and frightening place. It’s nothing that a trapped person can simply climb out of.  We’ve seen 2 celebrity suicides within the course of a week. Money or any other form of resources are insufficient to address the root of misery. Just as we may look at others and assume their lives are foolproof, we do the same to those closest to us. If you’ve noticed a loved one that doesn’t seem like themselves, check on them. If you know someone who’s lost their mojo or has been sad for an extensive amount of time, look further into the situation.  It’s worth the effort. If you’ve been feeling unmotivated, numb, irritated, discombobulated, or simply different than you’ve known yourself to be, reach out for help.

We’re in this together.

Grace and peace,

Risha

God is Gracious: Gems from a Jewel

Can I embrace my blackness for a minute? Black moms are notorious for sharing unsolicited advice and opinions. It comes with the territory. As my mom and I continue to age, we continue to learn.  We learn more about life, spirituality, and each other. We learn together. As an ode to my mother, I’ve decided to jot down my top 3 gems from her.

  1. Ease your head out of the lion’s mouth: I can admit that my temper isn’t always in line with the word. Although I strive to make great decisions, I sometimes fail to. In most cases, the failure is related to rash decisions.  My mom has always told me to be mindful of how my response to others (in anger) could impact me in the long run.

  2. Have mercy: Without mercy I can’t obtain it.  My mom often emphasized the law of reciprocity-sowing and reaping, and the importance of showing mercy because I need it even more than I need to give it to others.  Recognizing my need for mercy helped me understand grace and how much I need to receive and give that as well.

  3. Always pray: My mom is a woman of prayer, and has been for as long as I can remember. She takes Proverbs 3:5-6 to heart and applies it in every situation.  We can drive around a mall parking lot and she’ll pray that God gives us a good parking space. Sure enough, one opens. She commits everything to prayer. Along my journey, I’m learning to do the same.  

She continues to share her wisdom with me.  I’m forever grateful for my mom as the woman of God and mother that she is. I look forward to the additional gems I’ll gain from her.

 


 

Making God's Voice the Loudest

I remember when I first began listening for the voice of God.  I was hoping for something audible. Something undeniable; the still small voice, I felt, was too easy to be confused with my own thinking. Recognizing the voice of God was often an episode for me because my mind would expand into this adventure map that led nowhere: “what if that’s just my thoughts? What if that really was God? I think that was just my mind…. But my mind wouldn’t think nothing like that. It must be God because I wasn’t even thinking about that topic! What if I’m too late? Why I am feeling sweat buds?” The conclusion was usually  “I don’t think that was God. I’m good.” Or “I’m going to need some confirmation.

At one time, it was grievous to ask a believer for advice and be advised to pray about it. *Long and dramatic eye roll* I was asking them in hopes of God speaking through them,  feeling the confirmation in my heart, and knowing what to do. There were also other factors disrupting my ability to hear from him clearly like doubt, fear, frustration, a hardened heart, and a junky spirit. My spirit would be filled with all types of garbage and it was affecting my ability to hear from God. On top of that, the enemy’s voice would be louder than God’s.

The word of God is literally just that- The WORD OF GOD. His will, direction, and ways are outlined throughout the Bible. So, I started there.  Reading God’s word gave me a better understanding of who he is and desires to be in my life as well as in the life of his people. It became easier to recognize his voice as I continued to read and retain the Bible.  It became more apparent that thoughts like doubt, fear, bitterness, and etc. were contrary to His word so they couldn’t have been from him. Thoughts that encouraged spite, wrath, or ratchetness were certainly not from him. Thoughts to be kind, show compassion, share his love and encouragement were from him. Pretty simple,

As I continue to listen and obey (present tense because this is an active process), God’s voice grows clearer. Does the enemy still speak? Heck yes! But God’s voice is the loudest. Smooth lies and half-truths are exposed when you compare them to the word.

Invest time in the word of God to become better acquainted with him. It will make a world of difference.

The Brace-face and that Pretty Smile

In spring of 2017, I decided to get braces. It was a no-brainer for me because there is a desired look that I have for my teeth. Some have questioned why I waited “so long” to get braces, or until I was well into adulthood. My answer is the same whether they understand slang or not: “I had to get it how I live.” As a child, I wasn’t able to get them. I couldn’t afford them as a college student and was unaware of options available for students. I gained the resources as an adult so I went for it. I had to move based on what works for me. Hence the term, getting it how I live. 

I’d heard a lot of dreadful testimonies about having braces but I decided that I would get them anyway because I was fixated on the projected results. I left early from work to attend my appointment. I was nervous as crap. I wasn’t sure what to expect as it specifically related to how things would feel for me. I’ll skip a few details and say this: by the 3rd day I wanted a refund. My mouth was sore. I found myself, being the foodie that I am, frustrated because of my inability to eat anything beyond soft foods; not to mention the list of prohibited foods that I was given the day I got the braces. I called my sister, also my unofficial peer support, and whined about how tired I was of rice, grits, and applesauce and how I regretted getting the braces. I wasn’t aware that our conversation was via speakerphone and my niece was eavesdropping the entire conversation. She shouted from the background: “Auntie, just think about that pretty smile.” Which was true, the temporary, though intense pain, caused me to forget why I wanted braces in the first place. Thanks to my nieces’ two cents, I continued with the process.

It took a little while to adapt, and the 1st tightening seemed to be a setback. It felt like any progress that I’d made with adjusting to my braces and their changes were lost. And then came the 2nd and 3rd times and things didn't’ seem as bad. My gap was closing, my teeth were lining up and I was on the high road. My teeth were lining up. The braces were doing exactly what they were supposed to do: positioning my teeth to be where they should be; so, the more my teeth obey the plan, the easier wearing braces gets. Even the tightening. Of course, there are new mechanisms and devices that have to be introduced in the process that produce factors of discomfort but I can see the progress they’re making. That’s the encouraging part. As long as I can see the progress I’m okay with applesauce instead of biting directly into apples or tearing my chicken from the bone. As long as I can see the progress.

But what about when it seems that my teeth aren’t responding or my treatment is not moving along as quickly as I’d like? Oh gosh. I forgot to mention I had to get two teeth extracted. As I construct this blog entry I have a hole, in the front, on each side of my mouth. SELFIE GAME SHUT DOWN.  I felt like it was such a set back to go from cheesing in every picture to returning to the “creep smile.” You know what I’m referring to, the wide, closed-mouth smile. But that came with the process, trusting that my orthodontist is making the best decision based on the needs she has determined for me.

I’ve noticed the same pattern in my spiritual life; trusting the plan for my life and flowing with God are a sure way to gain the end results of my “pretty smile.”  I’ve further noticed that just like my teeth, the shifting is easier the more that I get in line -in line with His word, His way, and His righteousness.  

Kicking Bad Habits-including New Year's Resolutions

It seems like New Year’s Day was a few months ago.  Beaucoup of things have happened since the beginning of the year and I have learned lessons that will only better me.

Here are my top 8:

1. Evolution is a part of life. It happens whether I like it or not. Sometimes I trigger it and sometimes it happens without obvious reason(s). Nothing will stay the same forever.

2. There’s no such thing as "good" toxicity. Ice cream with poison is still ice cream… with poison. Ice cream makes it sweeter, but it doesn’t change your fate. Harmful relationships, no matter how beneficial, still have negative effects.

3. The importance of love. We never know what someone else is going through. I’ve sat with families of all walks. Some stories could put Stephen King and Tyler Perry out of business. I’ve seen people cry and pull themselves together just to carry on like they’re fine. There are small acts of kindness that could make a difference in a person’s day or lifetime. Even the most bitter want love. It’s human nature to desire love.

4. Forgiving is more for me than anyone else. I can’t afford to have prayers hindered or burdens. It’s not always a 24-hour process, but being quick to forgive is a step towards happiness.

5. The effects of forgiving aren’t always instant. There are battles of the heart and mind that I will have to fight in order to stay free from holding grudges. No one ever says it, but tables can turn easily when it comes to grudges: it can go from us holding them to them holding us.

6. If I manage my time wisely I don’t have to count down to the weekend [every week]. Time management has been a big task and lesson for me this year; using time productively (instead of snoozing or worthless thinking) as well as using free time to tackle ongoing projects and to-do list items. Using it unwisely has cost me opportunities.  Daily time management has helped me free up work nights; so, I’m literally able to work on projects or spend time doing things I enjoy and have a restful night sleep-opposed to looking forward to weekends to sleep in.

7. There’s always more to learn about me. It’s a cool thing to see youngsters with a sense of self-awareness.  I’m no longer a youngster. I’m happy to know that I have a sense of awareness as an adult, but I've seen and recognized a lot of things about myself this year that I've never noticed before; some good, some bad. I’m now under the impression that learning about myself is ongoing because I’m ever changing.

8. Wastefulness is a silent killer. I’ll briefly re-mention my trip to Uganda this summer without re-blogging the experience. When I was a child and my mom put beans or peas on my plate (which I hated), I would tell her that I didn't want them. She would usually tell me that there were “kids in Africa that would love to have that food.” It was kind of a cliche’ until I saw for myself that there truly were kids, as well as adults, that would love to have food we throw away, clothes and shoes we chunk out, and resources we take for granted. It's caused me to re-evaluate how I spend my resources altogether; leading me to see how I've harmed areas of my life by being wasteful (excessive spending, less restfulness, spinning my wheels, and etc.) I see waste in a new way.

Self-improvement is available 24-7; I’ve decided not to wait until New Year's to start kicking bad habits. I've also decided to kick the bad habit of making annual goals for a new year that only roll into the next.

Charlottesville, Durham, & Me

I can’t say that I’m appalled by the events that have happened within the past week.  I can’t even say that I’m disgusted. Is it fair to say that something (such as racism) "is what it is" while maintaining an appropriate level of concern and desire for change? I hope so; because that’s where I am.  

Just throwing some things out here…
I find it interesting that people in Charlottesville were injured; a life has been lost; but, no one [in the media] has referred to what happened in Charlottesville as a “riot.” I personally believe that the media should be held more accountable for the word play they use when sharing coverage. If a rally hosted by people of color was to grow violent, it would be referred to as a riot. What was so different about what happened in Charlottesville that it didn’t meet criteria?  

Throughout our president’s election I have held the notion that he is not a racist. I believe(d) he was just someone who never really had to filter his mouth because of his wealth.  I also concluded that he speaks of those of lower classes as he does because he has probably never been “exposed” to them or had to relate to them. During his administration, Obama caught a lot of slack from blacks and whites. Some whites were disrespectful because he was black. Some Blacks were disrespectful because they did not feel that the president was doing anything for “us.” The president is supposed to act unbiasedly.  However,  as I consider President Trump’s comment regarding alt-right I haven’t been able to distinguish if he was acting unbiasedly or if he condones what happened. At minimum, there is a way that one can show disdain for someone else without harming others. Why wasn’t that expressed from the platform? What happened to the twitter fingers?

From VA to NC…
I was glad to see that there are people beyond the black race that recognize injustice. I was glad to see that there are some, other than the oppressed, that are outraged and want to do something about it.  I was even happy to see that there are some that are willing to stand “for” us. I just want to see some stand with us. I’ll explain that thought process in a sec., but let me state this [first] for those that don’t understand the negative connotations associated with public display of rebel civil war leaders: it is an exalted reminder of oppression, bigotry, violence, discrimination, and dehumanization.  A statue erected in their honor is beyond disrespectful to those who are descendants of such dehumanization. Some people of the dominant culture suggest that former racism and slavery should be forgotten.  Confederate monuments and paraphernalia make this difficult. It is troubling to see and hear people that can’t understand that. I understand we should be proud of our heritages. However, that doesn't mean we have to embrace the negativity with it. While I previously stated my thoughts on the forceful demonstration and removal of the statue, I do not in anyway discredit our governor for his decision to remove the monuments. I appreciate it. 

So, back to standing with us...
There are some things about being, not just black but a minority of any race, that people who are not involved in the group would not get: racial profiling, stereotypes, discrimination, oppression, cruelty, and etc. Because one does not know how it feels per se, let those that do, do the explaining. Hence my statements regarding standing with us versus for us. Allow the oppressed to have a voice while working together to support the cause. This means taking stands beyond public platforms and using the opportunities afforded to you, but denied by others, to make a difference. I was doing some reading about the heroin “crisis” and came across this quote: “‘Because the demographic of people affected are more white, more middle class, these are parents who are empowered,” said Michael Botticelli, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, better known as the nation’s drug czar. “They know how to call a legislator, they know how to get angry with their insurance company, they know how to advocate. They have been so instrumental in changing the conversation (https://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/31/us/heroin-war-on-drugs-parents.html).’ ” If you have these type of influences and are willing to use them, this is standing with us.

We’ve made a lot of progress but there is more progress to be made. I’m Here for it.

Peace,
Marisha

The Day I Saw What I Said

As an adolescent, I had a few friends from the church that used to call me “missionary.”  I wanted to be one so badly. It was an inside joke of some sort. Years went by and I graduated from high school. I forgot about the title. The desire to help others has only intensified since then. I called an old friend to help me out with some braids and she chuckled as she asked me this: “Do you remember when we used to call you “missionary?” [Laughter increasing] “Now you’re going to Africa.” The irony. I’m not the “name and claim it” type (another blog for another day) but as a wordsmith, it is beyond impossible not to understand the power of words. I’ve seen it throughout my life but there was something about my friend’s reminder that sent ripples of excitement through my soul. This was a week before I was to leave. Spare me a few minutes to rewind a little.

The past 2 quarters of the year have been challenging in nearly every aspect possible. God’s grace is magnified when I look back. The departure date for the trip was July the 15th. 3 weeks before the departure date I had to approach God because I felt ill-equipped and ill-prepared to go.  I believed that it was God’s will for me to go but there was a disconnect-one that I could not safely ignore.  God quickly addressed the disconnect and I was ready. I boarded a plane in Raleigh-Durham, traveled for 25 hours,  and July 16th I landed in Entebbe, Uganda.  We walked out of the airport and were greeted by smiling strangers that seemed familiar; not because I had ever spoken to them, but because of the love of God I felt. I felt their love for God.

The love transcended language barriers, customs, and culture.  I attended church services where I had no clue what they were singing but the presence of God was undeniable. I experienced people so humble that it was embarrassing when I considered my thought life and the contents of my heart. These people had a passion for God that challenged me to seek Him more. Obviously, because I need[ed] him, but even more because it finally clicked that salvation did more than secure eternal life. Life as I know it is bigger than me.

I was apart of a conference, a workshop, a revival, and an open air crusade. I did not see one Ugandan participate rush out of church or concerned with the length of time we were there. I stayed in a guest house in a village called “Kipirio.” It’s located in Tororo district. I became appreciative of everyday commodities. I ate food that I would have declined in America; not because I’m sadiddy, but because I was always a “picky” eater. I developed a new love for children. I see evangelism in ways that I never have.  I got a sweeter taste of destiny. The people of Magodesi and Tororo District have been a greater blessing than they could ever know. I’m in love with the manifestation of the spoken word and I’m inspired to do a lot more “saying.” 

God is awesome.
 "Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,"-Ephesians 3:20

The Struggles of the Working/Middle Class(es)

There was a time that there were three classes: lower, middle, and upper.  Now, there are subtypes such as working, lower-middle, and etc. I’ve done some research regarding my income and come to learn that I fall within the range of “middle” class.  In the midst of research, I also came to learn that “working” class is typically referred to those who make their earnings via manual labor, also known as “blue collar” professions. Let’s not proceed any further on this topic without the understanding that this isn’t a post to slander any income class.  However, there are some things that I’ve learned along the way. One of the most recent learning experiences is the struggle of the middle/working class.

Fresh out of college, no job experience, I was a frustrated member of the lower class-no questions asked. Jobs that offered higher salaries wanted experience (but wouldn’t provide any), and as a single woman without children, taxes were the hungry hippos in my life. Although I have never received public assistance, I believe it can be a huge asset to those who need and qualify for it. I’m so sure of this because I remember a time that dining out was a luxury.  In order for my “adulting” to be effective, I had to cover the necessities; after the necessities were covered, I had a few dollars to spare. There were two things that I learned during that time: 1) education without experience has more “social” weight that economic and 2) a greater appreciation for having “enough.”

Later, I gained more experience and a better understanding of what I wanted out of life. I was ready for my next move.  I transitioned to a job that placed me in a higher tax bracket with job skills that were sure to enhance the future I was dreaming of.  Biggie had it right when he dropped “more money, more problems.”  The more money I made, the higher taxes were. So, I have become “middle” class with continued struggles because I’m fighting against several hundreds of dollars taken out of my bi-weekly income before I ever see it. Years later, I am still frustrated because I have experienced two classes within two economic systems (lower and middle) and while one experience has been far better than the other I still boil over with frustration at times because the middle class seems to bear invisible burdens. The lower class receives various forms of assistance while upper class has no need for benefits but get them anyway. In essence, our economy has formed two extremes and you have to conform to one or the other to thrive. Isn’t that something?

Peace,
Risha

SocietyMarisha Mathis