Monday Reflection: Use What You Got!
By Rae Lewis-Thornton
August 20, 2012
This piece originally appeared in Rae's blog, Diva Living With AIDS.
Lawdddd knows I've been in the blue. Not the bright pretty color that makes you smile but the grey blue that makes you frown; where the possibilities for something better is there but it's overshadowed by shades of grey.
For the last two weeks I've been fighting this demon with all that is within me. I really have. But, no matter which way I turn, I seem to be reminded that life is hard for me, really hard.
I've been taking care of myself since October of my senior year of high school. I came home 15 minutes late for my curfew and Mama told me to go back where I had just come from and she meant that shit.
Having to put food on the table since I was 17 has been no easy task, but I've done it! Like for real. ... For real. ... But lately I seem to never get ahead; not just financially, but also physically. There always seems to be something bogging me down. Something ... I feel like I just can't get a break; and some days it's all consuming and the consumption is not healthy emotionally and bad emotional health is not good for my physical health. Then I start to stress more that the stress will land me back on IV medication.
I've got to find a balance in my life. I often seek God for answers and it's funny how God speaks through the least expected at the least expected times.
Like yesterday I was restless, just restless. So I decided that I would bake some cookies. Baking is another place of solitude for me. So I marched into the kitchen to pull all the ingredients together to find nothing that I needed to make any kind of cookies.
This of course created an overwhelming sadness in me. I can't remember a time in my life since those early days when I went into my kitchen and didn't have what I needed to bake. I'm the stock up queen. But for the last 3 1/2 years it's been hard, really hard. There has been very little for extra, the necessity has been basically it. Now don't get me wrong, I'm grateful for what I got because there are some that don't have what I have; but I've not lived this bare in years.
In that moment of realization there became a sadness that swept over me. I started to look through my cabinets. I needed some cook therapy even more so at that moment. To no avail, I couldn't find a thing, so I got back in the bed. Then out of the clear blue, I remembered that I had some unpopped popcorn and went searching on the internet for something that I could make with it.
I found a simple recipe, butter, sugar, water and popcorn and I added some shaved chocolate and it made a delish toffee popcorn.
After I had finished making my toffee popcorn, God spoke to my spirit loud and clear, "My daughter, use what you've got and see me work a wonder."
We spend a lot of time lamenting the things we hope for, but don't have. What about what we do have? God never really leaves us without, no matter how empty it may seem.
I keep talking about this, maybe because I really need to GET it!
It's interesting that I get it when it comes to my work. God calls and God equips! I may not be tracking the country speaking for large speaker fees right now, but I have thousands at my reach, daily through twitter, this blog, Facebook and my YouTube. I do the work that I was called to do in this most modern way, through Social Media.
In spite of my critics, I keep it moving with a gangster shrug. I dare not squander this gift I have. All this knowledge and wisdom that God has blessed me with, I wouldn't dare sit on it just because I don't have an auditorium to deliver it in. To do so would be way too arrogant. So honestly, the little I do have often goes to making my Social Media better, because this is where I work; where I touch lives, and educate. Sometimes I pay my internet and phone bill before going grocery shopping because I gotta have a place to do the work. Just last week alone, most of what little money I got went to creating a new face for the website; people may admire the work that I do, but they want to be paid for their services. BTW ... Thank you again ... for every donation and every bracelet sale ... I cannot even begin to tell you how much it means to me and it is often ALWAYS on time.
But I gotta get over myself when it comes to my personal life. Get over the fact that you may not always get what you want, but you do get what you need. I must stay steadfast and so must you. When you wake in the morning you are still a part of God's earthly plan, so don't squander today because it's not the life you thought you would have yesterday.
We ALL have to learn to use what we got in ALL areas of our life and watch God turn your little into much!
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Rae Lewis-Thornton Speaks
Rae Lewis-Thornton is an Emmy Award-winning AIDS activist who rose to national acclaim when she told her story of living with AIDS in a cover story for Essence Magazine. She has lived with HIV for 27 years and AIDS for 19. Rae travels the country speaking and challenging stereotypes and myths about HIV/AIDS. She has a Master of Divinity degree and is currently working on her Ph.D. in Church History. Rae has been featured on Nightline, Dateline NBC, BET and The Oprah Winfrey Show, as well as in countless magazines and newspapers, including Emerge, Glamour, O, the Oprah Winfrey Magazine, Jet, Ebony, the Washington Post and the Chicago Tribune, to name a few. She earned the coveted Emmy Award for a first-person series on living With AIDS for Chicago's CBS News.
Rae is an active user of social media -- read "Long-Term HIV Survivor Discovers the Power of Twitter," an article on TheBody.com about Rae's social media activities.
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