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No Easy Way Out ...

By Rae Lewis-Thornton

March 27, 2013

This piece originally appeared in Rae's blog, Diva Living With AIDS.

It never fails, every time I try to take a shortcut in life, it ends up being a bad decision that cost more than it would had I just gone ahead and not tried to find an easy way out!

How many times have you gotten off the expressway to get out of traffic to discover that the side streets were a pain in the behind?

I do that a lot with my beads. I live in a one bedroom apartment and my workshop is right here with me. Maybe one day I will be blessed with a studio, even if it's just a second bedroom; but until then, my bracelets are designed and made in my private space.

Well, in the 3 years since I've launched RLT Collection, I have accumulated so many gemstones that it seems that I'm running out of space. Recently, I acquired a couple of pieces of furniture to store my beads and needless to say, it's been a job organizing hundreds of loose beads. I got a system going, but every so often, I lose patience and try an easy way out and before I know it, beads are rolling all across my living room floor. Then I have to start over again, but first I have to spend the time collecting the beads that are rolling under my sofa.

In this microwavable society, we want everything quick and we certainly want what comes easy.

I know I'm at fault, too. I've stayed in unhealthy relationships because they, in my mind, were easier than the work required to develop a new one.

I've even gone back into unhealthy relationships because it was easier than being alone. Now that is the saddest of all! You free yourself from the madness, to back into the madness because it was easier than being by yourself. Easy ain't always right, nor is it always good.

We take shortcuts every chance we get -- disrupting the natural growth of life. Have you ever noticed a short cut to a building? We have one over by my HIV Clinic. Instead of walking around, we have created a shortcut right through the grass. But our easy way has destroyed the grass to the point that it won't even grow on the path anymore.

I know a drug dealer that did the same thing. He disrupted the natural order of his life and his dream of working with children never grew. With a college degree in tote, he started selling drugs for some easy cash. He liked how easy the money came and kept telling himself that he was going to quit once he had saved up enough money. But the more money he made, the more he wanted. It was never enough.

Before long he was a major drug dealer and as they always do, he eventually got caught and served some time in federal prison. That original goal of working with children was destroyed from the greed of quick and easy cash. He has had to create an entire new life for himself with a worthless degree because no school will hire a convicted felon. Seeking easy wealth made life harder than he ever imaged and most importantly, harder than it should have been had he not been looking for easy cash.

What we think is easy is not always best. My gemstones have taught me that lesson over and over again.

Yesterday I got it! As I was shifting beads around to get to that bottom container, I was on the verge of insanity yet again; doing the same thing over and again and expecting a different outcome.

I wanted to get to the bottom container of beads ASAP and as I was trying to lift too many containers at one time to get to the one I wanted. I caught myself. "Rae," I said to myself. "Haven't you learned this fuckin lesson enough?" I looked down at the four containers stacked on top of each other in that tight spot by my curio cabinet. There was a natural order and I was in the process of a major disruption. It was an, "Aha Moment," that hit me in my face hard just like Chicago's wind at -15.

There is no easy way out! Shortcuts are created in the idle mind of the devil's workshop. Shortcuts disrupt the natural order of life whether it's with people or things. They get in your way and they get in God's way. When you take the easy way out, God has to rework God's plan for your life and often times you have to work harder to get to your destination.

Lesson Learned! I unstacked each container one by one and placed them where they wouldn't topple over, until I got to the container that I actually needed. When it was all done, I realized that it was painless. But most importantly, I didn't have to take a detour from my original project to pick up spilled beads and I learned that doing things in their natural order really is the best and easiest way to live. Go ahead and try it! I give you permission, to put one foot in front of the other; for that is how God created us to walk.

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Rae Lewis-Thornton Speaks

Rae Lewis-Thornton

Rae Lewis-Thornton

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.

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