Open Hearts

A couple of years ago, I lost a very good friend.  We weren’t in a relationship.  We loved to hang out on occasion and just catch up.  I remember he told me to stop being so guarded because life was right in front of me.  He reminded me to listen to jazz and just lose myself in the music.  His love of music was infectious and so was his belly laugh.

He would meet up with me and we would talk about everything from Jazz to Christian Rock.  He’d tell me about how his jobs were going and his frustrations.  He wanted to keep his heart open because he felt God had a bigger calling for him.  Boy did he ever.  Within a week, my friend was dead.  God had called him home.

I guess part of me struggles because I know he was right.  I talk about uplifting things with all of you a lot but this incident reminded me how my heart was crushed.  I couldn’t believe that my friend was not going to live to see the age of 40.  I couldn’t bear the thought of looking at the sheet music he asked me to decipher before he died and yet I knew in my heart I needed to ensure that it got finished.  I think I’ve gone over the lyrics about one hundred times and still can’t seem to figure out what sounds the best.  He left chords but no melody.  It’s difficult to figure out the words when you can’t hear the music.

I dreamed the other night that my friend was talking to me after he passed.  In my dream, he told me to let myself open my heart because I was starting to close myself off to those closest to me.  The biggest thing he hit home on was that I wasn’t really letting God guide me when I wasn’t letting God in.  I really hate it when he’s right.

I came home after getting some errands done and I cracked open my Bible.  I hadn’t done that in a while.  It’s very eye-opening when you read about the horrors and the celebrations in the Bible.  I opened the book of Genesis and the first thing I read was “In the beginning God”.   My friend died from complications of diabetes but the last thing he said to me was to trust that God had my back and that it didn’t matter what I had done in the past as long as I was willing to give my problems to God.  He wanted me to remember that we all make mistakes and that it’s alright to fight for what we believe in but it isn’t alright to walk away from God.  When we walk away, we walk into darkness.

I reckon Alex (my friend) knew me better than I know myself.  See, I’ve been kidding myself.  I have been fighting my own insecurities for a long time.  When I went back to school, part of me had been wrestling with whether or not I’m good enough to succeed in web design and social media.  I’ve forgotten to not only trust God but I’ve been convincing myself that I couldn’t do it.  Alex and others reminded me that I’ve been doing this for the church for a while now and that the only difference is that I would be learning the language and the terms which would help me receive the certification for social media.  He would tell me that the only person who was stopping me was me.  I’ve heard that from others too.

If any of you have been pushed down, bullied, made to feel inferior, then you will understand when the negativity kicks in, it’s very difficult to suppress those feelings.  When I went to Alex’s memorial, I noticed that he had a business card that he called himself a prayer warrior.  After the service, I went home after a little time with friends and thought about what Alex would have done.  He would have been the first to praise God with every fiber in him.  He would have taken his faith and infused the Spirit of God to everyone who would listen.

God knew that Alex’s work was done and he brought him home to start on a new journey but he left behind a legacy of love that will continue for years.  Alex’s heart and eyes were opened.  No matter what strife you may be going through, God carries us.  Alex knew that lesson well.  He worried about his brother and sister but prayed for them daily.  He worried about his parents but prayed for them as well.  Alex wanted to meet his soul mate and that never happened for him on earth but that’s ok.   Alex knew that he may have other things that were just as fulfilling in his life.

As I struggle to find my footing after his death, I’m left with a startling realization.  Part of the reason I’ve closed off my heart is that I haven’t wanted to be hurt again.  When I lost my marriage, I had lost a child, my marriage, a job, and almost a parent due to a heart condition.  When I managed to bounce back and get a job, things were going great until they weren’t.  I didn’t pray like I should have.  I didn’t praise God the way I should have and only prayed when things got rough.  I closed myself off because I didn’t care anymore.  I thought that I was just going through the motions because I didn’t deserve better.  Well folks, let me tell you.  The devil had one hell of dance with me and he won for a long time.  I still fight him to this day.  In fact, I’m pretty sure that every single one of you does too.

Alex knew that my heart belonged to someone who is going through his own demons.  He knew that it was a very difficult thing for me because I love this person so much and he pushes me and everyone else away.  I don’t understand why he has such a grip on my heart but it has left me to where I don’t want anyone else.  I’ve shut myself off to other opportunities because no matter where I go or what I do, no one will ever fill his shoes.  I’m giving him space and time he needs to fight his battles but sooner or later, he will have to deal with my stubbornness and that day is coming.

Alex also used to tell me that I had to fight for people who couldn’t stand up for themselves.  He would say you have a voice and I know you aren’t afraid to use it so do it.  Well, I guess that’s one of the reasons I’m speaking up today.  Folks, don’t wait to deal with how you feel.  If you believe in God, Don’t do like I have and praise God only when it’s convenient.  Tell God what your issues are.  Let him know that you’re are mad at him when you’re mad and praise him during those times.  Ask him to let the anger go away.  Tell him about your hurts and your joys.  He knows but talking to God gives you power.  God gives us power every single day.  It’s up to us how we use that power. If you don’t believe in God, whatever you do believe in, focus your energy into a positive realm.

Don’t wait until Alex’s in your life die.  Every day is a gift.  Open your hearts.  Open hearts equals open minds.  Don’t let the stereotypes rule what you do in life.  Love like you have no tomorrow.  God will be with each of us until the end.  It’s at this juncture that we have to make the decision of what we will allow God to do in our lives.  I’ve started a new journey in faith.  I hope you make the decision to start one as well.

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