Last Sunday afternoon I stopped by my studio to pick up a few things, and instead I received a gift of laughter and understanding.
As I shut my car door, I noticed an elderly black man standing close to the pecan tree and from his hand motions, I could tell that he was asking if it was alright with me if he picked the fallen pecans. I couldn’t hear his words but I could understand his body language and I told him “I can’t hear you from this far” as I walked up to him.
He stayed where he was until I touched his arm and then….
He said “Ma’am, would you mind if I pick some of these pecans?”
I laughed and told him that he could have as many as he wanted,that clients actually stumbled over the fallen nuts and that it was actually helping me. He looked grateful and we talked a few minutes more and then I said ‘something else.
“There’s one condition,though ”
He bowed his head,slightly, perhaps thinking for an instant, that’s just like a white woman to make a conditional request, “Yes, Ma’am”
“The one condition I ask-you must make yourself something absolutely delicious!”
He threw his head back,flashing the biggest smile of pure joy, laughing with delight, as he promised me that he fully intended to do just that.
“I’ll make pecan pies,banana nut bread,chocolate pecan cakes”
Our eyes met,our hands touched,our souls connected and those few minutes and that one condition sparked a revelation that I’ve pondered all week long.
Sometimes we give up too easily because one condition hasn’t been met and sometimes we stay just because of the one condition that matters the most.
We create a check list and mark off things -check,check,check-done,done,done.
Usually, though, the conditions are more like rules and regulations;conditional love. “If you’ll do this, or if you won’t do that” then everything will be just fine.
There’s the expectation that if that condition isn’t met,then all hell breaks loose or that drastic steps must be taken.
I’m going out on a limb to say this….but maybe,just maybe the one condition should be based on Real Love.
Yes, I capitalized that intentionally “Real Love ” -the nitty,gritty,honest-to-goodness,down and dirty REAL LOVE.
Real Love seeks the goodness,the best,the opportunity to bless,to protect,to encourage and soothe. Real Love sees the beauty in the scars,takes the time to be still and present, listens to the words that are spoken and those that are unsaid.
Real Love gives unexpected gifts, sneaking under the cover of darkness in anticipation of the excitement to come, Real Love pays attention and notices little things. It’s mindful,aware,appreciative.
It goes out of the way, it makes allowances,it wraps the blanket of warmth and security around shivering shoulders.
Real Love accepts the differences, embraces the weakness,celebrates the strengths, stands in the gap,with an out stretched hand,and pulls you in the safety.
Real Love is an emotional and physical adventure…it’s a challenge….it’s an act of ecstasy,of extraordinary grace,of extravagant willingness to be have an open heart.
You see, Real Love also hurts.
It hurts sometimes because it’s often not received back the same way it’s given. Real Love often stands empty-handed,with hopeful eyes,watching while others open gifts. Real Love sits alone,lost in thought,surrounded by others. Sometimes Real Love gets placed on the back burner, filling the air with the wistful scent of what could be. Real Love waits and wonders, pondering the possibilities and the realities.
Just like the old black man,doubting for an instant, sometimes we expect the worst instead of expecting the best.
Real Love takes patience,courage,perseverance. It stumbles and falls. It falters and forgets just how powerful it can be. Real Love aches,cries and feels passionately,deeply,overwhelming.
Real Love keeps on believing,digging deep,finding reasons and faith in the scattered pieces of what once was.
Real Love reaches out to others, writes words,gives abundantly, takes risks,opens doors, sits close and shares stories.
Real Love doesn’t ignore,or overlook,or push aside.
It’s ready and able to provide,to extend a hand,to form a plan,to go the extra mile. It’ll even bend down and collect pecans for someone else.
I ask only one condition,from myself and from you -Real Love. Can you do that?
Feel with both hands, Jeanna’