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"trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.
in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall make your paths straight."
- Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)
for our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities,
against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."
- Ephesians 6:12 (NIV)
those are easily the most important Bible scriptures my mother ever taught me. i remain thankful to God that she did.
this past Friday, my mom remarried my stepfather. it was real hush-hush, no big to do. they barely told anyone. they got married up at my old church in Wappingers Falls. Reverend Edward L. Hunt officiated the ceremony (the same pastor that oversaw my marriage to Beth). later that night, there was a big celebration in a social club around the way. not only did mom get married, but she's moving down to Norfolk, VA where Jaleel (my stepfather) already resides. he's living well, early leave from the post office on retirement. he worked there for a long time. it represents a new start for my mother, the closing of a chapter of her life and the beginning of a new one. a whole new book, really. all my life i've seen this woman do for others while denying her own needs. the cycle has been survival and sacrifice on constant repeat. now, the happy ending's in sight. no one's more deserving of one than her.
she initially was concerned about what i would think. she knows that i remember 1994 all too well. that was the year that our family fell apart. you could cut the tension in the house with a chainsaw. it would push on the walls and threaten to blow the place apart. i can remember coming home from college only to find a "FOR SALE" sign on the lawn and thinking to myself, what the hell is going on? Jaleel's a Muslim and my mom's a Christian. this is around the time that the more zealous of the Christian faith would quote the Bible and say, "be not unequally yoked." in other words, don't get down with someone that's not about the same thing as you are, who's not drawing their strength from the same power source. normally, i would agree, but honestly, they lasted longer the first time around than married couples of the same faith do nowadays. hell, they lasted longer than most married couples PERIOD. people get divorced like they're taking a time out nowadays, like it's a free summer meal at the Y or something.
i would also agree if i didn't notice the change in Jaleel. he's not the same man. mom's commented on it as well. he's more easy going and laid back than he was before, more open-minded, more patient. even more so than my mom. i can remember when he used to watch basketball games and throw balled-up socks at the television (while screaming, "what are you DOIN'?!?!?") when his team was behind. he doesn't even do that anymore. it's not the first time i noticed the change. a few years back, he came to visit my mom and surprised me when i came home from college on break. i walk in my mom's place and he's there with a big smile on his face. every time i went to shake his hand, he hugged me instead. every time. that in and of itself blew me away, because that wasn't in him when we were a family the first time around. and i think that's what won mom over recently. brother man let her know point blank that life was miserable without her. he even suggested that everything he learned about love he learned from her, as well as her family. that's pretty deep when i think about it. there really is a lot of love within my mom's side of the family, and it tends to overflow onto neighbors, friends, acquaintances, and strangers. it would explain why my aunt's still cool with most of the men she's dated. it would explain why my family still had love for Jaleel and treated him like family even when the divorce went through. my mom's side of the family's just like that.
they both look younger the second time around. there's something to be said for that. i am extremely happy for them both and i wish them a lifetime of the happiness that they feel right now and for it to increase in leaps and bounds. i'd be lying if i said that mom moving to Virginia didn't effect me. i'm closer to mom than i am to my father. we've always been close and we've been through a lot together. i know i'm gonna miss her because i gave her one of my mix CDs. i never do that. i'll say a gig went fine or something, but i never let her hear one of my mixes before. although i'm her youngest, i haven't gone straight brat on her and yelled out, "NO, YOU CAN'T LEAVE!!!" if anyone's gonna go straight brat, it would be my older sister. she's been okay up until this point, though. she could just be putting on a brave front, because to a certain extent, i know i am. there's a quiet sadness that comes with this kind of change, but asking her to stay would be really unfair. she's paid enough dues in her life. this is her time, hers to enjoy as she sees fit. and knowing that the move makes her happy is more than enough for me.
within the past year and a half, i came to the conclusion that i was raised by two hustlers. my father...he is hustler to the bone, a former pool shark who hasn't left the pool hall, even though the hall's been shut down for decades and reopened as a convenience store. he tried to teach me how to play pool on his 60th birthday, as if i was the heir apparent to Minnesota Fats. if you ever see me holding a cue stick, it means that i'm about to beat somebody with it or i'm about to break out into an air guitar solo. mom's hustle was different, though: it was about putting food on the table, clothes on my back, making sure i got a good education, doing better for her children than what she had. if she had to dig ditches, she would. her love ran that deep.
it's cool, though. at least now i've got a great excuse to head down south when i get sick of New York (which can more than likely happen within the next few hours, seeing as how tomorrow's Monday...).