Sometimes Answered Prayers Suck!

There’s this country song that says “sometimes God’s greatest gift is unanswered prayer.” It’s a kind of lovely notion. You pray for something, it doesn’t happen but in the end something better does.

But that’s not what this is about. Oh how I would be grateful for unanswered prayers after nights like last night.

Instead, last night was a friendly reminder that sometimes God’s most painful gift is a big fat “No.”

So here’s the thing. It may be hard to tell, and that’s probably a problem, but I do believe in God. I struggle with the God presented to me in church. Somehow a loving father figure who along the lines of history has conveniently hated and condemned large groups of people based on what the highly conservative Christian church has decided is unworthy (think black people, gay people, women and anyone else middle age white men have taken issue with). I believe in a God of love and compassion…for all. He’s working on me.

Anywho…

So, as a result of my beliefs I do pray. I pray for all sorts of things, help, strength, knowledge, discernment, a man. Y’all. God is probably so sick of me praying for a man that I’m pretty sure every time it happens he just looks like this 🤦🏽‍♂️. Like dear lord make it stop…oh wait…that’s me.

But here I am. 30 years old. Single and seriously beyond tired of attempting to mingle that I’m so ready to just wrap it up and give up for ever.

Because here’s what happens. Every time. Without fail.

I’m minding my own business. Trying to live my best life. I’ve got my amazing daughter, my beautiful and loving family, and the best friends a girl could ask for. I am not bothering anyone. I’m not looking. Being single is not the biggest concern of my life. But I get bored. I get the itch. “Man. It sure would be nice to have a relationship.” So, I throw it out there. People tell me all the time “you won’t meet anyone sitting in the House knitting Ashley.” So I go out. Or I get on Tinder. Usually Tinder because I don’t go out much. Sometimes I get on. Swipe for a few days. Get annoyed and get off. If I’m lucky this is what happens. Or I go out and don’t meet anyone and life goes back to normal. But sometimes, the stars align and I go out, and so does someone else, we meet, and seem to hit it off. Or I swipe right and they do too and conversation begins. Numbers are exchanged and things seem to go well.

Fun fact: I have a deep rooted fear of being wanted only for sex and also getting into “situationships.” You know, I like you, you like me, we do all the things couples do but never commit. Yea I have spent most of my adult life in situationships so I’m not trying to do that any longer.

Fun fact: I feel it in my soul that I am meant to be someone’s rib. Someone’s support. Someone’s calm and safe place at the end of a bad day. Someone’s cheerleader and support at the end of a good day. There is no way God put all this yearning for love inside of me for it to just sit there almost to the point of explosion.

So, long story short. Without fail here is what happens. My insecurities start to kick him. Probably triggered by some sort of yellow or red flag that I’m working on getting better at reading. Something isn’t sitting right with my soul.

I then pray, what I have come to realize, is the only prayer that without fail I get almost an immediate answer too. Like I pray for stuff and sometimes I wonder if it just gets lost in the clouds somewhere. But this prayer is my direct line to Jesus. It’s like before it leaves my lips I have sent it straight via email to his throne in heaven and it bypasses any other prayers he may be working on. What is it you may ask?

“Lord. If this man is not meant for me. Please let him slip through my fingers before I start to hold on too tight.”

That’s it. Short. Simple. To the point. And without fail. Within 24-48 hours. I receive confirmation that they are not meant for me. Usually just the conversation is had. A lot of times it’s not initiated by me. Or sometimes they do or say something that I have to acknowledge as a large red flag. But it happens. Every time.

Sometimes I fight it. I beg and plead with God to not let it be true. I cry. A lot. And sometimes I stick around only to be miserable and have to walk away later.

It always sucks. It always hurts. And like last night, if there really wasn’t anything wrong and it just really could have been the right person but not the right time, I can literally feel the piece of my heart break off as it chooses to kind of stick around with the other person as I have to walk away.

There’s probably way to many men walking around this world who don’t know they are carrying small pieces of my beautiful, loving, caring, supportive heart. While I sit back night after night fearful, and hurting, and struggling, and wondering “why me” “what’s wrong with me.” And praying I don’t give it all away and one day have nothing left.

So. I’ll end here. Part of me says, never pray that prayer again because the answer is too painful. But part of me knows, especially over the last year, each time it’s answered I learn something, and I grow. I think it’s coming. I hope it’ll happen for me. I doubt it. And sometimes like now I have restless nights where I cry and beg and plead and wonder if those prayers are just getting stuck in the land of lost prayers. I consider giving up. I do for a while. But then I’ll get the itch again and it’ll all start over.

But for now… sweet dreams.

Regret (a story/poem thing)

*Before the poem: it would be really awesome if this blog became a huge sensation and Ellen had us on her show and Oprah came to cohost just so she could interview my friends and I and we traveled the world doing interviews and speaking to crowds and offering inspiration, encouragement and laughter. But until that happens, I am supper thankful for a place to go when at 2:30 am when I can’t sleep, either from excitement about a mini vacation, or from the words you are about to read, and put my thoughts in writing. I’ve never been one for journaling as I didn’t understand the point of writing something no one would read. And while maybe only my fellow bloggers, two friends I’ve guilt tripped into reading, my family, and a handful of people who stumble across the page read it, it’s still helpful. I hope you enjoy my early morning/late night ramblings and those of my friends. And now a story/poem of my current thoughts. Not sure what it’ll end up being so we will find out together.*

I regret few things in life

Because every decision good or bad, right or wrong has played some role in who I am today.

A short list of things I regret:

1. Any time I have made a boy more important than spending time with family and friends.

And not in the like hey I’m getting to know you so I’ll be hanging out with you instead of sitting at home.

But more in the way of, I’m going to wait upstairs by the phone as my Nan lays dying downstairs. Because I’m too afraid to miss a call but I’m also afraid of death.

Other people’s and my own.

As in, spending every weekend not on call out of town for fear of argument to the point where my mother felt like I was divorcing her, I turned away from God and I’m too fearful to know how my daughter felt as words like neglected and forgotten come to mind.

As in best friends, who for a brief moment in time became infrequent acquaintances whom I feared I lost and the relationship that took its place was no where near as beautiful and amazing and important as the one being ignored.

2. Mentioned above. As my precious Nan (my maternal grandmother) lay dying down stairs, I stayed upstairs.

Watching Orange is the New Black on the worlds slowest WiFi

Pretending to work

Waiting for phone calls.

Wanting to spend the moments that I knew would be the last time I saw her, with her, but not knowing how.

People often ask where I’m from and I don’t have an answer.

But if anyone ever asked where I called Home I would quickly respond. Nan’s house.

A constant in an early childhood full of adventure and travel.

“We’re going home this summer” always meant Nan’s house.

Always felt like Home

Always felt safe

Always felt like love

Always had her

Until it didn’t anymore

I regret saying bye, having never fully said hello.

I once did a project on her in grad school but asked my mom all of the questions.

3. My father once encouraged me to spend some time at Grannie’s house and learn to cook like her.

I regret saying no

Fearful of a woman I barely knew

Memories of switches torn from branches meant for my cousins for crimes we both committed.

She was a strong, beautiful, black woman.

As a child, this scared me.

I regret not having any long, deep, intimate conversations with her.

I regret not knowing her story.

I regret, as a child, not wanting the black American girl doll that shared her.

I know I will never enjoy corn bread again.

I fear this recipe is now lost on earth but am certain it is enjoyed daily in heaven by all who are there.

I am not certain of much in life. But if this one thing I know.

God has gone to prepare a place for me. If it were not true he would not have said it.

Whether it be a mansion on streets of gold.

Or a wooden shack in a quiet wood.

In it is a table.

And at that table, maybe once or twice a week,

Nan and Granny meet.

Over a plate of corn bread and scalled buns.

And they look down.

And check in on their not so little mixed granddaughter

Who tonight, sits crying in bed for reasons she doesn’t quite understand

Over regrets, that have too, shaped who she is as a woman.

And they laugh, and they cry, and they facepalm themselves, and they high five, and talk to each other.

And occasional they whisper

“It’ll be okay.”