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And Nothing Was The Same Again...

December 31, 2016

The sound of the kettle disrupted early morning thoughts of 2017 and what it had in store for me. As I begin to get up from my seat at the kitchen table, my mother entered the kitchen to remove the kettle from the stove and greeted me with a "Good morning Aaron."

There's something about home that’s soothing.  It felt good to be back in Cleveland in the home I grew up in, my grounding place. The last time I was home was February 14th and somehow 2016 with all its personal trials, triumphs, and tribulations would be coming to an end at midnight. She asked me "Would you like a cup tea?" 

I politely declined with a "No, thank you." This led her to turn around, tea bag in hand and as soon as we made eye contact she said, “So tell me what's going on with you?"

At that very moment I realized she wasn't here last time I was home and we were overdue for a kitchen counter conversation. See…I like to hold things very close to my chest and make sure I'm aware of what I'm dealing with before sharing. I knew I was ready to talk and it had been so long since I had a face to face convo with someone I could trust. A conversation where I knew body language, facial expressions, and eyes couldn’t lie.  

"So tell me what's going on with you?" is such a loaded question! In my mind I thought...everything is going on with me. I have a show tonight at midnight and my band is in the other room. I have to host them and make sure they're good. I'm beyond exhausted emotionally, physically, and mentally. I don't want to sing tonight, but I have to find a way to get through it. I've had an incredible October, November, and December of 2016 and I feel ashamed that I haven't truly enjoyed the success of an album I put blood sweat and tears into because I've been moving nonstop since December of 2015. The first night on the European tour in December was the first time that I was forced to sit with myself and in that time my entire personal life from the whole year broke the levy of my busyness that kept it at bay and it came flooding into my heart and I couldn't deny the sorrow I felt.

I answer "I've been depressed for the last few months and it took several lonely nights in Europe for me to discover that I've been questioning what love looks like for me and the life I'm living. I've been questioning what the hell I've been doing for the last 15 years when it comes to my love life." 

She looked at me and asked if she could speak freely?

Now If I say yes... I know this means that she's bringing the knives out and the truth may cut deep.  

I said, of course you can speak freely and she began...

I want you to understand something, love and its principles won't ever change. At its core love has been the same since it was introduced to human beings and the only thing that has changed is the different generations of people and the times they lived in. Your father and I raised you with an old school principle of love that you're trying to apply to a new age world. We are an action oriented people. We not big on talk, we're big on results. In everything you do from business, to friendship, to love I know you're a giver. You don't ask for much BUT you're observant and always looking to see what people are going to do.

I'm sure that can be confusing in a generation where to me it looks like people are quick to tell someone they just met what they're looking for in a relationship and it allows that person to play the role until they've convinced them that they’re something that they’re not. So you can look back at the last 15 years of your love life and ask what the hell have you been doing, but when you do make sure you put it in this perspective.

Marriage is about doing life with someone. It's not about a wedding, engagement photos, what kind of ring he bought you, how big the house is, and all the material things people decide to share with the public. It's about how you collectively deal with winning and losing together. How you deal with disagreements, disappointment, misunderstandings, flexibility, sharing, giving, celebrating each other, letting go of the petty things, forgiveness, unexpected losses and gains, death, careers, dreams, goals, setbacks, and so many other things that you will deal with over and over again. The joy is doing it with someone you love being around for all the right reasons!

Please know that the wedding, engagement photos, ring, house and all these things are nice and I'm not saying that you shouldn't have them, what I am saying is, the wedding is the starting line to doing life with someone!  Before you get to the starting line, it's important to discover someone’s true inner-self, character, and spirit. Know that they've willingly shown you what they possess will enhance the life that you're living. At the same time, you have to willingly show them that what you possess will enhance the life that they're living as well!  Both parties have to know that they're better doing life together than they'll ever be doing life apart. It's a two way street, not a one way!   

You're name means "Enlightened One" and your calling is big. What you do for a living isn't average and I don't understand it all the time, but I know God is doing something big with you. He's going to provide for you. I believe He's going to bring whomever He has for you to your attention in His perfect time and she's going to be a blessing to you and the life you lead. She’ll willingly give to you, but you have to be prepared. Please be able to recognize who wants to do life with you and who doesn't want to do life with you. We all get the sneak preview and what you see on this side is what you get on the other side. You have no control over how people choose to treat you but you have the ability to observe and accept that for whatever reason, this is what they're willing to give you.  

I looked at her, smiled, and slowly nodded my head.

Then she got up and asked if I wanted her to make pancakes, bacon, and eggs for the band...


January 31, 2017

And nothing was the same again after that conversation...

A new outlook was formed inside of me. I remember laying in my bed at home in Cleveland early on Jan. 1, 2017...and saying aloud, "this year I'm starting my journey to be everything that I'm looking for in someone I want to do life with." It's not about the past or anyone else. It's about me and it's always been about me. There are so many things that come with that goal, but I'm up for the challenge. 

This morning I peeled myself out the bed at 5:30 A.M. to go to the gym because one of the many things on my journey is to get my body in shape. It's something about the quietness and stillness of the early morning that I appreciate. My thoughts are clear and concise. This morning in the car I realized that for the last 31 days, this journey has been about pursuing me. The motive can still be to be everything I'm looking for in someone I want to do life with but at the center of it all, I understand that I'm on an everlasting journey to become the man that God wants me to be in mind, heart, spirit, and body and that journey will never end whether I'm married or not.  

If this month has taught me anything, it's that you have to be willing to go the extra mile for yourself before you're able to go the extra mile for anyone else. You have to be determined to love yourself through discipline and practice. You have to willing show up for yourself every day. You have to be willing to live and not let anyone including yourself, pass guilt, shame, uncertainty, or pain get in your way of pursuing your best self. 

These last 31 days have challenged me in my day to day and I've analyzed how I've dealt with setbacks, disappointment, disagreements, pettiness, joy, and pain because all of my reactions to what life throws at me speaks to my character. I'm sure the next 28 days will be challenging as well but every challenge will be an opportunity to be more loving, understanding, open, peaceful, gentle, practice self-control, and be good to myself and others. These are the things that I want to be faithful to. 

The pursuit of our best lives start within us. Whatever motivation you need to start on that journey, I pray you find it and it's so clear that nothing will be the same again in your life as well. 

Sincerely,

Aaron Abernathy

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SON OF LARRY

Dear Dad,

I went looking for a birthday card for you last week and all of them sucked! Since I couldn't find anything fitting...I decided to write you this long overdue letter.

I used to think that we were so different from each other. I struggled with that for a while but never said anything about it. I always felt you and Anthony had this incredible bond over basketball...and when I traded in my basketball skills for the piano and singing, I thought you and I lost a step. 

See...you mastered the sport of basketball so much so that I can't go anywhere in the city of Cleveland with our last name without someone referencing you. I remember a few years ago I was on 131st at Bennet's Barbershop...Barry had a patron in his chair and he pointed at me and said to the middle aged man... "you know that's Larry Ab's son!" Upon hearing it, this mans eyes filled with so much excitement as he said to me: "You Larry Ab's son?? Boy...let me tell you about your father! He's a legend! You see that school across the street...well it used to be a playground...and I would come to that playground and watch your daddy twist a nigga into the earth you hear me! Your father was a cold man on the B-ball court...as a matter of fact! Your father invented the crossover! He would shoot the lights out of any gym he walked in! He's a legend! Never forget that!" And I never forgot that nor will I ever forget that you are a legend!

I've heard so many stories from people about your glory days of playing basketball in the city that I can't count them...but you're a legend to me for so many different reasons. Over the last four years I've done so much soul searching with God and He's made things so much clearer for me in regards to you. When I traded in my basketball skills for the piano and singing...I traded them in for your second love. We never lost a step at all...you actually created the steps that I've taken. I remember singing that Duke of Earl solo at the 7th grade choral concert and afterwards people asking you and mom who was the musician in the family that I took after...and both of you saying "we don't have one...we're not sure where his talent comes from." The truth is it comes from you! 

There wasn't a moment in the 18 years of my life in your home that the record player wasn't spinning a soul, funk, r&b, gospel, or jazz record. If you were up and moving about, there was music playing! Music lives in me because of you and all those records you play. To this day...you can't move without the record player spinning. Everyday I wake up and do the same thing you do...put a record on and start my day.

You've always talked about the messages in records. When it came to me dealing with black people talking about how dark my skin was you referenced Curtis Mayfield's "We The People Who Are Darker Than Blue." When it came to loving myself you referenced Earth, Wind, and Fire's "All About Love." I remember you sitting me down and making me listen to Maurice White say "I'm like hey ya'll...I'm tryna' tell ya...You gotta love you...now there's all the beautiful things around you...trees and birds and If their ain't no beauty you got to make some beauty...have mercy listen to me ya'll."  

You always had a song and a lyric for something I was going through and those bonding moments were so important to my development into the man you have made me. You introduced me to my purpose in music...cause you used music to heal a lot of my concerns over the years and I want to do the same for people through my music. 

What makes you so amazing to me is you're a man after God's heart...much like David. I've never seen a man on his knees in prayer so much. I can't count the amount of times I've seen you on your knees praying. You always pray before making any move. You're so in tuned with God and you let Him lead you in leading this family. You've always led by example and have been there for me every step of the way. There are so many things that you've done for me that changed me and grew me into a better person.  You might not remember them but I want to share a few with you...

1.) Senior year of high school when I had that Tri-C Jazz tryout/competition and I was training with JT Lynch and was discouraged about practicing, you gave me this John Coltrane Impulse album and this Oscar Peterson album and told me I could be like them if I stayed focused. I listened to those albums nonstop and it was everything I needed in that moment to push forward and not quit music all together. 

2.) In college when my girlfriend was getting her appendix taken out on the same day as my midterm in a class I wasn't doing well in...I called you because I was at the hospital late and didn't want to leave her but knew I had to take this midterm the next day. I remember telling you that I thought the professor wouldn't believe me if I missed it. You were so calm and walked me through exactly what to do to make my girlfriend feel safe. You told me how to talk to the professor about what was going on and how not leaving my girlfriend alone was the most important thing to do. The professor understood and allowed me to make up the midterm. You've always known what to do!

3.) You always treated mom like royalty! You taught me and Anthony to always be gentlemen and to treat a woman like a woman. To never disrespect them or call them out of their name. When we were younger you would make us grab the door for mom and Anise. You made sure we knew that we were to protect all women. It wasn't your words that stuck...it was your action! You walked what you talked about. You lead by example on what it is to be a God fearing man, loving husband, and loving father. To this day...you're ALWAYS looking out for mom and all of us with God leading you. I aspire to be the husband and father that you are to a woman and my children one day.       

4.) In 2008 when I told you I was moving to LA... Even though you didn't think it was a good idea you supported me. You got in my Chevy Trailblazer with me and drove across the country with me on a three day journey to Los Angeles. After 13 months...when I ran out of money...you flew back to Los Angeles and drove back across the country with me and encouraged me to keep following my music dreams...even when I felt like I failed...you told me I would've never known about what God had for me in LA if I hadn't tried it...and now I know. That meant everything to me at that moment! 

5.) When I told you I was about to get married and I had to find a way to raise enough money to get a ring...you talked to me about it late at night while working the graveyard shift and even offered to help me. You were so cool about it too. You helped me come up with a plan for transitioning into marriage financially while pursuing my dream. You gave me different ideas for living situations and was there to help me figure out how to make someone else a part of my life. When it blew up in my face and the relationship collapsed...you were right there for me telling me everything will be fine in time. I felt foolish again and you were there picking me up and helping me move forward no matter how long it took. When I think of it...every time after this incident when I spoke to you about who I was dating and how I thought this might be the one for me...you encouraged me to give it my best and if it doesn't work out...those women will never be able to say that I didn't give it my all. You taught me it was my job to leave a lasting good impression and to be a gentleman towards them no matter how they treat me. Even though all of those situations blew up in my face you've always been there to encourage me and tell me that people can change when God is involved and God has someone special for me in His time. 

6.) On Valentine's Day of this year you helped me by working the door at my show in Cleveland. It was just me and you that night because Mom was out of town and it was just a special moment for me. You told me afterwards that I was a true musician and I've arrived and that moment was bigger than any accolade I can ever receive as a musician. Your approval is all that mattered to me...and writing this makes me realize that I had it all along. 

7.) I asked you to be a part of my upcoming solo album and you did all your parts in one take because you say everything from the heart and it just flows. It an honor to work with you on the craft you introduced me to!

Dad...your love is so strong for me and it's rubbed off on me. Maybe that's why I love so strong. You always do right by people and you're honest. You possess this spiritual courageous love that inspires everyone around you. You're a giver and you put everyone before yourself. You have a huge heart for people and you love to make everyone feel great around you. You speak to everyone and respect everyone. You correct people who are wrong in a gracious way so that they don't feel bad. You taught me to be open, honest, patient, and wait on God in all situations. You taught me how to love a woman and treat her with dignity in respect through your love for mom. You're God's man and it's an honor to be your son.

I love you more than words can express and I can't thank you enough for teaching me and molding me into the man I am. I'm forever in debt for what you've instilled in me. 

Happy 65th Birthday! It's an honor to celebrate you! You're a legend and a hero in my eyes forever!

Your son,

Aaron

 

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THE DEPROGRAMMING OF AARON ABERNATHY PT. 2 | SELF WORTH

I woke up around 7AM and before I could press the reset button and start over...

I sat at the end of my bed and said aloud:

“Damn! All those dark skin jokes got the best of me...they won…and here I am.”

Seriously...What the hell is wrong with being a barer of dark skin in America?

I promise we’ve been called ugly from our existence by our peers and strangers. The words “handsome, beautiful, pretty, and fine” aren’t sewn into the fabric of our being at a young age unless it’s coming from a family member...but they don’t count cause they have to say it to you…at least that’s how I felt as a child. 

Look at me sitting here with my 10 year old self…

Fifth grade was rough on you…that’s where you learned you were a member of the “you’re so black you’re blue” crew (then everybody laughed). I didn’t get the joke at first but my own black people would remind me from 1993 and beyond! It’s the joke that will never rest in peace. A joke that didn't make me feel handsome or attractive...a joke that made me feel unworthy. I remember I used to tell my dad about it and he would say you're as black as me and there will never be anything wrong with that! Black is beautiful and it's important that you know that! He would play this real dope record by Curtis Mayfield off the "Curtis" album title "We The People Who Are Darker Than Blue" that I would listen to when I felt down about my complexion. 

In 1993 at Woodbury Elementary school...I bared witness to the inaugural dig of the foundation of my lack of self-worth. It didn't help that I was husky as well. There were these two girls that use to have an arsenal of jokes to take me out from the time I got to the bus stop...to the bus ride to school...to the bus ride home after school. Me and my man Melvin use to get tore down on a daily by Ebony and Shameeka and I had ZERO jokes to defend there toxic slander of my appearance...I just had two fist that I loved to put into action but that wasn't the answer for girls. I use to wonder how they came up with these clever things to say about me that had everyone dying in laughter?? I was an easy target for the popular guys who came after me with jokes and I wanted to fight them too but my mama wasn't playing about school and if I got kicked out for fighting over words I knew I would be in trouble. I wasn't trying to face that...but those damn words were like a million knives cutting me everyday and I had to deal with it from 1993 - 2001.  

If I showed you all the scars would you run?

What started out as just a plot of land in 1993 was now a skyscraper in 2011...a skyscraper that I had to tear down and replace as soon as possible. At 29 years of age I was hurt, lost, and wearing a mask that everything was fine in my life but I was so empty. Living in that skyscraper was so dangerous because I was willing to deal and put up with almost anything in dating just as long as they would stay...even if it wasn't right and destructive...If they stuck around it was good enough for me because my worth was built on knowing someone wanted me. Knowing that they saw my scars and dealt with them...but I couldn't see that my insecurities were being used against me creating more scars.     

I sat there for an hour thinking about all the things I had to do to tear this skyscraper down and be something different than what I was. The time had come and I thought to myself...

If I show myself my scars would I run? ....I chose to answer with "No"

Shall we begin? ....I chose to answer with "Yes"

How is it that I can treat everyone so damn good and not treat myself with the same type of care? I've heard and seen so many peoples insecurities and made them feel safe and comfortable in my presence. I'm the holder of deep dark secrets, the shoulder to many tears of pain, the comforter of peoples most vulnerable moments...

Yet I can't look in the mirror at the darkness in my face or the millions of cuts on my bleeding heart that long to love others...and see the worthiness in loving my reflection. It was sad and pathetic and in that moment I hated it but it was everything I needed. It was time to say goodbye to who I was and evacuate the skyscraper. This was the my last goodbye...no more feeling sorry for what happen in the past...it was a choice and a change of mind because I didn't want to feel the way I had been feeling since 1993 anymore. No more mask wearing...no more representatives....just a new outlook...a real reset!

The first statement I made was"

"I'm responsible for dealing with my insecurities! No one else is...I AM!"

This statement was so important because I couldn't continue to let what happen in my past have an affect on my current and future relationships with people. It's unfair to them to place my insecurities on their shoulders to deal with in love and in friendships. I am not here to burden anyone or expect them to coddle me due to my insecurities that I haven't actively dealt with. Whatever it takes...I have to deal with my insecurities because that alone is the key to my self-worth.

Another part of me wanted to be accepted by people and I would do numerous things I didn't like doing to be accepted and that problematic. I came across a really great quote by one of my music heroes: 

"Not one drop of my self-worth depends on your acceptance of me" -Quincy Jones

This quote was a life changer! I began to think about all the things that made me feel whole as I realized that those things would help me build my self-worth. So I made this list of everything I needed to do:

1. Make a list of all the things you love and try to do two of them twice a week

2. Don't make time for things you don't like doing

3. Travel to see your friends since they don't live in your state because they make you feel loved!

4. Travel out the country because the world is much bigger than your corner and great new experiences replace bad old ones.

5. Work out and get your body to a place that you like it to help build your confidence.

6. Black is beautiful...Clearly women love Idris Elba and you're as dark as him. 

7. Make others acknowledge your craft (family and friends must acknowledge music as a job and not a hobby)

8. Take yourself and this list seriously and let's see if others follow suit. 

9. Make Quincy Jones' quote a reality by next year!

 

Making the list was the easy part...It's the application part that separates actual change in self-worth from cheap talk!

 

Sincerely,

Aaron Abernathy 

 

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The Deprogramming of Aaron Abernathy pt. 1 | Self Truth

I called her to catch up...

I'm lying...

I definitely called her to vent...

I felt I deserved to vent because 2011 was a rough year and just when I thought it couldn't get any worse November showed up just to challenge the small amount of sanity I had left. 

She picked up on the third ring shouting "Abernathy! How are you??? I miss you!!" My unenthusiastic "I miss you too," warranted her to ask what's wrong? I began to tell her about some of the issues I was having with people in my life from friends to lovers to family and before I could really dive in she stopped me and said:

"Ab, I don't want to hear any of this because I know where it's going and this is your fault. We talked about this when you lived here in 2008. You're too kind...you let people run over you and then you complain about it in the aftermath but you continuously let this happen. Everyone gets what they want from you because they know you're the nice guy and you won't say no...and on the rare occasions that you say no, they make you feel bad about it and guilt trip you into doing what they want you to do putting you at an inconvenience. You not changing this about yourself actually means you're okay with it so I can't sit here and listen to you complain about it."

I was shocked! I knew she was right but it caught me off guard. I was silent and she said you have to stand up for yourself and it's going to be challenging but you do it all the time in your music career...do it in your personal life. I told her she was right and shortly after we hung up. 

I was really upset after the phone call and it wasn't because of what she said about me... it was the fact that it was true. I was so hung up on not disappointing people and this mindset put me in bad positions very often. The crazy thing is people knew this about me and they would use it against me to get what they needed from me. I wanted to be liked by everyone and I was willing to bend over backwards at my detriment to achieve that goal. My subconscious motto was "as long as they're good then I'm good," and that was the problem...I wasn't good...I believed the lie I was telling myself.

What she told me on the phone turned on a switch in me that made me dig so deep that for the last three years I've been actively deprogramming everything I've been taught to think that doesn't benefit my life. 

The first thing I established was that "I was full of crap" and I wanted to change that about myself. I started by vowing to never lie to myself again. Self-Truth was what I needed so I started writing the following in a Microsoft word document:

Aaron,

You have low self esteem and being overly kind to everyone has been your way of fitting in and gaining likeability. Although you're naturally a kind person, you overcompensate in this area because you don't see yourself as an attractive person. You still see that fat kid that no one was attracted to High School...you're about to turn 29 and you're still stuck in High School.  

When It comes to family you have to do everything they say because they've done so much for you when it comes to this crazy career of a musician you chose versus taking that job out of college that they told you to take. You could be doing so much better with your life like your siblings instead of barely making it while chasing this dream...You're grown and can barely take care of yourself...you're an embarrassment. 

When It comes to your friends that you're real close with...none of them live here in Washington D.C., so you're alone most of the time. 

When it comes to love...I don't what the hell you're doing. You're a fixer and record shows that isn't working in your favor. You continuously wait for women you love to get around to treating you right. You tried to get married but that blew up in your face. I'm starting to believe you like being played to the left and using the fact that you understand what they've been through as an excuse for you to be treated badly. You feel sorry for yourself but you shouldn't because you chose this. 

When it comes to your career...you're afraid that you'll never make it since you just got dropped from you're label deal and you're looking for jobs outside of music not only to keep the lights on but because you think it's time to grow up and let go of this silly dream.   

This was my self-truth...

I hated the way I felt when I read it back for the first time but...

The greatest thing about that day was I was no longer full of crap. The truth about me was put on display by me and this status report gave me a weird sense of freedom...

The following morning I decided to take that freedom and mentally press the reset button on how I felt about myself and start all over.

 

Sincerely,

Aaron Abernathy

 

 

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Message To My Unknown Love part II

I hear your spirit calling me early in the morning and I often question if you were here before I open my eyes. As I pull my head from under the covers...I'm greeted by the aroma of candles that watched over me as I fell asleep before blowing them out. I wish I was greeted by the smell of you...what do you smell like? Are your mornings as cold as mines? Are you tired of waking up alone? Often I wonder when all of this will come to an end...I look forward to the end of this era but I'm not in a rush...does that make sense to you? 

I deciding to write you this morning because I want to share something with you that has been heavy on my heart. It's about the amount of discord in the love relationships of our day. Is it scary to you that selfishness lives at the core of many hearts and it shows through their daily actions? I've watched the majority of our peers fall in love with idea of getting married but don't want to do the work to maintain a happy marriage. They're not into doing the consistent individual daily work to be their best mentally, emotionally, and physically for themselves let alone someone else. They're not into figuring out the level of responsibility and emotional intelligence their mate must possess in order to care for their fragile heart. They're not into seeing if their lifestyles compliment each other for the better. They're not into their words aligning with their actions. They're not into listening pass their own needs. They're not into being honest with themselves. They're not into having a vision or patience...

They're into what their friends think and have, what their family thinks about them, the way things look to others, the marriage ceremony, the pictures, having babies before they get too old, and most importantly...

They're into their ego!

They don't know that ego and happily ever after are enemies! Happily ever after requires honest hard relentless daily work, self love, giving selfless love to your mate, and bending for them even when it's inconvenient for you. Happily ever after requires forgiveness and an honest soul...and who forgives or tells the truth anymore? Seriously?

They hide their truths so deep inside themselves and cover it with so many lies that the lies become their truth. The lies create this facade that they've been selling to the world for so long that when someone who truly loves them awakens the truth that lives deep inside...the truth revealer becomes their enemy. The truth sets you free but few want to be free at the cost of pain? On the contrary....Who has time to chip away at the facade? Thomas Yates on season three of House of Cards said it best:

"It's tiresome swinging the sledgehammer at the facade just to get a glimpse of the cracks." 

What are we doing in our love relationships in 2015?

We're doing exactly what James Redfield wrote over 20 years ago in The Celestine Prophecy: 

"Being overly demanding and expecting each other to live in his or her world, to always be there to join in his or her chosen activities." 

And when you're unable to do so...a small fire of resentment will begin to burn continuously and you'll know nothing about it until the silence gets so loud that HELL spills out of both of your mouths and the words that are said can't be taken back...

Then they'll question how they got here...

We're setting each other up with unrealistic expectations of each other and our denial and defensiveness of this "set up" is what has led a number of our friends to unhappily ever after and divorce. There has to be a change... 

With all that being said...I still truly believe that there's a distinctive group of singles that are fighting for happily ever after right now. They know that it starts with them and they're cleaning out their hearts and making room for a genuine partnership with someone they know is worthy of co-existing and complimenting their soul for the better. Someone they'll honor and won't let their ego taint their view of them in the face of correction cause they know that love corrects and although most people don't like being corrected...they understand man and woman must correct each other out of love to strengthen and sharpen the love. In correction there's no time for defensiveness and grudges...there's only time for apology, reconciliation, forgiveness, and growth.   

This distinctive group has a willingness to grow when challenged because they are honest enough with themselves to know that love forces you to grow together or apart. I see myself growing apart from people daily...and that's okay...because I'm growing closer to you.

Sincerely,

Aaron 

 

 

 

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To Kill An Elephant

Dear Professor,

It’s been fifteen years since I left your school and to put it plain and simple… I miss seeing you everyday and learning the lessons that you taught in the classroom and field. Your courses were so involved, challenging, and intriguing! I know we’ve spoke consistently since I left but I never told you how much being your pupil has had an impact my life. You always make time for me when I have a question about our profession and for that I’m truly grateful.

I’m writing you today because my heart is too heavy for a phone conversation. It was very important to me that I would not be interrupted as I get all of these thoughts and concerns out. It’s equally important to me that you sit with this for a week or so before responding. 

I could be absolutely wrong about this…I hope I’m wrong about this…but after fifteen years of experience in the field, I’m no longer certain that the curriculum you taught me is applicable in this new world. I want you to think about all of the conversations we’ve had over the last decade…most of them were based on the conflict that arrives when I apply the principles you taught me. Interesting enough what I’ve learned from you is a beautiful gift coupled with a curse.

The GIFT is your installment of confidence in me that helped me discover myself and become unapologetic about who I’ve become. You challenge me whenever you see an unhealthy characteristic attempting to leech onto my personality. You said if I’m not self- aware then I’ll not only put lovers in danger but I’m endangering myself. If I’m not growing spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically then I’m in regression.  It’s my responsibility to grow in these areas daily! I’m accountable for my mind and thoughts…I’m accountable for my heart and any heart I capture. Having this mentality is the reason I’m often labeled as “different.” I’m no longer sure if “different” is a good thing. I’m often received well and “stand out” based on the words and actions you taught me…which I thought was the standard until I left your school...it’s not…and that in itself is the CURSE

You taught me that honesty is the best policy in this profession but I’ve learned first hand that it comes with many consequences. When the truth cuts like a knife and you’re holding the knife…you’re the assaulter and they’re the victims. I’ve been on trial often over the last fifteen years because of my truthful assaults and in this world full of lies that people buy into because the truth is too much for them to bare…I’ll always be guilty. I remember you telling me it takes time for people to step into the truth and bare the pain to grow. In our profession we have to have patience but I’m seeing a pattern now. You’re absolutely right…they do come around…

They come around for someone else after realizing that we really did love them and our actions were genuine. Challenging them to grow and be better wasn’t an attack…it was the realest form of love we could ever offer them. They have this revelation a little after we bow out because we can no longer afford the high fees our hearts pay in having patience. It’s amazing how we love and invest so much of ourselves and someone else receives our return on investment. Is that part of our profession?  

Let’s shift gears…

One of my favorite classes under your leadership was “The Dangerous Elephant In The Room” course. It was you who said:

“The elephant is a very kind animal but very dangerous when it eyes a stranger after it’s child…and you are the child of your elephant! It’s your job to kill the elephant in your room before it kills whomever you choose to bring into your life! Both beings can’t occupy the same place at the same time without major conflict. The closer you get to someone else…the more envious the elephant will become and it will continuously attack and try to kill both of you!”

You taught me to kill my elephants in their infant stages because it’s harder to put them down once they grow and become a part of you. You'll make excuses for the elephant every year it grows with you. You taught me to take this principle seriously and apply it because it would be pivotal in my leadership role in love. Well what if I told you that my leadership isn’t welcomed. What If I told you I have consistently been invited into rooms with fully developed elephants and the owners of these rooms are so comfortable living with their elephants that they don't want to get rid of them. What if I told you that elephants are occupying rooms at alarming rates and I can’t lead because I spend so much time explaining that the elephant in the room isn’t healthy and is causing dysfunction in their personal life that leads to dysfunction in our love life? What if I told you that the mature man and woman seeking to grow in love through honesty and a realistic outlook on life together is an endangered species?  

You taught me to be a man…

You said that in the profession of manhood you have to be the right person to find the right person. You said it's the same for womanhood. I never thought that we would be out numbered by people obsessed with the fantasy of love and not the work and responsibility required to achieve and maintain a real type of love that was more prominent in the past. I never knew I would consistently have to deal with the wounds caused by relationships that weren’t love at all. A majority of these poor relationships birth the elephants that cause the dysfunctional love many are accustom to today. I never knew I would be at the war against other people’s elephants!   

And now in this very moment…I realize that this entire letter has led me to ask you this question…

 

Dad,

How do I go about killing someone else’s elephant before it kills me?

 

Sincerely,

Aaron

 

 

 

 

 

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The Insecure Man

As I approached my front door, I fumble through my keys as I question is this the right time...

Anxiousness rises as I've located the key...and now the possibility of my outwardness shifting to inwardness is a reality...

I open the door, step inside, and disarm the beeping alarm. You don't have to take your shoes off...as a matter of fact...keep your shoes on cause the floors aren't clean. I can't remember the last time I've swept them because it's just been me here. I guess I should show you around... 

Let's start in the foundation of this place...the basement. I've spent the last three to four years getting it together. I had to put in new floors and reconstruct this place because it wasn't in the best condition. It used to be filled with uncertainty, social norms, social pressures, self-doubt, jealousy, and tremendous fear amongst other things that consumed the beauty that it should possess. It was in desperate need of reformation and it took major time and dedication to establish a new and fitting foundation that suited me well. I'm satisfied with the outcome! 

Now, as you can see...my purpose overwhelms this room. Music is everywhere and it consumes me. Whenever I'm doing music I'm sharing the best version of myself with the world. It's a vehicle that drives me to places that I didn't know existed in me. It's my highest level of expression because it's the God given gift that is my purpose. It's a bright light that attracts attention...attention to my introversion that wants privacy. It's often interesting to deal with. It's often misconstrued as well. It's powerful but it's not my power...

I see you notice that love is equally present here. Interesting enough I'm a product of this beautiful marriage but don't know if I'll ever have one. Not because I don't want one or I don't think I would be a great husband...more because of my purpose. How could something I love so much keep me from the love I long for? I have so much love to give...I have so little time to give it...and who wants that? 

Do you want that? 

Don't answer that...

not yet...

I haven't figured it out...

I obsess over it sometimes. I might be alone when it's all said and done and I've come to grips with that...I think I've said too much...let's get outta here. 

 

Here's my kitchen...

It's become one of my favorite places over the last two years. I've really been paying attention to what I feed myself. I was in need of a serious detox to reset my system that was carrying the weight of other peoples issues. Sometimes I can simply care too much for the feelings of others and disregard myself. It's very dangerous...similar to an addiction...the addiction to please and care for others feelings...and when you go cold turkey to recover you feel guilty about it. It's been worth it to recover though. Often in that state I found myself being fed so much negativity and backlash from issues people were going through that had nothing to do with my life. Their negativity and self wallowing had a major effect on me daily so I had to choose to feed myself differently. I know I can't deal with pessimism of any kind. Sarcasm is another thing I have to avoid. I use to think that sarcasm was okay until I heard an elder say sarcasm is the least genuine mode of communication used by the insecure, passive aggressive, and angry attempting to make you their footstool to make them feel better. His statement troubled me but what opened my mind was his questioning of who really wins when sarcasm enters the conversation? Is it designed to love or tear down? That's when I understood he was right. I make it a point to over indulge in optimism and love and feast with people who do the same. Are you hungry for that?

 

Last but not least lets go to my personal room on the top floor. It's still under construction but very close to completion. Often it's the most difficult room to sit in because it's changed the most over the years. It's becoming something that I never imagined...something that I was afraid to embrace a few years ago. At completion it will simply be a room that stands alone! Every time I've rearranged it, I've questioned is this what's best for my lifestyle? I'd convince myself that it was and subconsciously minimize myself. I found that a numerous amount of my arrangements were influenced by something or someone who had an agenda for my life that didn't fit what I needed. I used to think that I should work hard to please and support everyone around me and I did that for years. I was the man who would bend over backwards to be at everyones event, party, meeting, start-up, ect. and rearranged my schedule by putting off what I was called to do at my core for someone else just to vigorously work on the back end to satisfy my personal needs and that process continuously fell short. I found myself complaining a lot about it until a friend brought it to my attention that my complaints were my fault. I chose to put others before myself and the outcome was my inconvenience. They were tired of hearing my bitterness on the matter at hand because I wasn't serious about changing it. I was passive and the culprit of my own complaints. That was the day I started to reconstruct this room... 

This room is powerful because it influences the environment of this homes foundation. The character of this room is over-saturated with uncompromising  freedom, confidence, independence, and creativity. It possesses a boldness that unintentionally rocks the foundation of people that come in contact with it. It finally has enough balance so that not a single element of myself is consumed by the other. Yet...with all that being said...insecurity still knocks on that door...and sometimes I answer...and when I do...

It comes through like a whirlwind that I struggle to tackle. If I don't get a hold on it quick enough it effects everything. Just like in basement...the insecurity is the thought that everlasting love and my specific purpose will never come together in this lifetime...and all of the work I've done on my heart and mind to become the best version of my true uncompromising self will be alone with just a purpose fulfilled. There will be no one to compromise for simply because they want more than I can offer and they won't be honest about that for whatever reason.

Ive been through the trial and error over the years and its not that I dont have hope but Ive been made aware that the bigger your purpose is, the harder it is to love all of you...or maybe it's the bigger the purpose the harder to find the love that truly understands the ends and outs of your purpose and still chooses to love...or maybe its the bigger the purpose the more patient you'll have to be to wait on the love who has a life that fits your specific purpose...

Or maybe I know nothing at all and in this day and time I'm just insecure on the issue but free enough to be honest about it.

So now that I've let you inside of my home where I can't hide anything about myself...Do you still want to stay for a while? 

 

 

 

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The Sanctuary of Friendship

I love her...

I love her because there's never been a hidden agenda, drama, mind reading, or pretending. There's been no attempts to impress me with a false representation of who she is because she knows that's pointless...yet she always seems to impress me by simply being herself and continuously striving and growing to be a better woman everyday. Genuine, kind, caring, and often concerned about others is how I would describe her inner workings. There's this quiet confidence that she possesses that can't be taken away from her. She has nothing to prove to anyone and knows she has nothing but time to dispel the ongoing war inside her mind of whether she's good enough to carry out the purpose she's been ordained to complete. She continuously finds freedom in herself daily by seeking out what she needs to thrive and has no shame in dwelling in these places...and when she feels chained down she'll seek me out to gain some perspective. She's not afraid to be weak in front of me because she sees me as an extension of her own being an existence...someone to help her back on the right path when she feels lost in this world. She refuses to settle for the ugliness that dwells in her being...she's a flaw fighter and will admit what she needs to improve on and actively seeks to improve it over time. She's a listener...the words she receives from me lay dormant in her heart...resurfacing in a time of need. 

She is the safe haven for my secrets and insecurities...my anger and vulnerability...she knows all the things about me that I'm terrified about people knowing. The things I'm ashamed of about myself she holds in her heart and chooses to never use them against me. Overtime she's seen me at my best and my worst and still accepts and loves me for who I am. She's a fan of mine and truly wants nothing but God's best for me and it shows. She doesn't allow me to stay in my worse state by being honest with me about my flaws and pushing me to grow in areas where I'm weak. I can dive deeper into who I am with her because she chooses to protect me emotionally and guide me in ways that only a woman can. 

My heart is safe with her...

I trust her with all of me...

And she does the same...

This place where all of our emotions live is in our "Sanctuary of Friendship." The sanctuary's foundation is based on the steady flow of consistency and follow through that we've created amongst each other over time. Everything that fills the sanctuary is what creates this incredible love we have for each other. 

Interesting enough...I learned so much about loving a woman through loving her and our relationship is not romantic at all!

It is simply a guide to how I should lay the foundation to my romantic dealings...

Romance should be nothing but the cherry on top to this everlasting search to grow together as friends...but often we do the exact opposite and try to grow in romance without friendship and it doesn't last. The romantic based relationship we often engage in consist of unknown expectations and representatives that aren't our true selves that create unnecessary drama. People go above and beyond to give us this preview of the best them and often try to change you to fit into their agenda for what a relationship looks like to them. After the newness of love goes away you look up and ask yourself how did I "fall in love" with a stranger?  

True and raw love lives in friendship...It lives in the sanctuary you and someone else choose to create over time...and it's possible if we all just slow down. You've done it before...just think about how patient, forgiving, gentle, caring, and kind you are with your friends. It's a shame we aren't the same way with our lovers...but the reason we aren't is because most of your past lovers were never your friend. It's not about being friends with everyone you date because some people simply won't make it to the sanctuary...but the right one will be completely okay with sifting through your character to see if it compliments what they have to offer to the world. They'll be fully aware that they've been looking for you even if they weren't aware of it until they found you. They'll step into the Sanctuary of Friendship and create a foundation so solid that when romance arrives with all of it's complications...it won't be able to break the concrete foundation that was built in the sanctuary. 

 

Sincerely,

 

Aaron "Ab" Abernathy

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"It's All In Practice..."

"It’s all in practice" is what I tell myself when it’s all said in done…cause the easiest way out is to say I gave it my all…it just wasn’t meant to be…

And honestly…

That could very well be the case…

Time will be the judge of that...

But…time won’t deliver that verdict for a while…and right now…what about this broken heart?

 

"It’s all in practice" is what I tell myself now that it’s done…cause the easiest way out when you lose is to say we were so close to winning the game…"We’ll get 'em next season" is what I say…but my heart says something different...

My heart says tell them that you warned them to take extra time out to work on their form...cause pressure will come when the game is on the line...we're a team and we have to be strong for each other...so prepare yourself individually...you never know when a victory for us will solely be decided by your actions...cause the weight of the world will be on your back when you have to sink the final two free throws for us to win...

And I truly wish I could’ve shot them for you…but I can’t cause it’s your shot…and I have to stand next to you and watch...hoping that you take your time and breathe…don’t shoot to quickly…make sure you block everything else out and envision you and me alone…see me…your teammate...your confidant...the one who has been their to comfort you through your transitions on and off the court. On paper we're unstoppable...better than all the other teams I've played for...we're gonna win this one together...well I thought we were...but it's always the off the court issues that hurt the team…that's what always seems to get in the way...and I can't block them out for you...you had to endure the pressure and take your shot...watch your form…and remember to follow through…

But your form was bad...no follow through...no dice…no win…and you say you gave it your all…and I believe you…just one thing…what about this broken heart?

 

"It’s all in practice" is what I tell myself now that I am forced to sit alone…cause the easiest way out is to tell yourself that experiencing the euphoria of loving them was a waste of time…and I think to myself…was it a waste of time to fall in love with someone who took the exit when things got rough?…better yet circumstance got rough? Was there’s no light at the end of the tunnel or did you stop walking cause you couldn’t see it? It's amazing what darkness does to dreamers...we never give up on our dream when it's dark...but love...that's different...

Oh the hearts we’ve broken as we try to figure out our inner workings in the midst of following our big dreams...while selling dreams to hearts that inevitably didn’t have a chance…

Is it unfair that the dreamer wants to love and feel loved while pursuing their passion? Of course not…but the lines we cross and don’t even see it…the dreams we sell and come to find we don’t even believe 'em…the love we express and give with great intentions…to the hearts we can’t mend after placing them in broken condition…

I've sold this dream and I've purchased it too...

I've broken hearts dreaming and so have you...

 

"It's all in practice" is what we tell ourselves after our hearts have mended

But we may have misread practice for the love we needed that shouldn't have ended.   

 

 Signed,

Aaron "Ab" Abernathy

 

 

 

 

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Chasing The Wrong Lover

On a cold rainy night in Chicago…a woman who had experienced an amazing love chose to expose herself in front of a room full of people. She had high hopes that the heart of the man she had loved and lost would be in attendance and would receive her words. She was called to the microphone and upon arrival she searched the room with hopes of seeing him…but he was nowhere in sight. In that moment she still made the decision to share her vulnerability with strangers by reading an original poem from her poem book. After expressing her deepest feelings for this man that she cared for…she immediately left the building and tossed her poem book in the trash on the way out the venue because although the love for him was very real…the situation was a burden she could no longer carry. It was the tension that she wanted to do away with...and when she calculates the amount of time it took to release her heart on to that page in her poem book plus the tremendous amount of courage it took to go to the place that he frequents to share her heart…it was too much for her to handle.  

See you don’t understand that she played out exactly what was going to happen in her mind before this very moment. In her brain…her dream photography job in New York City that she worked extremely hard to attain…was giving her an opportunity to mix business with pleasure. She was to fly back to Chicago where their love was birthed, work a shoot for her job during the day, then go to the Sanctuary that night and sign up to read her poem for him. When she’s called to the stage she was going to say “I wrote this for someone and he’s here tonight,” she was going to read it, he was going to receive it and then the love was going to be right again…but he wasn’t there to hear her heart…and that was enough for her to say I’m done! There was no fight left in her…Interesting enough it was a short fight...nothing like the fight she put up for her last man. 

See there was a time when everything was perfect with her and the heart she was after in Chicago…maybe too perfect. The beginning was great and exciting because it’s refreshing, new, and it felt good to be adored by him. There were weeks of carefree great times and she got to thinking “he might be the one.” Now her pride challenges her to question how she drew that conclusion in the earlier days. That same pride was helping her ignore the key moment that changed everything. That moment after making incredible love when she decided to inform him that she was taking a trip for a few weeks to handle some business…and see a past lover that she had years of history with to see if something was still there. A man who wanted another chance after asking her to marry him and then leaving her without a trace or warning and she couldn’t find him. She was willing to forgo what she was building in Chicago after receiving a phone call for someone who walked away from her disrespectfully without leaving a way to be contacted finally reached out to her after months of being missing.

She told herself she wouldn't take the trip to see her old lover if this new lover in Chicago told her not to go because in her heart that equated to him caring about her...it equated to her having him...but he said he was cool with her going...more than likely because she showed him that her heart was with someone else and that was enough for him to try his best to shift his heart in another direction.

She went on her journey to fight for her past and fell flat on her face and when she returned to Chicago she went to the Sanctuary looking for her new lover and he was nowhere to be found. She told herself she'd call him tomorrow…and when tomorrow came around she saw him out on the town with another woman and it hurt her heart so badly she decided not to call. What she did decide was to go on a few dates with one of his friends and one night while on a date with this friend of his...they ran into her Chicago lover and she was embarrassed and left.

The Chicago lover followed her out and took the higher road and discussed all that had taken place while she gave him attitude. He questioned why she never called after returning and she responded by saying she saw him with another woman. Eventually they came to an understanding and put the other woman and her dating his friend behind them and begin to date again.

A few months later they ran into an issue when she couldn't let go of the fact that he dated another woman while she went on her journey to chase her old flame. She vocalized to him that because he chose to date that other woman...she didn't trust him! He was baffled by her words as this other woman was clearly a thing of the past and only happened because of her journey to chase her past. Yet and still it's how she felt and enough for him to be done with her. 

After the love was gone she worked hard to get her dream gig in New York and left Chicago and the love that could’ve been. New York gave her time to think about this love that could’ve been and time to realize that what she left in Chicago was special…

But on this cold rainy night in Chicago…he’s clearly not special enough because she has no fight left in her as she opens the door to the taxi that she just flagged down…

My guess is she didn’t want to fight for this love that she knew was greater than anything she had experienced before…because she had previously fought hard to love the wrong person. Her pride was blinding her from seeing the difference between the two. She no longer knew what was worth fighting for. There's so many things in life we think we want that we don't need. It's a shame that we waste so much time and energy fighting for those things that when it's time to fight for what we need we're burned out and give up on fighting for it. We are victims of chasing the wrong people and fighting to keep them when they weren't suppose to be kept.  

Two days ago...my friend Jamie told me something that I found to be very true...

"In this lifetime we will fight for gifts, glory, and garbage...and sometimes we won't know trash from treasure because we mistake cravings for starvation."

It's important that we know the difference to understand who is worth fighting for and who is worth letting go. 

Signed, 

Aaron "Ab" Abernathy

 

 

 

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Unlocking Love

The routine upon opening my eyes in the morning is reaching for my iPhone and open my YouVersion Bible application. These days I'm searching for peaceful ground as I walk through this maze of life that is constantly filled with uncertainty and change...

Normally before the morning ends my mother calls and we talk about whatever we talk about...more grounding is found in these conversations about nothing that always seem to lead to something I can walk away with and hang my hat on when fear and doubt decide they want to hang out with me. 

Last week her call came through in the midst of me reading Romans as a part of YouVersions "Soul Detox" plan. I wasn't aware that our conversation would lead to her dropping a few gems on me. 

Our convo started with our normal morning greeting and small talk about what she has planned for the day in the city of Cleveland. She answered and said she was thinking about one of my friends...I told her this friend was going through some tough times as they were in the midst of getting a divorce. She was saddened by the news and went on to say there are so many marriages ending in divorce and it's something she doesn't understand. I know she is truly bothered by it because this isn't the first friend I've had who has divorced their spouse and every time she hears anyone speak on divorce she's saddened.

I went on to express that although I'm not married...clearly it's hard out here. She slightly disagreed which led to me ask "Why is your marriage still in great standing after 36 years?"

Her response: "Me and your father don't have a perfect marriage but we have a really good marriage because we constantly try to out give each other."

This concept of out-giving each other had my brain buzzing a bit...Do tell more mother...

Then she spoke freely from her heart: 

"The problem with marriage is people live in a fantasy world. 50 percent of the time you won't get your way and 50 percent of the time you will. It's important that you know your lane and your job in the partnership. My job is to make my husband happy BUT I can't make him happy unless he's a whole person spiritually and mentally. If he is whole...my job is to  find out what makes him happy. The key to a happy marriage is knowing who I'm dealing with and allowing him to be that. My job is to allowing him to like his hobbies....In allowing him to do this I allow him to enjoy his life!

My job is to say yes 90% of the time. I say yes to almost everything my husband wants to do and vice versa. 10% of the time I'll say no and because I say no seldomly, he's willing to hear my reason why. Because I've said yes 90% of the time it's his job to say yes 90% of the time as well and it makes it easier for both of us to say yes! Saying "no" to each other leads to us stop asking all together and doing things by ourselves...

Also, I rarely fuss at him so when I do he's willing to listen to me because he knows I don't argue over petty things. If I did why would he want to listen to me?When I speak he's willing to listen because he knows there is some form of wisdom in what I have to say. 

My job is to let him lead...which can be difficult but easier when seeing he's spiritually and mentally grounded.  My job is also to tell him what makes me happy...He doesn't have time to guess what makes me happy...I have to voice it.  

Another thing is we're together on everything! We decide together what is best for the betterment of the family, what's best for us, and we don't make decisions on what is best for me or him. Team unity is so important that you have to find someone who understands team unity...The team is wife & husband....children are players that come and go....the spouse permanent! Your spouse should always come before the children!

I feel like I'm talking to much..."

I tell her she isn't...she's actually unlocking love...

The art of coexisting with another human being for a lifetime seems very challenging...

Then she proceeds with the following:

I think everyone should ask themselves the simple question of "Do you want a good relationship that could lead to marriage?" If the answer is yes you have to be willing to follow the rules because there are rules that most couples seem to ignore.

Here are the rules that you must consider:

1. Know their heart and personality because that doesn't change. 

2. Understand that you're on a team. Teams have one common goal. Do you know what the goal is? 

3. Spend time together laughing and not arguing! Every argument tears down relationships...laughter and encouragement builds up relationships...your job is to be encouraging! Encouragement has no negativity in it. 

4. Protect your mate! Never say anything negative about your mate to others. If something isn't going well discuss it with your spouse in private but don't gossip to others. Whatever is wrong must be discussed with your mate to remedy the problem. Your issues aren't for roundtable discussions amongst your friends. 

**There will always be somebody who has something to say or something they've seen your spouse doing...don't react...Once the two of you are in private ask your spouse questions but don't accuse. You might ask is it true that such and such happened instead of Sarah told me you did such and such! Questions give someone an opportunity to explain a situation**

5. Fight fairly. Stay on topic, don't name call, and work towards a solution that will make both parties happy. 

6. Say "I'm sorry and it won't happen again" when you're wrong...and try your best to make sure it doesn't happen again!

7. Work towards keeping the peace! 

8. Take care of your spouse...Are you willing to make sure that they are comfortable and feel safe? Men and women have to feel safe...Can I be myself and be safe here?

9. Allow your spouse to make mistakes...they won't be perfect...but don't rub it in their face.

10. Leave negativity and negative people alone! 

11. Forgiveness goes hand and hand with marriage. This is why you don't share inside information on your relationships with others. Others don't forgive like you will because they're not in the relationship...keep them out of your love life. 

 

I believe marriage is the greatest thing that can happen to a man or woman. It's the most lasting comforting place you can be when it's done the right way....unselfishly. It's suppose to be the only God sanctioned relationship and if you can forgive and move on you'll be fine. Everything won't go your way and some of the things you don't need to go your way. Marriage is permanent support and we all need support.  Marriage isn't this magical place where two people walk through the park hand and hand for 50 years. It has it's up and down, good and bad moments, exciting and boring parts....but if you're committed you'll learn the rules and commit yourselves to each other. 

Marriage can be like business...most businesses won't flourish overnight and everything doesn't run as smoothly as planned during the first few years but when you stay committed...you learn from the mistakes and sooner or later the business grows. Sooner or later you'll look up and recognize that through BOTH of you working together you've created a great relationship. You have to ask is your mate worth the work? 

The key is continuously giving your best to the person that deserves your best. Remember you chose to be with this person as they chose to be with you! Why wouldn't you give them your best?

And with that being said she was done speaking and told me she had to run so she could go pick up some new thread and needles before heading to her quilt club at Noon. We said our goodbye's and Romans reappeared on my screen...

I sat there in my bed digesting everything said...

Love was unlocked courtesy of my mother...

 

Signed,

Aaron "Ab" Abernathy

 

 

 

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The Power of "I'm Sorry"

"FINE! I'm sorry....Did you hear me...I'm sorry! Are you happy now?"

They sat there in silence...until she left the room leaving him with a heavy aching heart filled with questions...

Why express yourself for all of this? 

Why say I didn't like it when you said that to me or when you did this certain thing it hurt my feelings...What's the point if it leads to this moment almost every time?

An hour of debating and going back and forth with someone you love just to prove that they've wronged you. For whatever reason they fight you tooth and nail to avoid being wrong...to avoid sincerely saying "I'm sorry, that was on me, what can I do to make it right?" 

With no accountability on her end in sight...she settles with "FINE! I'm sorry! are you happy now?" accompanied by an attitude and an exit. At this moment he no longer wants the apology and is left questioning the love he thought they had. A very big loss for the team...the type of loss that kills team morale and makes free agency look very appealing.   

Many of us have acted out that scene...representing the man, woman, or both at some point in time... 

The amount of love that is represented in the words "I'm sorry," delivered sincerely to someone that you've done wrong by is supremely underrated. I'll go as far as saying it's the single most important factor in any relationship that will stand the test of time. Sincere apologies say "I love you" more than than verbally saying "I love you" simply because it's an action that expresses the verbal statement. It's an action that says I mean it when I say I love you and I want to show you by acknowledging the hurt I've caused. In addition, I'm attempting to remove that same hurt that I've afflicted upon you now that you've made me aware of it. Sincere apologies say I want to reconcile this fracture I've caused because you matter to me. Not only do you matter to me...but we matter to me and if one of us is damaged then we're damaged. Real love lives at this level of sincerity.

This is the level a majority of us don't reach because of the foolish pride and deceit that overtakes our hearts in these important windows of opportunity... 

It's not a window for us to feel sorry for ourselves or make excuses for why we did what we did. It's not a window for attitudes, sarcasm, dishonesty, falsehood, faking, or wallowing in our feelings of always feeling we're the one in the wrong. It's not a window for you to blame someone else...

It's a window to prove how true the love that we confess for someone is. A window to humble ourselves in our imperfections and recognize areas we can grow and be better in. A window to allow the person you love to practice forgiveness...

A sincere "I'm sorry" followed by the proper action of actually changing so the same fracture to someone's heart isn't made speaks in volumes to the person you're dealing with. We're human so mistakes are inevitable but being accountable for your mistakes and sincerely saying "I'm sorry" every time is a decision only you can make. 

It's the lack of sincerity that drives us apart...

It's the continuous heartfelt honest "I'm sorry" that keep us together...

There's no real reconciliation without sincere apologies...

 The long lasting true love that everyone is looking for lives inside of sincerity and reconciliation...

That long lasting true love lives inside of you...it's just tucked under your pride...

 

Signed,

Aaron "Ab" Abernathy

P.S. New York City! I hope to see you at my final Winter Sessions show w/ my band Nat Turner Feb. 28th! Info available here

 

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Fillings for Feelings

Gloria Jean b.k.a. Glo is my cousin who was born and raised in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Fresh out the south...Glo came up under her mother and my grandmother on the burners and she is the TRUTH in the kitchen. She's an amazing cook but her specialty is baked beans. Glo is the Queen of the baked beans! NOBODY....and I'm serious when I say NOBODY is touching Glo when it comes to making baked beans! These baked beans are so incredible that they are requested in off seasons like Thanksgiving and Christmas. It's that real! 

About ten years ago on a hot summer day, I called my grandfathers house looking for Glo who had been living in Cleveland for about 10 years after she became the full time caregiver of my grandparents. When she picked up the phone I got straight to the point:

Me: Glo, we're having a bbq tomorrow and I'm hoping you are willing to share your world famous baked beans recipe with me?

Glo: If you got a piece of paper, I got the recipe...

She gave me the recipe and I baked them beans up and they were great! BUT they still weren't the incredible batch that Glo makes. I came home later that summer and went by my grandfather's house and Glo happened to be making some baked beans. In the midst of cooking she open the oven and added something to them that I couldn't see and then closed the oven for the beans to bake a little while longer. She saw me looking and said "it's all in the timing." Then I notice she had the timer set for that moment to add whatever she added. At that very moment I understood that the greatness of her baked beans was in that small window of timing. She knew this moment was monumental to the success of making an incredible batch of beans! I truly realized how important this moment was a few years later when she missed that key moment to add her special ingredient as she rushed to the stove and was pissed when she turned to me and said "well this batch is no good" as she threw them away.

She's so alert when she's making those baked beans...waiting for that small window in time to add her love to the equation...and the great part is her love is unique...It's her special filling at the right time and place...and nobody knows what it is...it's between her and those baked beans...but I do know it's what makes them incredible...and It's all in the timing...

 

We all have a filling that we bring to relationships. A special ingredient that only you possess that can make or break the recipe. As of late I've heard a few stories directly and indirectly from women about dealing with the man they love and his lack of opening up and sharing his feelings. The thing about men is that our hearts aren't given away easily. We're guarded and when we feel that you understand us and we trust you...THEN there's a small window that we open and if you miss it there's a chance you might miss out. When a man decides to share his feelings with you...in this vulnerable and rare moment...you have a quick decision to make....what are you going to fill him up with when he's in his feelings?  A listening ear, true understanding, security...or laughter, judgement, and ridicule. The decision is yours but it will impact if he opens up to you again. Men don't talk to each other often about vulnerable situations...but from what I've heard over the years...when it comes down to men opening up...it fell on deaf ears so they cut that out altogether with certain women. 

Just like Glo's baked beans...that special filling at the right time is everything to a man and it makes him better for his woman. You'll know the right time if you take time to know your man and we know if you truly know us.

It's all in your special filling and timing...

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Perspective Will Save You

We were mid-western boys united at a University that not only pushed Black excellence but excellence PERIOD! Up-rooted from our blue collar cities, we were placed in the nations capitol at 18 years of age, forced to abandon our comfort zones of home and embrace strangers that would become family as the years past. We resided on Howard University's campus at Drew Hall in room 212...and in that room we became brothers through sharing personal stories, vulnerable moments, and taking the time to truly understand each other differences. I recall a convo in which we spoke on marriage and children and he asked me what age do you want to be married by? How many children do you want to have? Where do you want to live? I asked him the same and the only answer I remembered of his was he wanted to move back to LA where he was born but I surely remember all of my answers. 

What age do you want to be married by?

26 definitely 26!

How many children do you want to have? 

Well my parents had three of us so I have to have at least three but I think a starting 5 would be great!

Where do you want to live?

When it's all said and done...Cleveland is the city!

 

I like my 18 year old self. I had it all figured out. I was going to graduate from Howard and go out into the working world and make a ton of money and after four years of getting settled into adulthood, me and the girl of my dreams were going to get married at 26. Afterwards, we were going to buy a house and start having children and eventually move to Cleveland. Sounded like a great plan at 18. 

2005 arrived and Senior year was upon us in the blink of an eye. I spent the summer before working diligently on my demo with hopes of becoming a songwriter but all of that changed when my same roommate from freshman year convinced me to sell the demo to students on campus and that we did very well! So well that it led to a concert in the Punch Out with a band I had scrambled to put together that I called "The Souljourners." It was crazy to me how many people liked the demo and even crazier when my mom called me to tell me that she gave the demo to my cousin who arranged a meeting for me in Cleveland the week before graduation with his college roommate...who happened to be the Senior VP or A&R's at Sony Records.

I was hyped! After taking my last final of my college career, me and my other roommate drove over night to make it to that meeting in my hometown and the meeting was great! They loved my music and said they'd be in touch really soon. Before I left the meeting this older white man who was with the A&R pulled me aside and said "you're extremely talented but I want to tell you something about this business...In the record business...A YES is a maybe and a NO is a no...today you got a yes...good luck to you."

I left that meeting feeling great! I was on my way to the top and nobody could tell me different! Me and my roommate drove back to DC and we were talking about the meeting and how I felt and then he asked me a question...When do you think you'll be at the grammy's? With all confidence I said "No later than 2008." That yes definitely meant maybe and eventually was a flat at no! Yet and still...

I like my 22 year old self. I had it all figured out. I was going to graduate from Howard and sign a record deal with Sony and record a classic album! Me and my band were going to tour the world and definitely by my sophomore album I was going to win a grammy. Then at the end of that year I would be married just as I planned. Sounded like a great plan at 22. 

Ten years later...it's the year 2015! I brought in the New Year playing with my band "Nat Turner" in Milwaukee, Wisconsin which happens to be the city where my college roommate was raised. It was great to see his family at the show supporting me and my band. As for him he couldn't make it cause he's happily married with a one year old son and living in Los Angeles, California. I'm happy that he made the answers to his questions at 18 a reality. As for me at the age of 32, I'm non-married, non-children having, non-grammy nominated, and non-grammy award winning Aaron "Ab" Abernathy and I LOVE my 32 year old self! I had the opportunity to have all the things that I don't have and made the decision to forgo them for all the right reasons at that time. 

ON THE GRAMMY:

In 2010 my demo landed on the desk of a top executive at EMI Records and I got a call to meet with him in New York City. The meeting went really well and less than three months later I signed a subsidiary deal with one of top guys in the music industry. He said he loved my music and with a few tweaks I would definitely be a star. We had 11 months to tightened up and present to major labels. He was connected to everybody in the business. When he placed a call to almost anyone, they would pick up or call him back shortly. I was sure that this was the beginning of something great. Two months after signing the deal, I received a record from him in my email inbox that he wanted me to record for my album and to present to labels. This record was soooo corny. It was a bad record and definitely something that I would never sing! I told my management that I politely decline from going in this direction and they agreed with me. They delivered the message and that was the last time I heard from that top executive ever again. We had nine more months left in the deal to work and nothing! The subsidiary deal terminated the next year and that was that. I'm pretty sure If I would've recorded what he wanted me to record...I'd probably have a grammy but there was no way that I was going to be someone that I'm not to climb the latter to get an accolade. 

ON MARRIAGE:

It's very simple...great people are very easy to come by and I've been blessed to spend time and get to know women who are extremely talented, wonderful, and beautiful human beings...but locating the rare find that fits you that is not easy.

Keyword: RARE 

rer/

In my mid twenties I can be honest and say I didn't know myself well enough to know who I was in order to know what the rare find that fits me looks like. At 26 I had an idea but truly didn't know enough about what marriage entails and most importantly myself to vow to spend the rest of my life with someone else for better or worse. I was in serious conversations with the woman I was madly in love with at the time about getting married because 1.) I felt like we'd been together for years and 2.) I LOVED HER and 3.) it was what I was suppose to do right?...WRONG and I'm glad we didn't go through with it because it wouldn't have been fair to her or myself.

What was interesting about my mid twenties was I didn't even know I was focused on fitting into the program that the world sells to us daily...

- Finish school

- Get a good paying job

- Meet a significant other

- Get married

- Buy a house

 - Have children,

- Live happily or sadly ever after  

I actually went the opposite way of what the world deems as normal and to this very day I'm questioned on...

What age do I want to be married by? 

How many children do you want to have?

Where do you want to live?

Feels like I'm 18 all over again but this time I'm totally okay with not knowing the answers to any of these questions. What I found in my late twenties was perspective in spending years by myself. I needed to be alone way more than being with anyone. The years I've spent by myself, getting to know myself and dealing with myself are my golden years. In these years I've found out who I am and have cleaned up the mess around my heart so that I won't damage others. I've grown and continue to grow to be a better person by being hard on myself and fairly assessing my shortcomings. I've discovered that we all go about life in different ways and no particular way is the "right" way. I've discovered the way I want to go about it and what I need to maintain my happiness...therefore I know what the right love for me looks like. At 32...I can identify my rare find and in the proper time we can answer all the questions above...

In the proper time....

TIMING

Alone I discovered that timing is everything and sometimes love and timing just don't add up. It doesn't mean that you have to abandon the love but you do have to be mature within the frustration. I've watched and been a part of the frustrating situation of bad timing and witnessed the disbanding of relationships because of it.  I've seen people hurt each other because they weren't realistic about the bad timing and their expectations were impossible to reach. Sometimes there is nothing that can be done in that space and time to appease what you want...that's when perspective is most helpful. Sometimes it's no ones fault...it's just not time! I truly believe that everything (including LOVE) works in God's perfect timing!  

 

ON LIFE:

The greatest thing I've learned is my life is my story and no one else's. We can listen and receive advice from friends, family, acquaintances, and strangers but at the end of the day we have to live with every decision we make so it's highly important that you do it your way. There are so many things that will be out of your control and so many situations that you can do absolutely nothing about but you will always control your destiny, how you treat others, and most importantly the decision to grow to be a better person everyday. It's your choice to be aware of yourself and your shortcomings and it's also your choice to clean up your heart and heal from whatever has happened to you that's hurt you. Sometimes it's very painful to deal with ourselves and the messiness that comes with life but it's worth the pain in the long run. No one is responsible for cleaning up your heart but yourself!

In 2015 fight hard for yourself cause your personal story is told through your existence. We're already reading your chapters...try your best to make sure it reads like you see fit. Don't expect everyone to understand how you choose to live your life and what you have planned to accomplish. Don't be afraid to move on when situations, friendships, and relationships are over. Era's end and new ones begin...and the few chosen people that God has handpicked to walk through each era you'll go through in life will always be there. Those friends are rare finds as well.

As far as lovers are concerned...don't settle...take time to truly understand yourself and what you need. When it's all said and done...there's no such thing as a physical type...there's nothing but a heart type...Is their heart compatible with yours? Will they be honest and vulnerable? Will they respect your differences? Will they be able to handle your crazy (cause all of us are crazy in our on type of way)? Are they seeking out self-growth? Are they willing to grow with you?

Most of the people you date will not fit your specific equation and that's okay but if you have an agenda to be married or have kids by a certain age you'll ignore it and that's dangerous. The person who can do all of these things is the rare find! Love awaits you...The question is will you wait for the right love for you?

Signed,

Aaron "Ab" Abernathy 

 

P.S. While you're waiting for love the world needs you...meanwhile I'm still after that grammy!

 

Hope to see you out at my winter sessions w/ my band Nat Turner...Dates available here

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The Art of Playtime

We shared the same bed in the back room of my grandparent’s home when my parents went away to play. I remember it well because my brother and I were bookends to my sister as my grandmother always placed her in the middle so that the young woman wouldn’t fall out of the bed.  My parents scheduled their playtime once a month in which they spent alone time out of town. We had no clue where they were and honestly didn’t care because we were consumed by grandma’s good cooking that was always made with love, granddad’s wisdom and story telling, and a backyard that was canvas for what ever we could conjure up in our young minds. Playtime weekends would always end with a doorbell on Sunday evening/night followed by the familiar voice of my father greeting his parents. After grown up conversation was finished he would round us up to say our goodbyes and then we would head home.

I recall returning home from my grandparent’s house one weekend after my parents went away to play…to find a new picture hanging over the fireplace. The picture captured a black woman with a short haircut in a white dress whose body was shaped like the letter “S.” 

                                            Judith Jamison | Cry

                                            Judith Jamison | Cry

We asked mom who is this? And why is she hanging over the fireplace? She told us the woman in the picture goes by the name of Judith Jamison and she is a famous dancer who plays a big part in Alvin Ailey’s dance company. She said this past weekend she saw dances she choreographed in New York City and it was incredible (then she began to dance around our living room and we laughed).  After her imitation of a dance she pulled out a VHS tape that read Alvin Ailey on the cover and told us we could watch it later…

All I know is that when later came…we watch the heck out of that tape!!! Thinking back on that time…I truly believe what made that Alvin Ailey VHS so captivating is I had never seen African Americans dance that way. Sure I had seen Michael Jackson, James Brown, Tina Turner, Janet Jackson, and others get busy but this was TOTALLY different. This was my introduction to modern dance and I was a bit mesmorized. I think the shock came from my young brain thinking my people only danced like Michael Jackson and James Brown…when I thought of ballet and modern dance, I didn’t think of African Americans but my mom continuously challenged and released all limitations in our minds dealing with African American people. In a world where it seemed that we are constantly limited…on the east side of Cleveland my mother chose to show us the only limitation were in our minds. She’s a facts only type of woman and never taught us anything without backing it up. African Americans in modern dance was one of the many cultured lessons she taught us and showed us about through this Alvin Ailey VHS.  

 

Over the last 4 years I started implementing my own playtime…

Although I don’t have a playmate…it hasn’t stopped me from traveling around the world alone and with friends to discover what life has to offer through culture, inspiration, hope, and education.

In March I found myself at Mardi Gras with one my best friends “Stevona” aka Stevie who lives in New Orleans. While perusing the NOLA streets for delicious food and catching beads at several parades...she asked me if I was down to go see Alvin Ailey with her in New York in June…My response was “I’m wit it!”

Last Monday she arrived in DC and on Tuesday morning we journeyed to New York City and experienced one of the best times of our lives! We traveled to New York via the Bolt Bus, which happened to break down about an hour and fifteen minutes into our trip.  The driver hopped on the speaker and simply said, “Well, there's summin wrong wit dis bus!” Me and Stevie looked at each other and immediately started laughing! Not because the bus broke down…but because the man said it like your inner city uncle would. After a semi-long wait we pulled off on the same bus just to pull over again about an hour outside of New York to wait for a new bus to arrive.

When we arrived in New York, we took the A train to Akwaaba Bed & Breakfast in Brooklyn and checked in.  We were greeted by Erica the innkeeper who was so welcoming and just plain cool. She led us to our place of lodging and then invited us back down for Tea Time at 4pm in the lobby. We had tea and spoke with Erica about the history of the property and life and before we knew it…it was time to get dressed...so we did exactly that and hopped an Uber car to the Lincoln Center. 

 

As we were walking towards the venue an older African American man stopped us and asked “Are you going to see Ailey tonight?” When we told him that we were...his face was filled with excitement and he raved about how great it is and how he was glad that we were going to see it and how young black people need to see this! His excitement reminded me of my mother dancing around the living room when I was a child before letting us watch the VHS. It’s proof that all art inspires and moves our hearts to a happy place.

After conversing with the gentlemen we walked inside of the David H. Koch Theater and witnessed the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater entertain a sold out audience for two hours. IT WAS PHENOMENAL! It’s really hard to express how great it was. It was interesting to see “Revelations” live in person after seeing it on the VHS so many years ago. The dancing and music that accompanied of course were familiar but the energy created in that room was undeniable. There was so much inspiration in every dance presented that evening.

 

After the show we headed to meet up with my good friend Bill who picked out a restaurant in the city called “il Buco Alimentari & Vineria,” for us to have dinner at.  Bill invited his twin brother Chris and Stevona invited her good friend Hollins to join us. Upon arrival...Bill spoke about how excited he was for us to indulge in this incredible food and that we did!  

Over crispy artichokes, carrots, kale, crispy polenta, the best pasta I've ever had in my life, and the incredibly flavored roasted short rib...we toasted to new friends and enjoyed great conversation and laughter. It's days like these that you don't want to see come to an end! 

 

I've been blessed to experience days like last Tuesday several times over the past four years. As I reflect on my playtime around the globe...these incredible times don't happen by coincidence. It is your job to curate your playtime and make sure it's filled with pleasure and a great time so you can return home and back to work fulfilled!  

To guarantee my playtime is fulfilling...I make sure it includes these three non-negotiables:

1.) Great Company

2.) Great Cuisine

3.) Great Adventure

This trifecta captures the art of playtime!

Even when traveling alone I always seem to find great company when I'm seeking great cuisine or something to get into. 

 

So what do you need to guarantee that your playtime is successful?

 

Where are you spending your playtime this summer?

 

Something to ponder...

 

Signed,

 

Aaron "Ab" Abernathy

 

 

 

 

 

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One Major Thing Relationships Are Missing Today

During Memorial Day weekend, I was blessed to be amongst family to witness the marriage of my cousin to the love of his life in Brooklyn, New York. No matter the event or location...I love that my family will gather to celebrate each others’ lives on a consistent basis.  I recall when my brother married a few years ago in Portland, Oregon...which happens to be nowhere near the city of Cleveland where most of my family resides...but it didn't matter because the distance couldn't stop a majority of my aunts, uncles, and first cousins from flying across the country to witness one of the most important commitments in his life. Memorial Day weekend, that same majority gathered in Brooklyn to celebrate another life long commitment. During this intimate wedding and reception, there was a special moment that opened my eyes to something that has been in my face my entire life and I didn't fully grasp its significance until then...   

 

My uncle, the father of the groom, was the only person who spoke during the reception. Before he blessed the food, he took the time to elaborate on how the groom was his youngest child, his only son, in whom he was extremely proud. He stated that his son chose a wonderful woman for his wife and expressed how happy he is to call her his daughter. He explained that both the groom and the bride's families must now choose to come together and love one another because of this wonderful union.  He extended a warm welcome to the bride's family and informed them that they may call upon us if they needed anything. He spoke about how his son has continuously honored him and his mother, as parents, and although they are still his parents...he is to honor his wife first...and in doing so, it will never take away from honoring them. Lastly, he said, " I want to bless this food with a prayer that I learned from someone I hold in high regard, my late great father-in-law, Garlen Abernathy Sr." (my grandfather), and then he prayed.   

 

He only spoke for about 2 to 3 minutes max...but what he did in that small amount of time was powerful. He honored his son, honored his daughter in-law, extended our love to her family, he made sure his son knew that honoring his wife is now his first priority, and last but not least, he chose to honor my grandfather. 

 

I've thought about his speech since the wedding and this morning I came to the realization that I was raised in a family where we were taught to honor each other. Honor is the key ingredient that keeps my family so tight knit with each other and it was taught by example. 

 

My grandfather was the sixth of twelve children. His father (my great-grandfather) taught them that they had to get along and they weren't to argue and fight with each other.  My grandfather passed that down to my father, my aunt, and two uncles…and they passed it down to my siblings, my first cousins, and me. Our grandfather continuously told all of us to take care of each other and always honor, respect, and love each other because family is all you have. 

 

Like any other family, we'll have our disagreements but my grandfather was adamant about us finding a solution quickly so that bitterness wouldn't set in and ruin the bond that we have built. The key word is finding a solution, which benefits the entire family.  I'm thankful that I've heard this my entire life because it is engrained in me and has extended to my generation of the family.

 

Respect and honor are often viewed as synonymous, but just because you respect someone doesn't mean that you honor them. There are several people we respect for the content of their character, skill set, and impact on society.   However, respect is a prerequisite to being honored. The people we honor in our lives are already respected by us and in addition are held in HIGH REGARD... But, more importantly, honor is part of a behavior.  We can see how much we honor our love ones in the way we speak, react, approach, care for and show love toward one another.

 

It's so common to see my family honoring each other that seeing the overwhelming amount of dishonor occurring in our society is always shocking to me.  What is most disturbing is how honor is the key thing missing in numerous types of relationships today from parent/child to teacher/student to customer/business to romance. There are so many times when one notices the disrespect and the lack of honor.  But, honor begins at home.

 

Growing up, I made my fair share of mistakes. I was foolish, like most children and even more foolish in my teenage years. I lied to my parents and did a few stupid things that landed me in trouble.  But, I'm truly thankful that when I made mistakes, my parents still honored me as their son. They never cursed me out, degraded me, or made me feel stupid or worthless because of the poor choices I made. They did punish and correct me out of love, but somehow they managed to discuss only the mistakes and why they were indeed mistakes. Then they would begin to build me up, encourage me and point me in the right direction.  

 

To be honest...even if your parents didn't give you this type of honor...you should honor them because they gave you life!   That is one of the many reasons I honor my parents. They chose to give me life.  I also honor them because they continue to lead by example. It is important to note that we are all being watched. People are watching to see how to honor family and how to honor each other in love. 

 

I have never seen my parents embarrass each other! When in public, they've never cut each other off while one of them is speaking. They've never belittled each other, and they've never intentionally tried to make the other person look or feel bad when in the company of others. They ALWAYS support each other no matter the circumstance.  Even if one of them says something out of line in public...the other manages to create an environment of support. They protect each other out of the honor that they have for one another.  It's their decision to do so because "Honor" is a choice...

 

“No person was ever honored for what they received. Honor has been the reward for what they gave.”   — Calvin Coolidge

 

I love that quote because it focuses on honoring being a reward for giving!

 

Think about this for a second...

How many relationships do you see where a man is honoring a woman for the time and sacrifices she has made for him?  How many times do you see a relationship where a woman is honoring a man for the time and sacrifices he has made for her?  Well, you are blessed to be able to witness relationships where there is much sacrifice and much giving. When there is much giving you will see examples of honor and loyalty because when honor is the principal part of a relationship, it's a beautiful thing. 

 

Sometimes, people refer to this type of kindness and giving as a sign of weakness...but they are mistaken.  When someone has chosen to continuously bend over backwards for you...why wouldn't you want to do the same for them? Honor is what makes relationships grow! Honor blesses all types of relationships.  It is what creates friendships and solidifies relationships between children and parents. It's a catalyst for growth.

 

It's shameful to see someone give all of their being to someone and not receive the deserved honor. It's so popular to see people embarrass and belittle others in public, and I hate seeing it every time it happens.... The saddest part is that sometimes, honor is missing in romantic relationships. This is unfortunate because no one forces anyone to be in a romantic relationship...one chooses to be with that person. What I don't understand is how you say you love someone that you do not honor? 

 

For me personally...Honor is where real love is revealed...

 

- Honor says I will serve you  (most people want to be served and not do the serving). 

- Honor is giving out of love (some people see giving as a weakness). 

- Honor is letting someone know through your words and your actions that they're a great person that you hold in high regard.

- In some cases Honor is loving someone who doesn't deserve your love...and choosing to love your way through the ridiculousness and pray it gets better (children, parent, and marriage relationship- for better or worse some people can't live through the worse)

- Honor is listening to someone who loves you enough to correct you for your benefit when you're wrong. You might be upset initially but honor will make you sit there and listen and rethink a situation. 

- Honor is respecting your elders! A person who is well raised knows elders deserve honor...that doesn't mean you have to believe or do what they say, but you respect them for their survival. You listen and maintain a respectful tone when speaking to your elders.

- Lastly, in love...Honor is always action...

   

First, consider this…to whom do you give honor?  Be honest with yourself. Do you need to improve in honoring someone? Remember, people are always watching and learning from your behavior.

 

Next, pay attention to people who honor or dishonor you. Some people give more time to those who dishonor them than to people who honor them. Please note that if people do not honor you, they're wasting your time and theirs...  

 

Just my thoughts...

 

Signed,

 

Aaron Abernathy

 

 

 

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The Good Cry Young

We grew up together…possibly too fast in a laid back city where status mattered. Her status was popular at a young age…she had that look that all the guys adored. If you knew her…you knew she was bigger than her looks.  You knew she was a smart young girl trying to figure it out...who happened to fall in love at the tender age of 13. Middle school was where we met but we didn’t know each other well.  High school was where we became good friends...then college where we constantly looked out for each other...and post graduation where we became family.

She was gorgeous. She couldn’t go anywhere without men complimenting her and/or making an advance. Time after time I watched her politely decline their empty statements to get her attention...for her heart belonged to someone and to that someone she was loyal. Come to think of it…she was always loyal. Twice upon a time she was loyal to a fault.

The first time we were so young that I couldn’t believe her feelings were so real towards one of our peers…but they were…and it took everything in her to get over him after 7 to 8 years…BUT she did! The relationship had become so unhealthy that I was glad she eventually stepped away from the one thing she thought she was so sure of. We were young and dumb but I admired her effort to try to make a relationship work with a young man that was drastically growing in an opposite direction of what she was seeking. After years of frustration, crying, and constantly hurting over his actions...I was glad to see her enter the next stage of her life especially after spending freshmen and sophomore year tied to someone who wasn’t physically or emotionally present. He was more manipulative and controlling than he was loving.

She was finally enjoying college and part of her new experience consisted of a new love with a handsome suave young man who happened to be favored by many women on campus. He had the look, the car, the charm, and did everything right to capture her heart.

She moved in with me the summer before senior year because the university didn’t grant her summer housing. During that time she wasn’t around too much. She was in school, at work, and in love so her presence was limited. One evening she came in with her significant other and I was granted the opportunity to meet him. He seemed like a good guy to me...and she was extremely happy...so I was happy for her.

BUT

As the summer progressed I watched her mood change…

The guy who had done everything right to capture her heart was no longer making her feel special. I witnessed it first hand with my other roommates on a cool summer evening when she was preparing to go on a date with him. He pulled up outside the house in his mustang and honked the horn…I heard her tell him to come inside....

His response was the screeching tires of his mustang as he pulled off! All I could say was wow! I thought he was joking…but when he didn’t come back I knew he wasn’t right for her and I think she knew it too. She was really hurt that night and I’m sure she was embarrassed as well. She continued seeing him and I heard her complaints about his behavior from time to time but she remained loyal to him through it all. 

Summer left and so did she as she moved out at the top of our senior year. I didn’t see her much that year but I recall us crossing paths on campus and briefly catching up. When I asked how things were going with him she said she was no longer dealing with him and was working on moving forward.

After commencement we didn’t see each other until I received a call from her saying she was looking for a place to stay. I had more than enough room and another summer with my friend seemed like a great idea to me…so she moved in. This summer was reminiscent of the summer she stayed with me before senior year because somehow her college lover made his way back in her life and was already back to his old disrespectful ways. I didn’t know he was in her life until the day I knocked on her door and found her sobbing…That’s when she told me everything about her getting over him…and him doing everything right to get her back again just to do the same thing he did the first time. She wanted answers, she wanted it to work with him, she saw their lives together, and she was willing to try to make it work.

 

One hot Saturday afternoon she went to my friend’s apartment complex to swim and clear her head. This friend of mine was going through a similar situation so they talked for hours. She returned home feeling better and spoke highly about my friend and the wisdom he gave on her situation.

The year progressed and slowly but surely she came out of her shell and we would talk daily about our lives and what we were dealing with from love, to heartbreak, to finding our identity, our goals, and our dreams. She had her good days and her bad days dealing with her situation. It was amazing how this man had a hold on her heart for so long...but everybody has their breaking point and hers came a year after she moved in.

It was homecoming and my friend who let her come swim at his complex the summer before was in town. He had moved out of the city and was in a better place mentally and emotionally. He came in the house and I told him she was in her room. He knocked on the door and said hey…

Followed by “what’s wrong?” then followed by “Whatever is wrong, I just hope that you’re not crying over the same situation we talked about last year in that swimming pool.”

After he said those words she let out a cry that I had never heard before. It was as if her entire soul cried out! I believe that those words from my friend opened her eyes to see herself in a way that she hadn’t before. That cry was the good cry that everyone goes through in mourning…the cry that represents you’re at your breaking point…and she needed that cry to begin to get ALL the hurt out of her system. It was time for her to begin to get rid of all the guilt she felt about being walked over and feeling like a fool in love who had been taken advantage of. In that very moment she knew it was over…that statement removed the veil from over her eyes about her relationship as well as herself.

It was the end of an era and although it took her a year of dealing with a rotten situation I was glad to see it come to an end. In the following weeks I watched her pick herself up and begin to rebuild her life outside of her relationship with him. She finally understood she could never make him love her the way she loved him. She moved out of my place but we always stayed in touch. She took the time she needed to be alone and deal with herself after the heartbreak. She didn’t date for over a year just to clear her heart and conscious of the situation. It was good to have my friend back in a healthy state and I was and still am extremely proud of her today.

She didn’t let these love experiences taint her perception of love when she chose to date again. She used these experiences as a learning curve and was accountable for the decisions she made while she was in these relationships. She became more aware of herself and what she needs from a male counterpart and sticks to that over anything.   

I learned plenty from watching her situation unfold, her recovery, and the wonderful place she's in now. I titled this piece "The Good Cry Young," because I have hopes that we can learn and grow from our mistakes now instead of making the same mistakes over and over and over again in relationships. If your significant other doesn't want to grow...have a good cry over them, mourn the relationship and what could've been, and then press forward with your life and go get what can be! It's never too late... 

 

Signed,

 

Aaron "Ab" Abernathy

 

P.S. If you're in the DC area on June 5th...I would love to see you at Bohemian Caverns for my Soul Session

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What We Make Of Our Love Relationships

I've been in love with three woman in my life and none of those relationships worked out in our favor. I'm not ashamed to say I've cried over them, got over them, and revisited these relationships with high hopes of them working out...and I fell flat on my face sending me back to lick my wounds and start all over again.

The feelings brought on by these relationships ending were never good. I hated how I felt (rejected, misunderstood, not good enough, insecure, angry, lost), how it affected me, and most of all I hated the fact that someone could intrude my heart with such power that I couldn't get a grip on my emotions. It was as if someone else had control over me...

All of these feelings were very hard to sit with and tackle. In hindsight, taking the time to understand why you feel the way you feel is one of the major keys to a healthy life and healthy relationships.

It took a little while for me to discover why I felt all of the things I felt after these break ups. It took longer for me to see past my hurt in order to understand my significant others perspective and hurts (which is very important). It took even longer to reconcile and apologize for my faults and miscommunication. Longer than that...It took me about 3 to 5 years to understand my imperfections and begin to recognize where they stem from.

My imperfections are something like a vampire that I tried my best to keep out of the sun because it's a painful experience when they're exposed to light. Although I'm aware that I possess good traits...it's my imperfections that ALWAYS cause trouble in relationships. At the beginning of 2012, I went on this long journey of learning and accepting who I am. Part of that journey was sorting through my imperfections little by little and discovering more and more about the way my heart operates and what has influenced its growth throughout my lifetime. Opening myself up to see what has hurt me outside of dealing with anyone helped me appreciate the relationships I've been a part of. Sometimes it was just me...and I fell victim to my insecurities and negative thoughts when I was in these relationships. I'm sure my significant others dealt with the same issues but neither of us were vulnerable enough to be honest about it. There's so much strength in vulnerability! It's actually the most honest act you can offer in love...baring your entire soul no matter the outcome. The risks are high because you're sharing your feelings and imperfections BUT what if you share this act with the right person? 

At the end of 2012 I stumbled upon a greatest discovery... 

Yes I am imperfect... 

Yes I will always be that...

But my imperfections aren't designed to fit everyone... 

They have to be exposed to the right type of light. The right person can spot the imperfection but have such an understanding of who I am that they are aware that I'm willing to adjust to the world that we are attempting to create together. I'm not asking for a pass...I'm asking for an opportunity to grow with someone and adjust to her world and vice versa. I'm asking that you don't use my vulnerability against me. If I slowly unarm myself...please don't shoot me while I'm defenseless.

I know that I have to try my hardest not to bring a broken world I was trying to create with someone else into this new world. At the same time, it's common that people deal with fight or flight when something from the past is triggered. In those moments you need to be able to be vulnerable about what exactly happened in the past that triggered the feeling of fear without someone judging you or becoming defensive. Vulnerability is nothing but a cry for understanding and protection. That is what all of us look for in love...safety and protection. We have hopes that love will cover us no matter what...

The hard part is detaching all the bad experiences tied to previously being vulnerable with the wrong people. These relationships changed our thought process about love. It's amazing how all of our previous interactions affect how we love people today...

 

Here are things I know to be true about myself before ever falling in love:

1.) I was giver...

My father who continuously gave to our family taught me how to treat a woman through his actions towards my mother. I was taught to be generous to a woman because they are God's gift to man and should be treated as such. A woman should feel special when she's in my presence and nothing less than that. 

In Love:

I listened to my father's words and applied them to relational situations. The difficulty of being a giver is that it leaves you open to being taken advantage of when you give to the wrong people...

After the Love was gone:

I no longer want to be a giver after giving too much of myself and being taken for granted. 

 

2.) I was private/protective...

Sometime in the last 10 years or so it became popular for people to share everything about their entire life with the world. I'll never be down with that movement especially when it deals with my love life. For me, privacy is protection and whom I love is sacred. I'm okay with my family and close friends knowing about my love life but it's not to be displayed as show and tell for the rest of the world.

In Love:

This characteristic has given me the most trouble over the years because as a musician I share content on social media pertaining to my career but not too much pertaining to my personal life. On top of that I'm not big on everyone minding my business. Previously this has made her feel hidden or not claimed by me...

After the Love was gone:

I questioned whether I should've conformed to the ways of the world to make her happy...  

 

3.) I was a dreamer

The only way I won't reach what I believe I was created to accomplish in my lifetime is if God removes me from this earth. I'm aware of my purpose and operate in it daily. I LOVE WHAT I DO FOR A LIVING! As a musician/entrepreneur my brain is constantly moving and thinking of innovative ways to share my gift with the world in a way that is beneficial to people. I believe everyone should follow their dreams as that is the key to happiness...I do that every day and work hard to attain my BIG dreams! 

In Love: 

This characteristic has always been attractive...until it's not! It becomes unattractive when she feels I love my dream more than I love her. 

After the Love was gone: 

I always wonder why they couldn't see that my love for them and my love for my purpose aren't in competition. Operating in my purpose actually makes me a better person for them. I questioned if I should spend less time on my dream...

 

4.) I was a musician

I've loved and pursued music since I was a child and had no clue it would take me to the places I've been. Creating, writing and performing music is a job and responsibility I take seriously...from what I say on records to what I do on and off the stages around the world. Unfortunately, there are many stigmas tied to being musician.

In Love: 

There's plenty of attention from outsiders when it comes to performing live and through interacting on social media. While some take advantage of the attention, that's never been my style...but if she doesn't recognize that talking to fans responsibly is part of the job than trouble is at our door. I think the thing that was always interesting is I could be out here getting it in with groupies but I don't! So whenever trust was an issue it was frustrating... 

After the Love was gone: 

I felt like...I'm a musician and that's not going to change...

 

5.) I was a social introvert

As a musician, I'm constantly interacting with band mates, other musicians, managers, creative teams, directors, fans etc. Yes I'm social...BUT...people drain me!!!

I love time alone...that doesn't mean that I like to be alone all the time. It means that sometimes I just need a minute, hour, day or two...with my thoughts and myself. The time needed alone depends on how long I've been interacting with people. It's no offense to my significant other or anyone else...it's just what I need.  

In Love: 

MAN! Talk about offended! They took it personal...which was my fault because at the time I didn't know I was introverted but I knew I needed some space and couldn't explain it.

After the Love was gone:  

I questioned if something was wrong with me. How do you explain needing a day or two alone after being gone on tour for a month and a half? 

 

After the love was gone I questioned the five things that were a part of me before love existed...

I'm still all five of these things! 

This is who I am...

And I had to learn to accept myself! 

And accept that who I am isn't for everyone to love...It's for the right person to accept and love!

When I really internalized that...I eliminated feelings of insecurities, rejection, and not feeling good enough. Deeper than that, taking the time to learn and accept myself allows me to present a clear representation of who I am to someone who is truly interested in getting to know me. 

 

Who were you before you fell in love?

I think you should get re-acquainted with that person!

What we make of our previous love relationships is up to us, but I recommend that we focus on how magical the great moments were. All the smiles, laughter, euphoria, and moments that nobody can steal from us. It didn't work out between you and them but the memories did because they will live forever. You made your mistakes and so did they but you both have each day to work on being better for the person who is right for all of your quirks, imperfections, and characteristics. 

Take the time to reflect on the good parts of your past relationships. I am thankful for every woman that I fell in love with. More than that, I'm thankful for the experience of falling in love and being vulnerable and trying my best while I was in that space. 

Lastly, never let a love situation gone wrong stop you from being what you were designed to be. Don't abandon the great traits that previous lovers couldn't appreciate. Those traits are needed to design the world you were created to build with someone else. I'm not saying it's easy, but I am saying that that special part of you is the secret ingredient that your true lover needs...

I don't have all the answers...

These are just my thoughts...

We're all trying to figure out this love thing...

Lord knows I am...

 

Signed,

Aaron "Ab" Abernathy

 

P.S. Don't be afraid to give everything that went wrong with the wrong person...to the right person!

 

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Creative Mornings @ NPR's Tiny Desk

I love it how things come together when you're helping someone and they help you and are unaware of it. About two weeks ago I found myself in my friend Muhsinah's studio helping her put the track listing together for her phenomenal new album that I can't wait for the world to hear. In the midst of talking and brainstorming ideas for her project she mentioned that she was suppose to go to the Creative Mornings DC chapters anniversary party at Gibson Guitar Lounge but she missed it because we got caught up in creating ourselves. I had never heard of Creative Mornings so I asked her about it and she showed me the website....I thought to myself...How did I not know about this amazing world-wide organization!

As soon as I got home I went to the Creative Mornings website and noticed there was an event being held by the DC chapter the following week at NPR. I researched the speaker (Bob Boilen) and discovered he was behind NPR's Tiny Desk Concert Series that I recently became acquainted with when a friend sent me The Robert Glasper Experiment's performance as a part of the series. Of course I researched more to discover that my alma maters (Howard University) premier Jazz vocal group performed as a part of the series right before Robert Glasper. At this point I was pretty excited and very interested in hearing what Bob Boilen had to say especially because he is a musician like myself and has worked at NPR for 20+ years and has implemented his passions to NPR's legacy. So I was ready to register for the event but I couldn't until Mon. morning at 11AM. I set my clock for that time so I wouldn't miss it.....and at 11AM I registered and made the cut for an event that sold out in 6 minutes...

 

Fast forward to last Friday Morning and I found myself standing in front of Bob Boilen's Tiny Desk that was set up for a concert. 

Bob Boilen welcomed all 100+ of us to his desk and discussed his musical journey that landed him at NPR. His lecture was in line with Creative Mornings "Hidden" theme for the month. He touched on how people saw talent in him that he couldn't see. When he was in his band "Tiny Desk Unit," the owner of the studio they recorded at gave him the keys to the studio and told him he could use it after hours anytime he pleased but he had to learn how to use the equipment on his own. Later he was asked to composed music for Baltimore's "Impossible Theater" and found himself in the same studio he was granted access to...figuring out how to put all the pieces together to compose music for this theater...while wondering what these people saw in him to put such incredible tasks and responsibility in his hands.  He stressed how important it is to see the talents that are hidden in people we interact with and being the catalyst to bring those talents out of them. People saw talent in him and making him aware of those talents have taken him places and put him in positions to help others.   

His lecture reminded me of how much talent we are all surrounded by and how important it is that we motivate each other to chase after our dreams and don't take our talents lightly. If you know someone who has talent...challenge them to step into that talent because it's tied to their purpose to contribute to humanity. I left this talk motivated to reach out to my friend who I'm slated to produce an EP for this summer and I'm excited!!! EXCITED because this is an incredible artist and her music needs to be heard...her story needs to be shared...and I want to help cultivate that talent that is hidden.

 

After Bob Boilen's lecture, we were treated to a Tiny Desk Concert featuring Margot MacDonald.

Her performance was great!!! Accompanied by her new loop pedal (that someone in the crowd said she should name Lupita), her guitar, a bass player on one selection, and her sweet vocals,  Margot's voice won me over. Make sure you check her out at www.margotmacdonald.com. In addition please do yourself a favor and check out NPR's Tiny Desk concert series live from Bob Boilen's desk HERE....And if creative mornings is in your city...do yourself a favor and check them out HERE.

   

 

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The Meeting of The C's

There was an elderly man from Denmark who moved to America and married. In his latter years something happened to his health and he was not able to converse normally. He could only grunt for the last 10 to 15 years of his life. One day while sitting with his wife at the kitchen table he leaned over to her and said in a normal speaking voice: “You know, It wasn’t suppose to be like this,” and then he went back to grunting until he took his last breath. 

It is clear we’re not in control of what is to be…….

I recall being invited to play a set at The National Society of Black Engineers Conference in 2007 from one of my brothers good friends Mario. Me and my band traveled from DC to Columbus, Ohio, and got the job done. Fast forward to August of 2010 at my brothers wedding in Portland, Oregon, where my brother introduces me to his good friend “Church.” I told him it was a pleasure to meet him and started to walk away when my brother informed me that Church aka Mario is his friend who put together the introduction to get me invited to play at the National Society of Black Engineers Conference a few years back. I expressed how grateful I was for his kindness and I began to have a casual conversation with Church and his wife. That entire weekend we all hung out and celebrated the union of my brother and his wife. It was an incredible weekend. The best wedding I’ve been to in my life!

Two summers ago my brother told me he received a phone call from Church’s wife asking him to come down to San Diego ASAP because Church was sick. My brother arrived in San Diego to find his friend in a hospice unable to speak or breath on his own. 

Cancer………

My brother spent the day speaking to Church sharing memories and praying……..

No vocal response from Church, just an occasional grunt….

My brother woke up the next morning to a phone call from Church’s wife saying he was gone … ….....

Church had a wife, a toddler, and a new born baby … … .

It wasn’t suppose to be that way...

You never know when what you love may be taken away from you … …

We’re not in control of what is to be … … 

I was riding to L.A. Fitness with my sister the one day. She just happens to be one of my favorite people in the world. I began to ask her an array of questions about the people she has dated in her past ….

I asked her to think of everyone she has dated … …

Then I said, “God forbid anything were to happen to you like you lose your sight, end up in a wheelchair, lose your ability to converse, or even not be able to have sex for the rest of your life because of an accident (EXTREME but it has happened) … … …

Out of those candidates you’ve dated, who do you think would stick it out with you for better or worse in a marriage?”

Her answer … …

NOBODY

NO ONE

They don’t have the character to do so … …

CHARACTER

Character : the complex of mental and ethical traits marking and often individualizing a person 

Their mentality and ethical traits aren’t at a level to take on  ”for better or for worse … . 

Til death do us part … . .”

Is it because better is always expected?

Worse is never expected … .

Cause

That can’t happen to you…..right?

What me and my sister were having was a real conversation about the road to marriage.

You know the conversation that goes passed the cute stuff like the wedding cake and colors, how many children you want, their names, where we’re gonna live, the amount of money we expect to make together, ect ….

Sometimes we need a Character check to find out where we are ….

You don’t know the measure of a man or woman until something real happens.

That’s when your character is tested … …

That’s what separates the men and women from the boys and girls … … 

I remember Sis. Thomas from the church I attended in Cleveland growing up.

I remember her being in a wheelchair.

I remember her husband always being behind her pushing that wheelchair.

I recently saw a picture of the two of them via Bro. Thomas’ Facebook page.

I saw her in a wheelchair and him standing behind her in the wheelchair.

They both wore golden smiles … …

It seems his character was built for “for better or worse.”

CHARACTER


What a powerful thing in all aspects of its existence. No matter what type of character you have, it has power because it speaks in volumes if you choose to listen. It can only be hidden for a short period of time. It has no choice but to reveal itself in a permanent situation cause no one can hide from the mirror of marriage.

I’m uncertain of what happen to Sis. Thomas to place her in a wheelchair but I don’t think it was always like this. Her son is my age and I remember her having a daughter that was younger than us.  Whatever happened resulted in her being in a wheelchair for the rest of her life. How do you handle that news? How does one embrace this type of change?  That change you have no control over…….That same change that is changing your life forever. Sis. Thomas had no control over the situation.

Bro. Thomas had control over something though…….this has changed his life as well but he had control over whether he embraced the change or left.

COMMITMENT 

Commitment: something pledged

Bro. Thomas made a commitment to Sis. Thomas of “for better or worse, til death do them part.” On the day he pledged to honor this commitment neither of them knew the “worse” they would face. We have all seen different types of “worse” in our world today and have watched them shake the core of numerous commitments leaving them severed with casualties of war in the aftermath.

People leave because of “worse” 

They didn’t sign up for worse……..and worse isn’t fair!

Bro. Thomas didn’t sign up for this……well…….He did…….

It’s just that “worse” is the undiscussed clause of the commitment cause we hope to never see it.

So let’s say you’re dating and you feel like you’ve met someone you’re really interested in. The honeymoon phase is promising as always but as you continue on the journey you began to notice their reaction to minor things seems a bit over the top. Something small can throw their day off or if things don’t go their way it’s a problem. Life isn’t treating them fairly…..and they feel it shouldn’t be like this….It’s about them….These things are part of their character.

Well is it fair to say that our character has a big influence on major commitments like marriage? 

Would you expect someone like your date to stay or flee in a situation like the Thomas family’s situation?

If minor things throw you off what would you do with a situation like Bro. Thomas’…..

I believe Bro. Thomas choice to stay fully committed had a lot to do with his character. I don’t know off hand but I’m sure his character could handle small problems so when it came to the “worse” he faced in his marriage, although very challenging, his CHARACTER sustained his COMMITMENT to his wife in an un-ideal lifetime situation.

Character is the foundation of who we are and there is no denying that our will to Commit to someone for better or God forbid “the unfortunate worse” is somewhere within who we truly are.

Character and Commitment are twins that know each other very well. They often expose each other in situations like the Thomas Family’s.

We’ll never be in control of what is to be……

You will always be in control of your Character…..your Commitments….

So

Honestly … …

How is your character?

&

Based on the character of people you’ve dated, who do you think would stick it out with you God forbid the unfortunate “worse” was to happen within your marriage?

Could you take on that worse and stick it out?

Things to think about……

 

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