This was originally posted on the Huffington Post on December 5, 2016.
I’m a young widow.
The word stinks, but it’s honestly the best way to simply describe my situation.
Everything is so confusing now. My brain can’t comprehend the tense I’m living in.
but I am..
even though I wish I wasn’t.
During my recent pilgrimage to India to visit a town full of thousands of widows, I sported a homemade sweatshirt with the words “Still His” displayed across my chest.
Most loved it, however, a few were saddened by their interpretation.
They viewed me as turning in my strong, independent woman card for one tied to bondage and repression. “I belong to no man.” Yet, to me I couldn’t understand how they couldn’t see how that sentiment clearly applies to me– more than them– now.
I do understand how it’s difficult to see.
As a comedian reminded me a few weeks ago, “when you know your why, your what has more impact.”
Sharing the phrase “Still His” is to comfort those who know a void that can never be filled. It’s to help those who long for love from a spouse who can no longer hug you, kiss you, hold you & support you from within the rudimentary confines of this world.
The “what” is providing a simple vessel for the heartbroken to share that message.
In the past, when people told me I wasn’t good enough, I fought back. I won awards and respect.
I am a black, Christian woman living within a world full of hate for all three. Yet despite that, I still rise.
And in the midst of this tragedy I choose to take another stand. I choose to celebrate the thing that makes me human, the thing that makes me want to live: love.
I will own the great love my man shared with me.
My Rasheed forced me to say the keynote speech when I was so nervous I nearly vomited in the car minutes before we arrived at the dinner. He moved across the country when I got the new jobs. He encouraged me to have the tough talks with my bosses. He stood by my side day in & day out, and I by his. We made one another better, stronger.
The desire to be independent is a luxury I no longer have. It’s my life. I’m now forced to scream, yell, fight and love — without him by my side.
And he’s forced to cheer me on from the sidelines of life. Our reality is unreal.
While my faith is tested on an hourly basis these days, I am grateful for the love I still have around me and the support that allows me to crawl when I desperately want to hide in the corner. I suppose things are working together for my good; even if it doesn’t feel good. I’m slowly able to admit that today.
I and the widows mentioned in John 1:27 stand with our angelic spouses in our corners. For me, it’s a connection that gives me the strength to try to make it through another day. It is strength gained from my man and from my Lord. And trust me, this widow walk requires both.
That connection is also the only place of peace I now have; living within the bond where he was my man and I was still his girl.