A Web Portal For Lesbians Of Color

You Are Not Alone

A.D. Odom

If I have not removed the sack cloth or washed the ashes from my face, I know this will happen soon.  I can feel the release.  It is hard when you lose your best and only friend.  The pain of such a loss is felt even more strongly when you’ve watched that friend leave you.  The moment you watch a dear friend’s spiritual departure brings you closer in awareness to the precious gift of life and the finality of death.  I understood, in that moment, the magnitude of the physical in both birth and death.  In this past month of mourning, I have experienced there truly is no such thing as death.  Sans the shedding of the physical body, the soul lives on forever.

I owe a great debt of gratitude to Christine Adams Tripp, J.D., for her physical and spiritual presence in my life.  You have brought to me the reality of what I always felt to be true.  Thank you.  I will hold this truth and the essence of you that lives with me for as long as I live, until we meet again. 

The morning of Christine’s death, I returned home and sat in the darkness of my office and listened to the CD I made for Christine.  For whatever reason, I noticed my old Dictaphone Voice Processor, which I’ve not used in almost two years, still sitting on my desk.  I have since bought a new handheld voice processor to record dreams and thoughts on tapes that would enable me to utilize another transcription machine.  This Dictaphone machine had a tape in it of a dream I recorded two years prior – I never filed this tape away with others filed before and since that date.  This dream foretold events that were to happen two years later. 

In the dream, Christine was packing her bags to leave.  In the bed adjacent to Christine’s was a friend of hers still laying in bed with the sheets over her head – she appeared depressed.  A little boy was in the room trying to cheer this woman but she was not responding to his numerous attempts to bring her cheer.  A wonderful, earthy woman, no one else seemed to know except Christine, came to say goodbye.  And, for the first time since I’ve known Christine, I realized we were not sharing the same room and we did not leave together on the same transport (what I called it in the dream).  This dream not only foretold Christine’s departure, who I would meet and what I would see, it also foretold what I would be doing after her departure. 

Through various dustings, reorganizations, cleanings and filings, this machine sat unnoticed, on my desk, for two years.  I never put it away, I never filed the tape, and I never transcribed the tape.  I checked my journals, the transcription of this and other dreams on this tape are not there.  Amazing?  Not really.

We all have a purpose.  We came into the world with that purpose fully in mind.  We understand these choices while still spiritual beings.  Our task is to remember our purpose when we take on the heavy and awkward bodies we occupy when we enter this world.  Lessons learned, however great or small, painless or painful are meant to either fortify us on the path to our purpose or turn us from one path in order to return to the path of our purpose.  And, through it all, we still maintain a freedom to make choices. 

I think it was Thomas Moore who said we are unable to see how well we’ve weaved our baskets (our lives) until our souls are in that place where we can see the big picture of our lives.  Then, we’ll see and know when we were on track by the beautifully weaved pattern of our basket, we will also see when we went off track by the holes. 

Ahh, what a beautiful gift, this gift of life.  As spiritual beings occupying a body, we can hug, we can hold, we can touch, we can say “I love you” and know someone has heard.  As a spiritual being, you can touch, you can hold, you can say “I love you,” but if the object of your love does not acknowledge your presence, they won’t notice.  Death does not mean the person is now somehow absent from your life.  No.  You knew a soul that occupied a body and you initially fell in love with their laughter, the intonations of their voice, their movements, and their quick wit.  In actuality, it was their soul that made everything you loved happen.  It is the soul that remains after the body has outlived its usefulness.  You are and never will be alone unless you choose not to acknowledge their presence in your life.  Accept the inheritance of their presence in your life.  The gift they give now is priceless.  No material thing will fill the void of their loss.  You will, however, want for nothing, because they will forever be with you.

A case in point, every time I went to Christine’s house and found her upstairs in her bedroom, she would call out “there’s a burglar in my house coming to ravage my body!”  As I climbed the stairs, in my best burglar voice I’d say “yes, I’m here to ravage your body and beat your be-hind.”  By the time I got to the top of the steps she’d say “oooooh, really, now that’s what I’m talking about.”  In the months before her death, she and I continued this little banter with one additional phrase, “it’s just you and me babe, let’s do this.”  This little phrase was added because we were on our way to one of the Kaiser facilities for something.  Two Fridays ago, I was going upstairs to turn off a light when I remembered our little banter.  This time though, as I turned off the lights and headed down the stairs I thought to myself, “well, it's just me now babe.”  As I got in my car and started the engine a song was perfectly cued on KOST for me to hear.  The acoustics in my car, at that particular moment, was beautiful and I pulled out of the driveway cruising thinking how beautiful the melody was.  I didn’t notice the words or the song until it was appropriate for me to hear them.  I had gotten a block or two away and then I heard “you are not alone, I am here with you.  Though you’re far away, I am here to stay.  You are not alone, I am here with you.  Though we’re far apart, you’re always in my heart.  You are not alone.” 

The Lesson of Caleb

Caleb did not subscribe to the negative thoughts of the men who went with him to spy out the "Promised Land."  He believed God was taking them somewhere beautiful and once there, he realized God's promise was a good one.  However, when Caleb and Joshua returned to camp with the other men who went with them, the other men talked about the giants they saw.  They had the people believing God was setting them up to be killed by these giants and the people became fearful.  Caleb stood up and said no, the land is good and "if we go now and if God is with us, we'll conquer them."  The people thought both Caleb and Joshua were crazy and sought to kill them.  Picking up stones, they attempted to stone both Caleb and Joshua.  But God, always on time, appeared over the Arch of the Covenant and stopped this little disturbance.  Through Moses, God promised Caleb, because he believed and had faith, he would have the land his feet walked across. 

Joshua 14:6 -- Caleb inherits the hill country.

At 85 years of age, Caleb and Joshua have entered the "Promised Land."  After 40 years of waiting for the negative energy to die off and the birth of a new generation before entering the "Promised Land," Caleb walks up to Joshua and reminds him of the incident 40 years prior.  Then, he demands from Joshua to give him the land his feet walked across and he repeats the same phrase he repeated 40 years prior "If I go now, and if God is with me, I will conquer them and drive them out of the land."  He did.

The equation for my life has been:  If I   +   If God   =   I CAN!  or  I WILL!

I met Caleb in the form of Christine Adams Tripp.  Her motto was, she neither had the time nor the luxury of a negative thought.  She left them in the desert.  Accept the inheritance of Christine Adams Tripp, be careful of your negative thoughts, they may be inhibiting your greatest potential.