In the past two weeks, God has shown me how blessed I am. I know that there are many instances in life that we take for granted but I want to walk you all through this story about a family member with the hopes of sharing how blessed you are to be where you are right now.
I had a cousin (2nd cousin) who had to stay with me for a week and his situation made me thank God for having me right where I am. Without sharing too many details of his personal life, I can just paint a picture that I hope allows you to understand this situation. Like so many people in the world, when he was born one of his parents realized they were too young or not prepared to be a parent and decided that they could not do it. As you may have thought, it was the father - but not in his case. To this day, he has never seen or spoken to his mom. So as a young child, his dad (my cousin) moved out of state with the hopes of starting over and giving him a better life. For several reasons we lost touch with them and it wasn’t until another tragedy struck that contact was made again. His father (my cousin) was murdered in late 2018, for simply nothing. Of course, his family in NC was contacted and the connection was made again. After hosting a memorial service for him in NC, my cousin decided to move back to be closer to the family - since his dad side was all he knew.
Upon him moving down here, reality must’ve hit hard. Things weren’t going to be as easy as he might have pictured. He had to get up and make a way for himself in a new state, basically starting over. Without any higher education or technical skills, the past few months have been trying on him. For most of 2019, he’s lived with several family members with the hopes of him saving his money and being able to stand on his own two feet. Unfortunately, that plan has not been fulfilled yet and I was one of the last options for him.
For a week, I took him to places to find temporary job placement, picked him up, looked for housing options with him, gave him hard talks, talks that I could tell have never happened before, encouraged him, and gave him so much needed family history. I explained to him that none of us have had a perfect life like I think he assumed. I explained just my story of my parent's life of drugs, alcohol, living with family members growing up (heck, I went to 5 elementary schools, one school I enrolled twice because of it), working my butt off to get to where I am and to have what I have. All that to say was that I hit him at an angle that I’m sure was not expressed before. We’re essentially peers (although I am older) and I expressed to him things from my perspective. Not an older aunt, not a grandma, not a friend - but someone who is close to his age and can understand today’s struggle.
In that week I helped him accomplish several things, some small and some pretty impactful. I was also helpful in sharing some light on family history and help to motivate him to do better because that’s what his deceased Father and Grandmother would have wanted. But in that week, he helped me too. He helped me appreciate the fact that both of my parents are alive and I have a relationship with them. My mother and I have worked hard over the past few years to develop even the smallest relationship and I’m happy that I can continue to build that. He made me appreciate the simple things that we often take for granted. Having people in my corner to push me growing up to ensure I had a great foundation (thanks Tesh, Aunt Brigette, & Granny). This situation made me appreciate my job because it enabled me to be able to purchase things like my house, car, and even a phone (which he didn’t have). I can go on and on about the moments where I stopped and said “thank you God for blessing me” but at this point, I’m sure you all get the picture.
There are a million and one reasons for us to complain. A thousand things that we wished we had or could get. Hundreds of people that we may want to trade places with, but I am here to tell you that things can always be worse. Those seven days made me appreciate the small things in life that I didn't even consider to be impactful. I hope that this story has helped you realize those things in your life and make you appreciate things a little different.
Love, Brown Girl
When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around" - Willie Nelson