Check on Me

As I sit here in this office, I think about life over the past few months — the injustice, heartache, death, sickness, and everything in-between.  I’m no longer on Facebook because I just never wanted to be on Facebook.  I started my Facebook page because I was told that it would be best to start one since I had a blog.  However, I feel so liberated without social media.  I haven’t posted on my blog in 2 ½ years because I have just been busy with life.   Why am I writing now?  Because writing is my therapy, and trust me, I need an outlet now more than ever.

I’ve always been a strong person and persevered through the most trying times, but this is different.  On March 30, 2020, I began a new job.  This job is challenging, and at times, overwhelming.  The average new hire learns this job by literally looking over the shoulder of a co-worker, heading into meetings with superiors, and learning the systems with a mentor.  However, I was learning a totally new job over the phone with two kids running around in the background.  

The team that I began working with had just begun working from home a week prior to me coming onboard. This was hard for me and my family.  Matt still had to go to work every day, so I was home alone with the kids while learning a new job and teaching second grade and Pre-K.  I was tired, overwhelmed, and frustrated.

In June 2020, I lost my Uncle Essie to COVID. We shared the same birthday, and he was a joy to be around.  I remember going to visit him in California when I was a little girl.  He always made everybody laugh, and he was extremely close to my dad.  He travelled to Mississippi every Memorial Day and stayed with my dad for the entire month of June.  He had done this every year since Mom passed so that dad would not be alone during the month of June.  He was 76, and my dad is 75, so they had been close since they were kids.  I loved seeing them together.  They were like kids with no thoughts of the chaos around them. They were carefree and let nothing worry them, and then there was COVID.  His death was rough on my family.  Not only had Uncle Essie passed away in the same month as my mother, who passed away 8 years ago, but he passed away during the month that he usually spent with my father.  “If only he had been with Dad,” I thought.  

During this entire ordeal, I could not hug my dad or be there for him.  All I could do was call him and pray for him.  I won’t be able to see my dad for Thanksgiving or Christmas, and I don’t know when I’ll see him again. Through it all, I’m grateful for the people who have called to check on me, because now (more than ever), we need to check on each other.  We need to send that text or make that call and find out if our friends and family are okay.  And you know what?  It’s okay to not be okay.  We often walk around looking happy and strong.

But inside, this is how we really feel — tired and overwhelmed.

This is what gets us into so much trouble — thinking that we are supposed to take on the world.  

No, we’re not supposed to take on the world.  We’re supposed to take care of ourselves, rest, and surround ourselves with people who are genuine, encouraging, and want what is best for us.  We’re supposed to say, “No,” when we cannot or should not take on something new.  We need to do what is best for us and not what is best for everyone else.  When you do what is best for yourself, you can help those around you.  Until then, you are working against yourself and will always feel hopeless, tired, and confused.  

We’re living in a crazy world where racism has boldly lifted its ugly head and human life is no longer sacred.  Racism is fear — fear that another race is getting ahead of your race, accomplishing more than you, stronger than you, and wiser than you.  So, if you hate another race, look deep within yourself and shine the light on your insecurities.  What God has for you is for you.  You don’t have to fear me because you literally fear me and what I have become.  I have become greatness, and for some, that makes them fearful.  This world is crazy.  You had better find something firm to stand on, because if you don’t, you won’t be able to stand.  

Check on your people, because we need it, and take care of yourselves because somebody is depending on you. Check on your friends, especially those that you think are so strong.  They need encouragement too.  Check on your family, especially those that you haven’t spoken to in a long time. Life is uncertain.  Nobody knows what tomorrow will bring.    

Shayla Jay

Shayla Jay


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