Light is supposed to be the element of considerable speed. It can expose, enlighten and conform to any shape. The one thing it can do, that it should always do is expose the things which are important.
Someone dear to me said something poignant while going through a rough patch with his wife. His wife suggested counseling, wanting to save their relationship. When he finally agreed, he asked she find a therapist whom was Black. Why? He said, “I need someone that understands the plight of Black love.”
That phrase, ‘the plight of Black love’, stuck with me. It made me think what that plight is. Since my husband is Black, this plight, as he called it I began to examine. The plight that I could see value.
The culture as it stands does not value women, let alone Black women. A healthy, viable relationship doesn’t seen possible. Having, maintaining a healthy relationship between a Black woman and man that is based on mutual respect doesn’t seem possible. It is not visible! They are not as treasured. It seems as the fact these two people, of a population already marginalized people, have found each other–have to fight harder to stay together.
But the light, is what I want you to know about. These relationships exist. There are people of color, Black people with viable, healthy beautiful relationships. Complete without VH-1 scandals or ignorant Facebook posts or sick chicks. These relationships don’t get enough shine. They don’t get enough light.
The world doesn’t see enough of US, being marvelous and as Ossie Davis said, ‘honoring the divinity in each other.’ He also said, “I love you means I want what’s best for you, whether it benefits me or not.’
The Obamas have been together over twenty years. Had my father lived, my parents would have been together 40 years. My godmother’s relationship lasted over thirty–lasting Black love is not just a societal fetish or imagination. It happens. Everyday. And it is the steady showing of what love is, what it looks like, what it gives–everyday—that let’s me know relationships exist.
Through these examples, I saw that love requires you to value the other person. You must be willing to think of them, treasure them and how your decisions (or indecision) will effect them. Seeing my father look at my mother, let me know as a little Black girl that a Black man could love me as well. Think I was beautiful and be willing to protect me. When I saw my mother look at my father before he made her laugh. Or when he brought her flowers, I saw how considerate Black man could be–and how I was worthy of that.
What I saw, was Black love works. That home should be a place where that light has be to be sustained to go into the world and focus it in order to share it with other people.
From my parents’s marriage, I learned that you don’t quit when it gets hard. You adapt. You ask questions. And sometimes you fight. But you get through it, because the world is counting on you to lose because being Black and broken is the expectation. It is the light, that inner knowledge of self and value, and keep you going. That keeps you reminding you of what is important…that light is what the world needs more of.