Tonight is a big night for Empire fans. The wait is over and the Empire Season 2 Premiere is here! All eyes will be on Cookie Lyon to see what fierce outfit she will be wearing and what quick, witty one-liner she will be saying. Although I will be watching when it airs, I have my DVR set so I can watch it again. I love me some Cookie.
I am Cookie's daughter....
That's right, Cookie is my mother.
Now, the world may be familiar with the character Taraji P. Henson plays on Empire but I am extremely familiar with Carol, the lady who brought me into this world, otherwise known as, Cookie. Just like the character on tv, Mama Cookie has always had an eccentric eye for fashion and a razor-sharp tongue. As a child, I would admire her petite stature, enticing smile, and Diana Ross-like eyes. Like a lot of children, I thought my mother was the most beautiful woman in the world. In the meantime, although Cookie gave birth to me, Cookie did not raise me. I was raised by my great-grandparents (more about them in future blogs). Therefore, Cookie and I had a very strained relationship. We struggled with how we fit into each other's lives during her yearly visits.
When I was around two years old, Cookie moved away in an effort to work and provide for herself and her toddler. As a young, single parent without a high school diploma, she struggled with stability. She left me with her grandparents. After some time away, she returned in hopes of taking me with her since she now had a steady job. Meanwhile, her grandparents saw things differently and decided they could provide the nurturing and loving environment I needed. They were right. My great-grandparents are the best thing that ever happened to me. I will forever be grateful to them for the sacrifices they made by showing me the greatest example of strength, determination, wisdom, and courage.
The path to forgiveness is often a steep and slippery slope. But I am a witness to the power of God making crooked paths straight (Isaiah 45:2). For most of my life, I've held resentment against Cookie for not being there for me. In the past, each time we tried to have a conversation about it, she would get defensive and I would shut down. Her tongue was still sharp. I didn't like confrontation. This pattern of dysfunction carried on for years, until May 2015. We were both older, wiser, and time had softened the once tough Cookie. Finally, we were able to have that hard honest conversation and finally we were able to hear and understand the perspective of the other person. Tears flowed and after our talk was over, I cried more. But with each tear I felt like a weight had been lifted. Immediately, I felt free from the burden of abandonment, guilt, and shame. I felt free to love, to laugh, and to express myself in an undeniable way. I felt free to move forward because I was free to forgive!
I can't erase the past, and I refuse to carry bags that are not even mine to carry. But I can embrace the love-light of forgiveness and bask in the glow of all that is good that God has in store for me. I love Cookie. And I know that Cookie loves me!
How are you moving forward on the path to forgiveness?