A July Photo Diary

By: Gabriela Yareliz

Warm New York summer rain threatens my unspoken plan.

The rain is soft and glittery. It should be bottled up and sold as perfume.

It paints the sky grey and paints us wet.

In my search of the skyline for a perfect rooftop, I spot the flamingo tree. It’s sassy in its performance and color. Subtle, unassuming, with a hint of panache.

I pass Pig Beach, and fortunately for them, I am a vegetarian. A wedding dances on nearby, in a glowing room, with a couple of antisocial guests standing out in the rain. I can hear their silent prayers begging God to go unnoticed. As the guests plan their exit strategy—

I find a bathroom outside with a tree in a tub and a sink with some shrubs.

I pass a car that can take me to another time. It’s locked.

I find some fish whose time has expired. They are out in the open. I wonder if they were friends.

And then, as the sky turns orange, I find the view. There’s nothing like getting lost to find something better than what you were looking for.

As I wander, I find my little friends have found a rooftop of their own.

The rain over the city has gone, and now all that is left is the breeze over the Gowanus.

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Delilah #LoveSomeone

By: Gabriela Yareliz

Delilah. She loves people’s stories, and so do I. Stories are my drug, and she is my enabler. It has always been like that.

She gives sage advice, and sometimes, just a listening ear who comforts. For those of you who have been reading my writing for years, you have seen her mentioned in many a blog post. She became a regular on my “Reflections Before Bedtime”: (how we can learn from other people’s loss, tragedy and praying for others, when she played “I can dream about you,” when she made the list of things that make me, me; lonely nights dreaming of romance, when my childhood friend chose me to be maid of honor and Michael Bublé came on, and when God gives us wings to fly, to name a few…).

Today, I met Delilah. Yes, the radio queen. I am listening to Delilah, as I write this. My boyfriend and I heard she would be hosting Broadway in the Park, and we were freaking out. We had to meet her. At first, I wasn’t sure I would be able to make it because of my court schedule. But somehow, God worked it out. I finished my case early, and I was able to go. What a gift.

We spotted her, and there she was. She was talking to a young woman. She prayed for her, and told her to write to her. Personal, as always. Warm, as only she can be.

She was so sweet. I told her I have listened to her since I was a child. I remember being in the car (I spent a lot of time in a car, as a kid– we moved and traveled, a lot). I would look out at the dark road and listen to her. Anywhere I went, she was always a part of my life. I would listen to her on my commutes home from college. In law school, I would listen to her on the iHeart Radio app at 1 am, while I worked on my readings or clinic work. She has forever been my company. Living alone is difficult. Her voice has kept me company on more evenings than I can count. A trusted friend.

Now, my boyfriend listens to her as he drives. We often catch a call or two together. We laugh, smile, comment, and sometimes, we just sit in silence (while I quietly blink back tears).

Today, she signed a photo of her for us. I told her we had come to just see her, as the true nerd I am. (Who cares about Broadway? Just kidding.) She drew a sparkler on my hand and asked my boyfriend when that was coming. (Hilarious).

Delilah is a beautiful person because she inspires. She is a woman of faith who speaks light, life, love and hope. I am grateful that she has used her talent and soul to bless others, like me.

Thank you, Delilah for being such a beautiful and strong person.

But, before I end this, I should share why her show and who she is means so much to me. She has gone through so much, but she believes so strongly in God and in love.

I haven’t exactly seen the “ideal” when it comes to romantic love, in my life. I come from a broken home that has faced and overcome a lot of adversity. No matter what life threw my way, or how jaded, sometimes cynical or angry I would get at times, her show melted me. Those calls, they always fed this flame inside of me. What flame? The flame that told me that incredible, faithful and lasting love is real. Every time I heard those older people call in to talk about how they had been married for more than 40 years and were still so in love, I knew it was real.

“Those calls, they always fed this flame inside of me.”

A voice inside of me always said, that love is real. My hard heart would melt, and I would look out at the dark night, and think, “I want a love like that.”

It was special to meet this woman who kept that belief alive in me, with the man I love. Here is to hoping that someday, years from now, we will be the ones who call her show. We’ll talk about how we have been married for years and how we used to listen to her while we were dating. I’ll tell her about how God blessed me with this man, and I’ll tell her, “You were right, Delilah, the most magical thing we can do in this life is love someone.”

“You were right, Delilah, the most magical thing we can do in this life is love someone.”

When it Works

“It’s better for all of us to have disappointments in love, in profession, in friendships, in business; I just think everything means more, it means more when it works.” Sarah Jessica Parker on the Goop podcast

Love Goes Deep

A lot of Christians out there say they have given up on the concept of the church. But what does that mean? They haven’t given up on the building and chairs. They are saying they have given up on people. People are flawed, and they will disappoint you. No matter what your personality type is, you have been created to be in community. You can’t be a follower of Jesus and not believe in the church that He gave His life for. He didn’t give up on us, therefore, we shouldn’t give up on each other.

Some people withdraw from others because they feel they have been rejected by the world, and they want to reject it back, to avoid the pain. But we are called to come together (as imperfect as we all may be) and to love. A man who has multiple women, one after the other, calls himself a good lover. But he is wrong. I have been married for 30 years to the same woman. I am a good lover. You see, love stays. Love goes deep.

Paraphrase from Erwin McManus, Message: Staying Power

Show up. Stay. Go deep.

On Hold

By: Gabriela Yareliz

I just walked by a hot, steamy pile of trash this morning. If there is a perfect way to start a New York Monday, that’s it. On the bright side, I barely missed a pigeon dropping, right in front of me, and the train pulled right into the station, when I walked down the stairs.

New York. I have had a lot on my mind, lately. Just like this city, my mind doesn’t sleep. But this time, I have been thinking a lot about how many times we live life “on hold.”

You know, on hold, like when you are on the phone and that little music starts playing.

We think, “I won’t do X or use X until ____________” (fill in blank here; common answers include: until I move, until I get that job, until I get married, until X comes, until I have more money, until I graduate, etc.)

What is worse is some of these catalysts for action are completely out of our control and in the hands of others. You can’t control whether you will get that job, whether so-and-so will move in or out, whether he will ask you to marry him or whether she will say yes. I mean, all of that is in the hands of others.

Living your life on hold is a terrible thing, take it from someone who has fallen into that in the last couple of months. I get that some of it is circunstancial, or may come eventually (that famous phrase of “only time will tell”). But here is the thing, life doesn’t come with hold music. It’s a silent road. Putting life on hold doesn’t exist, which means we are left with nothing.

I don’t think we should live life on hold. If we do, we face perhaps never living life, at all. Those of us who are amenable and always trying to be orderly and not asking for too much sometimes fall in this rut of loss of control. And while there are many things in life we do not and should not control, there are still small elements of our lives within that, that we can control.

“I don’t think we should live life on hold. If we do, we face perhaps never living life, at all.”

So, use that blender, decorate that apartment, go on that trip, apply to other jobs, and don’t forget to walk around your block and enjoy the present day within the seasons of waiting.

Your sentence needs to be whole and complete; no blanks. There may be clauses coming, but we all know that clauses are set off by commas, as they enhance the sentence.

Make sure that what you are waiting for is an enhancement and not half of the actual sentence, without which the sentence won’t make sense one bit.

Life was not meant to be lived on hold. That’s why, in these periods of waiting, there is no music.

Yesterday, I decided to buy that produce and make that meal. At first, there was a list of reasons why I didn’t want to make the meal, but I realized none of them were good enough. None of them had music. The essentials of the sentence were there, and that was all that mattered. It was delicious.

Rompiendo Silencio [Breaking Silence]

En el cansancio me encuentro.

Cada transición acompañada de silencio.

La carretera está abierta y es larga. Se que emprenderé camino, mirando el sol y las estrellas que van marcando la ruta.

Este camino no es para los cobardes ni los que temen exponerse. Se trata de quitarse los zapatos, la camisa y todas las expectativas.

Nada garantizado y nada establecido. Esto no es para los lentos. Esto es para los que corren. Esto no es para los que viven en la sombra de sus heridas, pero para los que aguantan más que los demás.

Esto es para los que se paran después de la caída. Esto es para los que se quitan la armadura y corren camino aunque sea sangrando. Pues donde hay heridas, hay sanidad. Donde hay valor, hay oportunidad.

Los pies los tengo sobre tierra. La mirada al cielo. Las manos abiertas y sin nada más. Voy sin cubrirme y con el corazón lleno de esperanza. Siempre lleno de la mejor esperanza. La esperanza que da vida. La esperanza que me sirve de ropa.

En el cansancio me encuentro. Pero aún así, voy corriendo. Nada me puede detener. Llegare como aguacero de verano. Rompiendo silencio.

-Gabriela Yareliz

***

In exhaustion I find myself.

Each transition accompanied by silence.

The road is open and long. I know I will start the path, looking at the sun and stars that go marking my route.

This road is not for cowards or those who fear exposing themselves. It’s about taking off the shoes, the shirt and all expectations.

Nothing guaranteed and nothing set. This is not for the slow. This is for those who run. This is not for those who live in the shadow of their wounds, but for those who endure more than others.

This is for the ones who stand up after the fall. This is for the ones who take off their armor, and they run the path, even if they are bleeding. Because where there are wounds, there is healing. Where there is courage, there is opportunity.

I have my feet on the ground. My gaze to the sky. My hands open and nothing else. I go without covering myself and with my heart full of hope. Always filled with the best hope. The hope that gives life. The hope that I can use as clothing.

In exhaustion I find myself. But even so, I go running. Nothing can stop me. I will arrive like a summer downpour. Breaking the silence.