“Love Is” (Based on 1 Corinthians 13:4-8)

Two dear friends of mine exchanged vows on September 14th. The following is the poem I performed at their ceremony.  May they be blessed abundantly!

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Tribute to the bride and groom…

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The earth cracked
And your laughter broke the deafening
silence.
You loved me passed my pain
You exude patience passed logic.

With kindness you explore the depths
Of my mind without judgement.
Envious of the air you breathe.
I boast about you and our family
Proud to be in your presence
Your gentle nature extends beyond
Anger

I find sanctity
When resting peacefully in your heart.
You protect my passion for life
You’ve taught me to persevere,
When I am weak or afraid.
You love me indefinitely and
Unfailingly. 

You hold me with inexhaustible
intimacy.
You’ve replaced trails of tears with
laugh lines.
Emotionally exhausted from my retreat
From my resentment.
You were my dream come true.

You are my Utopia.
You are my staycation
You are my painkiller
You are my welcome mat
To wipe away worry
You are my composite work of art
You are my truth in a life of lies
You accelerate a journey of joy
And justify a past of displeasure.

Love is your smile
Love is your warmth
Love is your commitment.
Love never fails

– Shaun M Nickens

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Turnt Down!

There is a new phrase in urban culture. When someone is about to get excited or high energy (or drunk) they say they’re about to get “turnt up!” I must admit I had my reservations but its catchy. Kids love it! Imagine hearing Elmo say,”Let’s get turnt up boys and girls!”

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Yet, I find myself most times just wanting to get ‘turnt’ down.  After bottle making, laundry,  cooking, cleaning, working, exercising,  praying, singing,  baby bathing,  snack packing, ABC’ing, reading, training, communicating, writing, e-mailing, barely any sleeping, loving, fighting, driving, grocery shopping, deadline meeting…
I crave a warm blanket and a good movie.

In my youth I was quick to run to a spa. It didn’t matter the type. Either I was going to get a 30 min upper body massage or I was spending the day there until I went broke. The last gym membership I had was paid for in blood every month directly debited from my left ventricle.  After paying with my arms and legs, I had nothing to sign a check with or swipe a card with so they took the payments out automatically. Boy was it worth it though! I’d work out any time of day or night and they had a pool, jacuzzi, and fully equipped salon and spa services. Felt like a new woman every time I left. Now, I’m older and I have more pressing responsibilities and I can’t indulge like I used to.

So yesterday while waiting for my 10 minute oil change,  I spotted some relief!  A leather lazy boy looking humble piece of furniture labelled “Spa on the Go.” For less than the price of a McDouble I could get a few minutes of tranquility.  A pre-programmed massage. It felt a little rough but it did the trick. Surrounded by the smell of oil, stale/free coffee, and a great view of the main busy boulevard, I created my own little sanctuary.  It was a sign that sometimes you don’t need to get “turnt up.” Sometimes you need to rediscover the miniscule things that give you temporary moments of peace. Sometimes it’s the sound of a melody that stimulates a mood of positive memory revisiting. Think about the first time you put a set of chrome pegs on the back of your bike. Trust me, its better than obsessing over the next car note payment.  Think about your first Nokia phone that you played the game Snake on. Sitting in the back of the bus eating a honey bun. Playing Spades. Calling home because there was no such thing as text messaging. Don’t think about the phone bill due. Get ‘turnt’ down or ShutYaMouthAndCallMeUgly.

-SMN