(Yes, I know the title doesn't make sense. It's a Kikongo word for a type of bean that grows in the jungles of Africa that without reason or warning, makes up its own mind when it wants to flourish. When manguwansi decides that it has fed the people quite enough, it shrivels up and dies. It is quite temperamental. Manguwansi is also the nickname for a friend who doesn't think much of himself, and exhibits behaviors reminiscent of his namesake. I pray for him nightly. This is an open letter for him.

Life has brought me some unexpected gifts lately. In a space of one week, I am getting a date with my orthopedic surgeon, I have granted the opportunity to create three different programs, two program are focused on teaching basic and creative writing skills to adults, and the other a character education program for the preschoolers who live in my apartment complex. And all of this is flexible enough to be happen around my surgery.

Why did this happen? Not because I'm "lucky", or that I even created my luck. I just worked recovery and surrendered my life to care of God. I do what I need to do recover each day, and ask God for help with the rest. That's it. People seem to be willing to do help me with whatever it is I need, even financially. I am astounded.

I'm guilty of tremendously underestimating God's grace and bounty, and I pray for His continued assistance.

Be kind and forgiving to yourself, Manguwansi. You may be temperamental, but you'll flourish more if you start loving yourself as much as God loves you. To do otherwise is to scorn one of God's greatest creations, namely you. Nothing thrives in a negative environment. Yeah, that's a relativism, a generality, you shabuir. I continue to use them as I see fit.

I'm not ready to talk yet. I have more work to do. But I still care about what happens to you. But I have been shown the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel (sue me for the cliche'). Doing the samba through the streets of Old Sacramento was spiritually uplifting. I'll see you on the dance floor within a year, and I WILL wear your butt out! Believe it, you merciless, insufferable shabuir!

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