A female duo from North Philadelphia came on the music scene when I was an undergrad, and turned it upside down. For one, they had really short hair, which was almost unheard of for Black women in the 1990s. Back then, African American women began investing in expensive weaves to make their hair longer. These two singers did not. They wore their hair was shaved completely off. And they didn’t wear tight-fitting clothing or shake their butts in the air. Instead, they used their beautiful voices to create amazing harmonies and win many fans, including a young sophomore at Princeton University. Zhané rocketed their way to the top of the R&B charts with their first single, “Everything Happens for A Reason.” I fell in love with their sound, their look, and their utter fearlessness.
I rediscovered Zhané, and “Everything Happens for A Reason,” a decade later after my husband and I separated. Back in my twenties, I knew nothing about unrequited love, broken hearts, or shattered dreams. I just loved the sound of their voices. But after lupus, after hospitalization and disability, after months of unemployment and then the end of my marriage, those song lyrics held a new meaning. I listened the song on repeat for weeks on end, as I drove around Philadelphia trying to piece my life back together:
Saying goodbye can be the hardest thing to do
Last week, I taught my final class as part of a yearlong Advanced Teacher Training program. We were instructed to prepare a 45-minute class and teach from the heart. I knew what was in my heart—hurt, pain, disappointment and devastation. But they were followed by second chances, new hope and renewed life. I knew I needed to talk about how my heart – and my life – fell apart when my husband moved out, and then describe the journey of building a better, healthier, happier and more purposeful life afterwards. I would share about yoga, and how it was the catalyst for creating that new life based on awareness, acceptance and surrender. I knew that I had to describe the inner strength I developed as I slowed down, looked within and discovered a previously unknown source of power—a limitless power that propels one through life, including all the joys and sorrows, accomplishments and failures, victories and defeats.
Believing in love can be the hardest thing to do
I shared my heart during the class last weekend. I played a mixture of ballads, breakup songs and empowerment anthems that accompanied me through the stages of grief and loss. The students grooved to the music as they flowed from one pose to the next. I talked about the illness and divorce—and the process of living once more.
But as I sit here a week later, I realize I left a key point out of my class. I didn’t talk about the present-day struggle, especially to believe in love again. I date—or at least I try to date. I have an online profile, and respond to the messages that are sent. I’ve talked with a couple guys and gone on a date or two. I have conversations and try to get to know these new guys. But I’m honestly looking for the problem--a reason not to open up my heart, an excuse not to trust. I am afraid to hope, afraid to believe in love, afraid to give my heart again.
Everything happens for a reason
Even this pain and hurt and fear are for a reason. I’m not yet sure what it is, but I’m open to finding out. I have a great life, but I also want a partner—someone with whom to share it in all its glory.
Lord, send him. Father, help me to believe that you will send him. In the meantime, may I believe that EVERYTHING happens for a reason. Amen!!
Crystal Moore began her wellness quest in 2003 after being diagnosed with lupus. Her quest has led her to embrace yoga, faith, exercise, healthy eating, and relationships. Share her journey.