© 2011 Christopher Charles McDaniel


Photo courtesy of Victor Johnson (Life Changers Church & Ministries of Manhattan)

I left New York City in January to dance with the Los Angeles Ballet and to basically start the process of fending for myself and being an adult. My aunt told me on many occasions growing up, “Chris, if you wanna be grown, you better eat the whole loaf.” Thanks Aunty. LOL. What she meant was, if I wanted to act like an adult, be treated like an adult, and enjoy the glamorous side of adulthood, I needed to be prepared to deal with the not so fun parts about it.

Well… here we are. Four months in and I’ve gone through a lot already. What I’ve noticed is that I AM strong enough, but my strength is very limited. How does that make sense? I am fully equipped to face whatever comes, but am limited in the sense that I can’t always tap into that strength. When my strength is stifled and I’m feeling down and out, I tend to wonder to a place of darkness. A place where a smile is hard to come by, a place where the things that usually bring me joy-cause me heartache and anxiety. When I get to this place, the little bit of strength within me knows to call for help. Literally. I literally call home to hear Grandmas voice.

When I dial home, close to tears and very much over it all, my Grandma in her sweet, powerful, and playful voice says “What’s wrong with Grandma’s baby?” Right then and there I start to break down a little more. And it’s okay. She instantly allows me to vent, but interrupts me with prayers. She starts to pray for me, and remind me that things are gonna be just fine. Now of course I can tell myself these things, or friends can say it, but when Grandma says it, it takes on a life of it’s own and carries me to a higher place. Allowing me to look down on my issues as minuscule entities in a bigger picture of success and accomplishment. She reminds me of the struggle I endured from birth through childhood, into adolescents. She reminds me that God has a specific reason for allowing me to struggle the way I do.  She encourages me by singing, slightly out of pitch, “I don’t believe, he brought you this far to leave you…” She assures me that everything will be okay, because “Grandma’s got it” and that she and Jesus are pretty close so I need not worry. Then she toughens me up a bit, letting me know that I’m stronger than I think, and I’ve got to tap into that strength.

She’s absolutely right. Being “grown” is not just about, paying your own bills, and being on your own, and claiming your independence. But it’s very much about learning and growing. Learning how to fend for yourself, yes, BUT also knowing when it’s time to phone home and get more strength for the journey. Now that’s eating the Whole Loaf…

My Grandma Rocks!

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