lisa arrindell's blog

You are exactly what God had in mind.

Begin Again…

Me with Dorothy Toran

Let us sit and talk awhile. I have missed sharing my observations with you and reading your thoughts in return. I will repost my previously published blogs over the next few weeks for those who have asked for them and for those that never knew they existed. I am thrilled to open my heart to you. Thank you for coming in…

I will begin again with a tribute to a human being who inspires me… Inspiration makes us less afraid,  I think. This woman inspires me to believe that I am, what I cannot see in myself. Don’t we all need that friend?

Dorothy Williams Toran, became a light for me eight years ago, when she asked me to meet her at Essence Magazine, her employer at the time, to be filmed for an interview discussing a mentor, the great Ms. Cicely Tyson. I had no idea that I was going to meet a friend for life that day; it is essential, ladies and gentlemen, that we consider saying “yes” more.

Dorothy is an empress of distinction in every way. She is daughter, sister, wife, mother, warrior, producer, friend, advisor, cheerleader, way maker, magical being and I cannot come close to a thorough list of her offices without including, lover. Dorothy is a lover… and I am not referring to what her husband/king might say about her in their life together. I am talking about how powerful women love and uplift those in their midst.

Dorothy is one of those few creatures that stirs up a downpour of love around her; a storm of love, if you will. You can try to escape the dampness if you want to, but I suggest you just go ahead, stand still, look up and get drenched…you won’t be sorry.

To know her is to feel seen…and accepted… anyway. No matter your weakness or strength, when you walk into a room of Dorothy’s myriad friends, which I have been honored to do on several occasions, you walk into a queendom of people who, because they have been so loved by her, embrace their own power to love those around them even when they’ve never met them before. It’s like being part of an elite organization who’s membership imparts extraordinary physiological abilities to see and love.

I am writing about her on this particular day because I have watched Dorothy, walk uphill, both ways, at Mount Sinai these last few weeks, heavy laden with the profound sadness of standing at the bedside of her beloved sister, Weade, in her final days of life on Earth; and then laying her to rest this past Saturday at the too young age of thirty-three. It is only fitting, being Dorothy’s sister, that Weade herself, was a Queen of grace and light in her own right; a sunset too glorious for words.

My heart is full with imagining how painful it is to release so precious a gift as a treasured sibling. My own three brothers, are my dearest friends…I would not want to bear living without them. And yet Dorothy, faces her newly altered world with grace…and she begins again.

I watch as Dorothy opens her grip and lets her heart go. Even as I look on from my seat in the church filled with mourners, I see her strong, lean, brown arms, embrace tightly almost every mourner that comes to pay respect, and there are many. I witness her graceful ascension to the stage, her back upright despite the heavy load, to speak of times that will never be again, but were in brilliant color lived out loud, by Weade. Dorothy honors her sister, her closest friend, in words simple and true…just as her beloved was. And as her Weade begins a new life, Dorothy, right there on stage in front of us, chooses to begin again.

This is Dorothy. Courageous, bold, full frontal LOVE. Aggressive, loud, happy, joyful, tell it like it is, fight you ’til you make sense, shout it from the rooftop, scream it from deep inside ’til the very last minute… LOVE.

Thank you, Christ, for the breathing images who walk this Earth manifesting your crazy, too strong, more than enough, LOVE….I need it every hour.

I LOVE YOU, DOROTHY…just being in your sunlight, makes me endeavor always to begin again.

And you, sweet Weade. We will meet, in JOY, on the other side. I am sure.


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