From "Grace Will Lead Me Home" a memoir by Robin Givens, reprinted with permission from Miramax Books
I have known of God all of my life. I was raised Catholic, going to mass
every Sunday. When we had a special request of God we said the Rosary,
and if we were even more concerned we resorted to novenas. I believed
in God and, from every indication, God believed in me. Of course I
wanted God to be pleased with me, but most of all I wanted God to make
me happy . . . and indeed the relationship was quite rewarding. But ritual
and even religion do not ensure a relationship with God. It is by experiencing
God that we get to know him . . . and it is in knowing God,
truly knowing God, that we get to know ourselves. After years of ritual
and religion, I was finally introduced to God by Michael. I can say that
surely I know God by name. God has a way of getting your attention and
making sure you never forget. For me this relationship is . . . home.
I awakened at my usual time, though it had been a late night, especially
for the boys. I had let them stay up until just after we blew our
horns, threw our confetti, and kissed one another — Happy New Year!
They were in the deep and peaceful sleep that childhood permits, the
kind of restful sleep that grown-ups envy, since it brings such great
comfort and renewal. On my way to the kitchen, I stopped to close
Buddy's bedroom door. I lingered for a moment. He practically
looked like a man now at twelve years old, sprawled out in a bed
that until recently swallowed him up. We really need to have some more
shelves built, I thought, before continuing down the hall. Buddy is
running out of room for his tennis trophies. I reached Billy's room next.
Before I closed that door, I took a moment and smiled, as I breathed
in the fragrance of yet another blessing—my golden-haired six-year old
boy. Life has been good to me, I thought.
I headed through the living room and toward the kitchen. Draped
in a big, shaggy throw, my sister Stephanie was asleep on the sofa. We
had stayed up late sipping a little champagne and sharing some resolutions,
but mostly reminiscing about Christmas holidays as kids. She
decided to spend the night and was sleeping as peacefully as the boys.
I stood at the doorway to the kitchen and realized the boys would
be much more excited about chocolate croissants than with my making
eggs. I turned and tiptoed back to my bedroom, not wanting to
disturb anybody. I grabbed my down coat and a pair of boots from
the closet. I felt eager now. The time alone would be as much a treat
for me as the croissants would be for the boys. I stuffed the flannel
pajama pants I was wearing into my boots.
"Where are you going?" Stephanie asked, pushing her long
dreadlocks to one side as she lifted her head from the pillow.
"Sorry, I was trying not to wake you," I apologized. "I'm going
to get some breakfast for the boys. I was thinking about chocolate
croissants. Do you want something?"
"Chocolate?" She thought for a moment, fluffed the pillow, and
lay her head back down. "Too sweet for me . . . make mine plain."
"I won't be gone long," I assured her, as I eased out of the apartment.
And she simply answered, "We're fine. Take your time."
I stepped out into a bright day that felt more like the anticipation of
spring than the dead of winter. Not knowing quite where I was headed,
I walked. Alone for a rare moment, enjoying the silence, able to hear
my own thoughts — I kept walking. I took deep breaths along the way,
refreshed by the crispness of the cool air.
I replayed every moment of this holiday in my mind as I walked
across Fifty-fourth Street and headed north. I passed Petrossian's
where, on Christmas Eve, Mom and Stephanie had surprised me with
a belated birthday celebration. "Rob, can we take a break now?"
Stephanie had asked, pretending to be tired of shopping for toys.
They indulged me with champagne and caviar, and we laughed for
what seemed like hours. It was like old times.
I walked up Seventh Avenue, where only the night before the ball
had dropped into a new year. It appeared the city had already moved
on. The streets were swept clean. Only bits of confetti that had resisted
the brooms remained, and I spotted a black top hat made of
paper, with a bold fuchsia feather and silvery, sparkling numbers that
reminded me of the year I had just entered, anticipating it with love,
hope, and forgiveness — 2006. Forgiveness, in particular, had been a
long time coming.