Saturday, December 30, 2006

One Deadly Week

I have lived on this earth for 53 years. Never once in that time can I remember five days holding so much history to be written. This last week of the year 2006 will definitely be one that is remembered by young and old for different reasons. Sadly, one thing that comes to my mind is an old saying, three strike, you’re out.

I ask you, are these three deaths something to be weary of? Two were looked upon as sad and one as joyful. Did it all happen in one week as a sign of something still yet to come? What does it say about the closing of the door to the year 2006 and the door to be open for 2007?

Forgive me if what I write here doesn’t seem to have any connections but, at times what happens in this lifetime makes me think and wonder about what is to be learned. Anyway, following is how I feel about each death we have witnessed.

James Brown may not have had a chance to get a college degree but he used what he had to spread much love and joy around the world. No longer will we hear songs like, Payback or Say it Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud. We won’t see a man with enough energy to dance and slide across a stage giving a real live show. James Brown with only an eight-grade education took what he did know and rose to the top singing and dancing for everyone. Many artists used what he shared to learn how to give their all to a crowd of millions. Yes, he had his ups and downs but he came back with a vengeance and still gave people what they wanted, the only “mean machine.” James Brown was one of a kind and always will be, a soul man.

Now President Gerald Ford took on a task that no other had ever had to do. But he did it with love and forgiveness. He was a man with Christian values and a heart of gold. So what if he had to bring a country together. So what if he was my opposite politically. He still knew right from wrong and chose to follow what he knew was the only right thing to do, he forgave. Not many realize that President Ford was a humble man. He never wanted to be on center stage yet was forced to take it. So like any other person on this earth, he performed. He did his best because he knew what we sometimes forget, let God be the decider. So I say let us pay tribute to the one man who understood he was just a president and not the higher being. God bless you former President Gerald Ford.

Saddam Hussein was what we all understand to be atrocious. He was a dictator, killer and a man with no soul. For if he had not been this type, he would not have committed the heinous crimes against mankind. Do I think it was fair to execute him? It is not my place to say. As a practicing Christian, I cannot play God and say who stays and who goes. My personal preference is to let all those who commit crimes that are unconscionable should live long and suffer the results of their crimes. If that means no more freedom, no more choice, and no more options, then so be it. I feel that now that Saddam is dead, he no longer has to watch and live with what he has done. Is he in Hell? I don’t know. Yet, no matter where he resides now, God will see to it that he repents for his sins. This I am sure of.

Monday, December 18, 2006


It is known that there are times you listen to a speaker and certain words spoken stay with you. That’s what happened to me yesterday at church. The head pastor was on his honeymoon and the associate pastor was called to deliver the morning service. Rev. Barnett is his name.

While giving his sermon, he expressed a desire to see and hear of people praying more. Yes, you expect to hear a minister talk about prayer but, what grabbed my attention was his reference to consistent prayers. Rev. Barnett spoke of how we all say prayers as we go to bed, wake in the morning, before eating a meal, and during bad times. What he brought out was how we really should pray more often than that.

The first thing that came to my mind was of followers of the Islamic faith. As I understand things now, those who practice the Islamic religion pray five times each day, faithfully. It suddenly hit me, why don’t we? As a matter of fact, why doesn’t all religious followers have a set schedule, like Muslims, and pray faithfully a certain number of times each and every day? Is it written somewhere, in some document not to do so?

So I asked myself why don’t Catholics, Lutherans, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Quakers, Amish, Mormons, Jews, and die-hard Baptist like me do the same? For all I know, they may pray on a regular basis. My curiosity got the best of me. I called a fellow classmate who is a Muslim and asked of her if we could set a time to talk about praying. I wanted to find out more about her religious practice of prayers. So the time was set for this afternoon. She will call me and we will discuss the prayer ritual to help me understand better.

You see; my church pastor touched me with his words. I have for the past five years found myself wanting to be closer and closer to God more than ever before. I suddenly feel a need to pray more. No, I have no plans to become a religious fanatic, just more spiritually enlightened. In the New Year of 2007, it will have been five years since I took a leap of faith and changed careers midstream. In 2002 I began writing for a living.

Oh trust me when I tell you; it hasn’t been a picnic. I have had good seasons but just as many bad ones. So many times I have asked myself, did I make a mistake? Yet, when I think about what I used to do and what I want to do, writing always comes out on top. Teaching and speaking are second and third. Corporate America isn’t my thing anymore.

What has one got to do with the other? Everything. Remember I said I took a leap of faith changing careers? I put my trust in the higher power, God, to see me through the journey from here to there, wherever that may be. I seriously want it to be pen and paper, 7/24.

Like the pastor said, it is when things go bad that we tend to pray more than usual. I want to change that. I want to, like Muslims, make it a ritual. I am a creature of regularity. I like knowing what I’m going to do morning, noon, and night. I really don’t like idle time. So this afternoon, I will talk with a classmate about regular prayer time. Who knows, maybe, just maybe, another bridge will be built to connect a faithful religious follower with another one. From what I can see, one Muslim and one Baptist might be able to bend their knees together as they pray to the higher being. I’ll let you know next week.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


During this holiday season many of us know those who seem to be surviving although they have very little to enjoy. I happen to know a survivor. She too is enjoying life no matter what she has been through or suffering at this time. She grew up in a house of physical abuse, was raped three times between the ages of sixteen and nineteen, she and her child were burnt out of their home three days before Christmas in 1974, laid in a semi-comatose state facing death at the age of thirty on Thanksgiving in 1983, and two decades later lost her home and sought help from the government. Now this woman is sitting and waiting for news on a biopsy she just had done to see if she has cervical cancer. Who is this woman? It is me.

If you wonder why I tell you all this at this time, it is because I still have feelings of joy. It is Christmas, the season to celebration the birth of Jesus. It is my faith that has always gotten me through the hard and rough times I have faced before and survived. This one is no different. Although I have lost much in the last five years after changing careers, I will still celebrate this holiday season. I have a roof over my head, heat to keep me comfortable, water to bathe in, a family that loves me, friends that care, sharing writing partners, neighbors that look out for me, and a sense of myself as I go through transformations. I also have a relationship with God. I talk with him a lot. I pray to him a lot. And I believe in him and all he is.

After living for 53 years, I learned that the simple things mean so much to me, the things that cannot be bought. Like waking up each day to see either the sun, rain, or snow, knowing my son, a police officer, went to work that day and came home. Having a mother that calls me if she hasn’t heard from me for a few days just to check up on me. Still having the ability to read and write the printed word. And going back to school and still loving learning that which is new to me. Do I worry? Of course. Am I afraid? You bet. Am I ever depressed? Naturally but, I have my faith and it has never once let me down.

So this holiday season no matter what the results are of my biopsy, I will still survive. As in the past, the good Lord will not let me down. He will, as before, hold my hand, lift me up, carry me if necessary, feed me strength, shine the light down the path I must travel, and bless me with joy. It is the only way I can and have always survived. Happy Holidays to you and yours.