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spirituality

What wakes up your spirit?

We can no longer experience life as a passenger. It is too easy to go to sleep. We must take the wheel and be in control of our lives.” Naomi Davis

Today a friend that I have known for decades called to fill me in. He was in hospice, shifting to maintenance drugs. We spoke of family and life. He told me that I was special and he appreciated the relationship that we have shared down through the years. He encouraged me to stay the same. He told me that he had made peace with life and that God wasn’t taking his life, he was freely giving it back to Him. As he spoke, the tears started to stream down my face. Despite my friend having a stroke and memory loss, he remembered me and my family. He was giving me directions and instructions to be free to tell everyone and share his story. I listened and as I did, the word, ‘forgiveness’ jumped out at me. So, I asked him to forgive me if I had done anything to him that was hurtful. He responded with the same request. I smiled.

He is a retired police officer and I am a person of color. Throughout our relationship we have laughed a lot and had passionate discussions. But despite our differing experiences, the foundation of every conversation was love. We talked about it today as well. We agreed love was all that mattered. As I hung up the phone, I started to descend into contemplation. Death brings clarity. But I couldn’t help but feel that I should have been more attentive. I mean, one year ago my mom returned to be with God after a year of rehab and hospice. I watched her yield this life to embrace her freedom from pain and suffering. It took me a year just to breath. Why does the mind drift back to the superficial?

I am not the only one guilty of drifting from tragedy into the trivial. What is it about the human mind that causes us to step back from trauma which seems to keep the door open to more pain instead of leaning in to get healed? I see it in society as we battle with the pandemic. The lack of empathy between human beings is tangible. We are approaching 200,000 deaths in the United States alone. Why are we unable or unwilling to shake off the irrelevant? I think of the numerous shootings in schools; the excessive force that has resulted in innocent lives being taken; the insensitivity toward the refugee’s incarcerated at the border when children were separated from parents. I see so much cruelty throughout history. It seems to be a thread in the human fabric. I have so many questions. When do we wake up and see, we can’t continue to live like this and survive with our souls intact?

Life Is Temporary and Precious

We do not live forever. No one gets an unlimited lifetime. In fact, many are felt to be taken prematurely. My mom was in her eighties when she passed and I still felt that I was cheated out of having more years with her. Our lives can be fulfilling or empty. We can live in a palace or in a cardboard box. We all have a limited amount of time to be alive, thrive, love and be loved. I have discovered a truth about being alive; it matters. We all matter. I had a break through when my friend called me, the slumber had engulfed me because I was not living my truth. I was settling again. Writing this blog has helped me to reawaken.

We come into this world with a supernatural gift. One that when nurtured lives beyond this lifetime. In fact, it stays with us even after we transition from this life. Hopefully you have experienced it. Love. We enter this world with the capacity to love forever. Isn’t that crazy! Many things can happen to cause us to lose love and replace it with hate and intolerance. But I believe that love is with and in us from the beginning. Love is light. Light changes everything. I had forgotten this. Life is not about what I get out of it but rather what I leave behind. God please help me to stay in touch with what is important and to remember the people who have touched me.

Rest In Peace My Friend

Before I finished this blog, my friend yielded to freedom from pain and suffering. Thank you Don. You filled this universe with love. Your life had purpose and meaning. You lived with no regrets. Thank you for opening your heart and shining the light of your love. You reminded me that love does last beyond this lifetime. I will try my best not to fall asleep again.

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spirituality

Tired, Keep Running…

Who is my neighbor?

“Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side.So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii[c] and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ ”Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” Luke 10:29-37

The parable in Luke 10:29-37, speaks to the heart and soul of humanity. I can only speculate why Jesus told this story in response to the question, “Who is my neighbor?” In the lesson a man is robbed and left for dead on the street. A series of people pass by as Jesus tells the story, a Priest, a Levite, and a Samaritan. The Priest and Levite cross the street but the Samaritan stops to help. There is a cultural tone in His choice of characters. The Priest was a religious leader, the Levite a generationally respected member of the society, and the Samaritan was perceived as culturally inferior and a social outcast. I took away from this lesson that being a good neighbor is not about being religious, it is about having empathy and helping others. It also teaches if I believe that my race or social status makes me better than you then I do not ‘see you’ nor care about you as I should. We each need to search ourselves to answer this question truthfully, “Who is my neighbor?”

Injustice For Some Or Justice For All?

We observe the painful living conditions of some in this world and if we have a heart, it breaks. The solutions seem daunting. Ellen Cranley wrote an article in the Business Insider, October 29, 2019 entitled, This Is What Poverty Looks Like In America Right Now. It highlighted an array of facts. Such as 40 million people in America live in poverty. Amazing. She also shares some of their stories. Some sleep in their cars, others live in shelters or temporary housing. Strikingly, many are working poor. In this moment when we are focusing on the injustices in our society, let’s commit ourselves to the divine gifts; hospitality and philanthropy.

Our fundamental core as a society must include kindness and compassion. We must measure success by ‘how many people we help or serve’ instead of how big is our bottom line. Every human being should have the opportunity to reach his/her full potential. I envision a socio-economic system that makes sharing the real power. In this social system everyone can have a good education, healthcare and economic prosperity (whatever that looks like for them). Full participation in our society will usher in growth economically and socially. This is not a fairytale, these are promises introduced to us in our Constitution. These concepts are articulated far better by Marianne Williamson than I. But I do believe in them.

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Jesus’ lesson did not focus on the man’s brokenness rather He emphasized who in society had the solution. What a powerful repositioning of consciousness. He could have made the story about the crime which was the cause of the man’s condition but instead He rallied us around the solution. So awakened people, love one another and help each other. It starts in our hearts but it overflows into our society.

Being willing to stop and look (recognizing maybe I can help in some small way) is part of the solution. Cheryl Naomi Davis

When will things get back to normal?

We hear speeches, see marches, read blogs, and listen to passionate pleas for systemic changes. I like to think of these as opportunities to listen to one another and lift up humanity. One divinely awakened individual can change the world. I know this. I believe this. The one is you. I know it becomes tiring but keep walking. You may be surrounded by darkness but remember you are the light!

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spirituality

Coronavirus? SMH

Dr Oz admits he ‘misspoke’ after backlash on social media over his clumsy remark that reopening schools ‘may only cost us 2-3% in terms of total mortality.

When we hear someone respected say, ‘I misspoke’, it can be translated as, ‘so I didn’t mean it’. However when we speak unrestrained, we often say what we really feel. When I read this statement, it made me very sad. I thought to myself, am I hearing that there is an acceptable number of people who can die in our society of this virus? I thought of the parable about Jesus Christ and his lost sheep. He had one hundred sheep and in the story, he lost one. So he left the ninety-nine in search of the one who was lost. This parable teaches that we are all valuable and contribute to the whole. Whatever happened to ‘love thy neighbor’? Any number of deaths is unacceptable. Where does this thinking come from?

SMH

We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.

Romans 8:22

There has been so much unspeakable suffering on this planet, the universe has just had enough. Those of us who are called to be better. Those who are not afraid to look in the mirror. Those who in their inner sanctuary recognize, life is not solely about me, it is about my neighbor too.  We have an opportunity to grow and be better. I offer a prayer for all of us, “Lord have mercy and help us.”

This moment is an opportunity

In this moment of social distancing, we can create a better society. One that values each life. As I write this blog, two men have been arrested for killing a young African-American while he was jogging in his Georgia neighborhood. Those of us who are called to be love and light, it is time to shine so brightly that we will engulf hearts filled with hate. It is not by chance that senior citizens, people of color, and those with preexisting conditions are disproportionately dying from this virus. And while we search for reasons, why coronavirus? Where did it come from? How can we fight it? Will it ever go away? The true answer is, we may never know the answers. But we do know that these beautiful vulnerable souls are giving us in society the opportunity to connect, care, and love one another. We see them. Some we even recognize and know by name. I hear them entreating us to search our hearts and to be grateful when we find empathy. Your faces are also giving us the opportunity to repent when we carelessly find none.

One thing is for certain, if you and I live long enough, we will join the 2-3% of the vulnerable in our society. We must defend them now to assure our survival. Otherwise, I guarantee we will be someones misspoken truth in the future, discarded as an acceptable loss out of fear. Is anyone listening? SMH