I was in that place. I was a “baby Christian” as my Atlanta area pastor used to call us who stayed in the same spot without spiritual growth.
I was wrongly speaking aloud about another one of those”worse year of my life” moments when my mother gave me a colorful cloth pouch.
I didn’t go to church with her. I told Mom that I had too many things to sort out and that no one would miss me if I did not attend that day’s service. I also told her earlier that I needed additional funds to repair my vehicle and honor the medical co-payments related to my youngest son’s blindness. I was asking for patience, peace and a semblance of a so-called normal life. It was a too-often state-of-mind for me. I craved a change. That was in 1994.
My mother returned from church and was talking over me about how I should place photos, notes with my hopes and dreams, receipts and faith examples of any type. I tried to again interrupt my mother with my lengthy list of needs. I gave up and decided to try her way. After all, I had nothing to lose.
Nothing to lose: That’s a great place for spiritual interference to enter the room. I found myself clinging to the pouch like it was a necessary hand bag or makeup carrier. I still stuff the pouch today with items that are disparate and have individual meanings to me. The remembrances evoke tears, smiles and frowns from the stuffed away memories of the good in my life and the fears.
Several years ago, I heard a sermon by Dr. Barbara King, founder and senior pastor of Atlanta’s Hillside Chapel & Truth Center, about temporary possessions we give power to in place of the real power source — God, Allah and other deities. She spoke of a rabbit’s foot and other items deemed lucky by its owners. Dr. Barbara — as she is known — told the congregation to use until they could gain strength in trusting the true source.
I was in that place. I was a “baby Christian” as my Atlanta area pastor used to call us who stayed in the same spot without spiritual growth. Dr. Leon Hollinshed was among those kind individuals who helped me to get to my greatest place. For that, I am grateful to him and so many others who stood in the gap with prayers during the year my youngest son became blind and our world became a shadow of its former place.
Since 1994, I’ve cherished memories from some funeral programs, happy and encouraging notes, photos of my children in their early years, an usher pin, an airline ticket, donation receipts, name badges and encouraging letters and notes from family members and now deceased friends.
Connect the dots
1. Even if you don’t feel like it, graciously accept a gift of encouragement.
2. Listen to the still, small voice and act accordingly.
3. Believe in prayer.
4. Do something to honor your gifts. I write thank yous to folk who have extended kindness to my family and me.
I know what it’s like when the ‘weight of the world’ seems put upon your shoulders yet few people around you want to help carry the load.
My friend, Gwen Carr, knows well this heavy feeling. She is the mother of Eric Garner, the New York man who received an acknowledged, illegal chokehold by a police officer for selling single cigarettes. Selling cigarettes in this increment is against the law and the husband, son, father and community retailer, died after crying out,”I can’t breathe.”
It’s hard for Carr and other family members to breathe after learning the Justice Department will not charge the police officer who allegedly placed the chokehold on Garner that was found to stimulate death for the cigarette vendor. Five years nearly to the day that Garner died, Carr had to hold another impromptu press conference and lead the charge to ask that the police officer be fired by the city of New York.
I know it hurts. Carr has spent each anniversary of her son’s July death with fellow Moms who were pushed in the public commentary because of the deaths of their sons by persons assigned to “serve and protect them.” In their collective anger, the women have channeled their energy to help one another. The annual gathering was Carr’s idea and each year, she has shouldered the burden of travel and hotel costs and logistical planning.
Carr and her sisters in this sad bond, seek to rise above the injustices as they form a I applaud the women whose names have become household words because of the tragedies. In nearly all of the public cases resulting in deaths for their loved ones, questions loudly arise on whether justice was served for the families and communities.proverbial circle to laugh, share, cry, forgive and live for brighter days. The New York Times agrees that justice still hangs in the balance for Garner. See www.nytimes.com/2019/07/16/opinion/eric-garner-pantaleo.html.
I applaud the women whose names have become household words because of the tragedies. In nearly all of the public cases resulting in deaths for their loved ones, questions loudly arise on whether justice was served for the families and communities.
Want to help their healing?
$quared, $CashApp, $garnerwayfoundation
Garner Foundation c/o Gwen Carr
“Weekend to Breathe”
P.O. Box 20502
Staten Island, NY 10302
Photo description: Work designed and created by an unknown Haitan artist who gifted our family with the piece. It is the single art on my table.
Remembering and honoring the strength of Haiti and this country’s resolve to save the United States in her time of need.