River of Life

As we enter the fall and winter seasons, we reflect on the past and project for the future.  As a class project for my Leadership Plenty module we were asked to reflect.  I created a diorama of my life.  You see you can’t effectively move into the future dragging your past along behind you.  Reflection will allow you to embrace what works and let go what does not.  This release must be of all toxicity in our lives.  Negative thoughts, feelings, people, places and things. 

To grow into the future, we must be free of the past.  This diorama I presented to the class was cathartic for me and illuminating for others.  There are four parts to my life to date.  They are the childhood, middle passage, awakening and breakthrough. 

The childhood was a time of development and exploration.  As a member of the baby-boomers, I am a part of one of the most experimental, prolific generations to date. We went from party lines on the phone to cell phones.  Cast iron stove to microwaves.  Walking along dirt roads to traveling to the moon and back.  We went from acceptance of intolerance to protest and demands for civil and moral rights.  We demanded the rights promised in the constitution of the United States.  I am a part of a generation who experienced radical change. 

I made a lot of accomplishments including receiving my first call to the ministry, integrating my high school, (one of two black people), marriage, childbearing, owning and operating a community newspaper, managing entertainment groups and hanging out with the likes of Fuller Gordy, Jr. and James Cleveland.  I also experienced the turmoil of the times.  I felt lost and overwhelmed, but I was never alone.

The middle passage of my life is much like coming to America on slave ships.  I was bound, beaten and often felt defeated.  I lived through two marriages with men who suffered with addictions.  They could not love and care for me because they could not love and care for themselves.  It was a dark, dank time and seemed all would be lost.  I lost everything including my self-respect and almost lost all hope.  But I was never alone.

The culmination of the middle passage ironically was the death of my second husband.  This was the age of awakening.  The chains of oppression and depression that had bound me were broken by a loving God who never left my side.  I chose to see his death and the fact that I was left here to go on as a sign to reclaim my time.  I went on to complete two degrees. 

I began to stretch my wings and try new things.  I was like someone who was emerging from the cave of darkness.  I saw the light and experienced the light but did not know what to make of it.  I continued to struggle and wonder.  The middle passage ended with my salvation from suicide.  Still I was never alone.

The current season of life is the breakthrough.  Here there is clarity and a certain knowledge that I am and never was alone.  I live in a stage of acceptance that I am enough.  I love out loud and I boldly go where God leads me.  I know he will protect me or “beam me up Scottie.”  I am never alone. 

In this season I am living out dreams and walking into the newness of life.  The long-held desires are being manifested.  Do I still feel alone and afraid, in over my head, yes?  But I feel the hand of God in mine and his voice in my ear saying, “It Is Well.”

Today as I share this tale with you, I encourage you.  I encourage you to take stock of where you are and what season you are in.  I encourage you to reflect on your present and past.  I encourage you to boldly go where no man has gone and clear out the toxicity in your life.  Make way for the plans God has for your life.  He has never forgotten you nor left you.  Tear down the walls that box you into the narrowness of fear and rejection.  Be bold, be free, be awake and breakthrough!

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