What a difficult time; a difficult pain and a difficult reality. And, what reality is that? It's not the reality that most assume- which is racial tension is still alive or politics will always be politics- these are things that will withstand with time. The difficulty underneath this very harsh reality is a cry for help. A cry to understand why something so devestating took place in the lives of many people of different races. The obstacle is not the color that binds and sadly divides us; it's the colorless reality that we must do a better job of preparing adults and children of all races and sexes to be aware that actions and reactions can ruin the construct of our belief in democracy and love for one another.
John Vito Mason. This name will mean nothing to the vast majority of you, because you do not recognize it. However, he is my nephew. My one and only nephew at this time. I think about him, now as a 3 year old, and I wonder about him in the future as a 13 year old. I wonder if we can teach him enough about being a good person, citizen, and a man to keep himself out of harms way. But, I'm not so sure that what we teach him will inevitably save him. Nevertheless, we must teach, hope, and pray.
This world is full of all kinds of human-beings; we are common people who make decisions and mistakes that can ill affect our life at any moment. None of us, no matter our race or position, are flawless. But, we condemn each other in times like this as if we are the guaranters of perfection- of righteousness. I cannot bestow that right to anyone on this earth.
There is a larger concern- a greater cry. We must do a better job of educating and preparing the people who serve and protect this country to deliver the best possible actions in situations like this. Furthermore, we must teach our children to respect the very people that we call upon in times of desparity to protect us. If we continue to live an eye for an eye- we will never heal. It cannot be one sided; it cannot be so black and white. It is simply not that simple.
John Vito Mason. If I die today, I want you to know that you matter. You are pride and joy to me; a smile that comes effortlessly. You are important in this world, and you will be recognized. The question is: How will you be recognized? How will you be remembered in your life? I do not want you to live in vain, and I certainly would not want your life to be taken in vain. So, listen to this plea:
You must respect that we live in a society that is no stranger to good and bad people of all kinds. If you surround yourself with people on the wrong side of the line or if you place yourself in situations that could produce the worst of consequences- then you too could be this story. Live your life to the best of your ability by being the very best person you can be. Love your life enough to recognize it is a gift and a blessing, and as such must be lived with care. Never take it for granted. It is a timeless moment...
We cry because it hurts. It is the epitome of pain to wonder how we could have prevented such a devastating act on both ends; to think of how we may have changed such an extreme unfortunate act. There is no justice that can change the moment, but there is justice in building a response to the core concerns embedded in this situation.
This can't speak for everyone, but this is why I cry...
"Come to me all you who are weary"- Matthew 11:28
I'm not sure I've ever been as exhausted as I am now. This week, I've had others ask me if I was ok. Those who know me know that it's unusual for me to be lackluster or without energy. Today, while driving from an impromptu Saturday of work only to do more work when I got home, I saw this sign that read, "Matthew 11:28" in the oddest of places. It wasn't outside of any type of religious center, it was actually on the advertisement board outside of a gas station. For some reason, my gut told me to look-up the scripture. After reading the passage from The Book, something became clear: I'm not tired because I work too much; I'm tired because I care about the value of my work. Nevertheless, I am weary when I feel the value of my work is not good enough and I somewhat punish myself by working even harder.
It is very difficult for me to balance my goals and aspirations with what's necessary to balance myself; "self" can be a closet-act in the face of ambition. I realized that I am greedy; I do not want to settle- I want what I want and I want it now. For many, that may come across as impatience or selfishness. However, the desire that I have to achieve my goals is one of the most essential elements that make me who I am. My approach to achieving what I want is relentless- almost to a fault. With that, comes a passion and energy about life that I would not trade for the world.
Matthew 11:28, brought me back to something that I'm not sure I do enough- call on HIM for guidance and support. Yes, I thank HIM for the many blessings in my life and I pray to HIM- but I've never asked HIM for balance in my life. I invest a great deal of time into working. Prior to today, I cannot remember the last time I truly just focused on ME outside of all the "extra" that life brings on a daily bases. Sure, work is important and so is the time that we put into our relationships with family and friends. I for one know that success requires sacrifice. Nevertheless, it is important to realize that finding time to recognize and enjoy YOU is important to your health, well-being, and mindset; and, most of all the contributions you are able to make into your happiness.
It's ironic that tragedies open our eyes to the simplest of things. We dance in "purple rains" when life deals us those devastating moments. We make promises to ourself in the worst of times, but often forget about those promises once the rain clears from our life. So today, after seeing what I feel is a message from HIM, I decided to focus on three things that will be an addition to my mindset: 1.) I promise to remember what I'm working for beyond "the work", 2.) I promise to commit to time that's truly dedicated to ME beyond "the work", and 3.) I promise to ask HIM for balance that is about my joy beyond "the work". These are the ADDITIONS that I will make to my ambition and goals within the work. The work is not just the careers or jobs that we have, "the work" is everything that we invest time into that is not centered on ourself.
It's amazing to see a child grow; as such, we tell children to enjoy that time while it last. What is it that we recognize in childhood that we do not in adulthood? Perhaps, it's freedom; freedom from the responsibility NOT to focus on responsibility; freedom to GROW; freedom to enjoy SELF. As adults we either lose this perception because of the daily "extra" that life brings, or we are reckless with it. The key is finding balance.
Finding a balance between myself and "the work" does not separate me from investing into my life; it increases my opportunities to invest because it expands my acknowledgement of ME. We have to create opportunities to make deposits into OUR LIFE within THIS LIFE.
How does one grow without spending time enjoying who they are and not just who their "titles" say they are? Like a marriage, self identity is very important. Many people are known for who they associate with or what they do- versus who they are; I think this can cause a great deal of weary on a person. It's difficult enough to deal with the dipping fidelity of life; imagine the dips without any real self-worth. We have to feel value in ourself; that who we are matters to others because we stand for something.
Remember to provide a little extra time for YOU; not to the extent that it compromises the "work" you put into your life- but so that it compliments those investments that you continue to deposit into your livelihood.