Enlisted for Service

During the Segregation Era of the 1950’s and 60’s, Atlanta was deemed “The City Too Busy to Hate.” Deeper into my own hunger for learning more regarding the slogan, it was originally coined by the late Mayor William B. Hartsfield in 1959. The mention of it thereafter became a responsive motto within the Civil Rights Movement.

The core notion behind “The City Too Busy to Hate” was meant to find intersectional approaches between the black and white business communities – where both could discover economic growth and individual prosperity. This initiative caused civic leaders of that time, business owners, and regular “folk” to spend time with each other and explore the many ways to improve race relations.

The lending of our time and service can bring about a greater good. A midwestern educator Paul Solarz wrote a book entitled: “Learn Like a PIRATE – Empower Your Students to Collaborate, Lead, and Succeed.” Within the book, he said this:

Collaboration allows us to know more than

we are capable of knowing by ourselves.

To lend oneself to participate and share with others can result into doing ‘acts of service’. Acts of service doesn’t keep you idle; it keeps you doing. We know that in the vestiges of time, the image and mention of a Segregated Atlanta came to a final end. But our collaborative work can be achievable to find common ground.

Shortly after the first MLK Federal holiday, a Princeton University Sociology Professor, Marion J. Levy, Jr., wrote and published a call-to-action article in The New York Times. He said “I proposed we declare the holiday a ‘day-on,’ rather than a ‘day-off.’ The intention was to provoke all who made it above the poverty line to sacrifice their talent and time to those under the poverty line. That stuck with me…

This Saturday I volunteered at Hosea Helps, a local organization founded in 1971 by the late Hosea Williams, a well-known Lieutenant within the Civil Rights Movement. The family-run organization serve families who are on the brink of homelessness by providing emergency food, utility financial aid, other human services. On Saturday, we boxed a host of donated food items for 100 families in need.

I’m proud to live in a city that cares about its people, and I’m honored to work along side by side with people who love on the least, less, and lost. In observing MLK Holiday, let us re-commit ourselves by sacrificing our talent and time so that others we serve can live in a world of dignity and respect.

D.A.W.N. of a New Day!

Let’s be real folks…at the beginning of each morning, some of us seek to refuel our lethargic minds with fresh baked information of the day. All too often, we switch the television on or dial our favorite radio station in the car to gain information. These mediums are generally about everything that is wrong in the world. You can assume that the “A” block of news in the morning will discuss the following things:

• Political indifferences
• Social indifferences
• Natural Disasters
• Out-of-this World or Bazaar news
• People in crisis

As I write this, I’m beginning not to feel too good (SMH).

How can you eliminate those morning stressors? Many would tell you to:

1) Drink a cup of fresh brewed coffee
2) Spend time to Meditate/Pray
3) Relaxing Exercises or Stretches
4) Listen to soft-easy soundscape music

That’s all good, but how to maintain a positive start throughout the day you might ask? Well, consider the following:

D = Discover the benefits of your Passion

Yes, whatever you want to do in life, daily challenge yourself to seek the benefits of your Passion. For example, if you believe you are gifted in music and you’d like to play the piano, think about the reason why you want to play the violin. Is it to relax yourself, or would you think it will benefit the elderly in a nursing home? Is playing the piano a way to add extra income, or should it be your chance to perform with a world renowned symphony orchestra? Is it for the benefit to become the next great Liberace, or do you want to be a blessing by playing with your child at his/her Christmas pageant? Spend some time each morning to discover what would be those benefits.

A = Act out your Passion

From the provoking questions above, all you have to do is just ‘act’ out on them. Start today and practice those Christmas songs – it’s now July! In five months, you’ll be ready to present a musical concert of songs for the kids. What better time of the day is to use the morning to review those holiday song sheets!

W = Seek the Wisdom of those living their Passion

You can either self-teach yourself to play the piano or hire someone who ‘teaches’ others to play the piano. I’ve always felt to have someone to mentor or coach me in things that I don’t know. The wisdom of others will make it easier to reach your Passion faster versus going it alone.

N = Your Passion is Natural to you

You immediately feel something once you place your fingers on the piano. That feeling isn’t nervousness, it isn’t frustration, it’s a soothing natural easiness – you feel free. As you play out the holiday songs on the piano, it takes you:

• back to your childhood singing Christmas carols at school.
• to a moment to feel the warmth of a home in winter and the smell of fresh baked gingerbread cookies
• to a time when you stood around the family piano and saw your own grandmother play Christmas songs as everyone else sang the verses!

The D.A.W.N. of each new morning can put you into a pleasurable feeling and give you a sense of emotional balance that carries you through the day! Make it your mission to fulfill your passion so that others may benefit from it!

Let go people and do some good!

Heavenly Moments in Haiti

By reading the subject of this recent blog, you might disagree with the lexiconic statement. How could “anyone” experience heavenly moments in Haiti? Well, I recently did…

I traveled to Haiti last month on my second mission trip of the year – my year-long mission expedition for www.lifewalkmission.org. Once there, I met other mission-minded travelers who all were enlisted by a U.S. based organization called Adventures in Missions. Unlike other mission travels, I would not know any of my team members before I took that first step onto to the third largest Caribbean nation. Looking back on it now, I’m so grateful to have new relationships with the most incredible individuals who came from all parts of the United States – even one who traveled all the way from London!

Four several hours at the airport, we patiently waited for everyone to arrive on different flights – yours truly was the fourth of eleven travelers appearing through international customs that day. When our last member arrived, we then boarded a bus for Carrefour, Haiti. This hillside hamlet community awaited our presence; a town that is said to be near the epicenter of Haiti’s catastrophic magnitude 7.0 earthquake four years ago.

Our first night was filled with high excitement and group learning activities. As the navy blue skies darkened and the flicker of universal stars began to illuminate ever so brightly above us, our team leader wanted to begin bible study on top of the flat-roof where we slept.

Mission work to me is all about serving and of the many years of mission work, never had I experienced what was to take place that night. It was from the bible passage of John 13 where Jesus performed the most humbled act to his disciples – the washing of their feet! Our humbled and passionate team leader Jonathan M. performed this gentle act to each of us on the cool breezy night on the roof-top.

Jesus’ simple act of foot-washing teaches us the kind of humility God wants us to have. For the rest of the week, the spirit of team unity was so profound and prevalent. No one balked, complained, refused, nor murmured during our time in Haiti. And though our walking travels throughout the town was physically rough and challenging, we were commitment to find the lost, the least and the left.

Each day our team weathered the sweltering heat of Haiti; their perspiration of passion was evident as we played, laughed, and encouraged young kids during Vacation Bible School on the open soccer field in the community. We divided into small teams to canvass the hillside village to speak with those who did or didn’t know Abba father. Toward the end of the week, we put on a skit for the community that displayed how God can be ‘your’ EVERYTHING – a five minute moving exhibit of a person going through the evil temptations on Earth and eventually displaying how God is still there with you through it all.

Our work wasn’t done just yet! Of our last day together, we went to the local public beach to enjoy the quality of time in Haiti. The team realized that one of our members had never been baptized. God was giving us one more instruction – to officiate a candidate for baptism! As we surrounded our sister and prayed together, the waters near the shore grew calm; and the heavenly clouds opened to present the glowing sun above. It felt as if we were in the Jordan River! The angels looking over the balcony of heaven rejoiced that day!

The international community may never show or discuss the positive side of the country – yes, it is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. How strange that one of the richest countries lies at a distance of 90 minutes in flight! Someone said to me years ago, “The world doesn’t have a wealth problem, but a distribution problem!”

While Haiti may be a country with wide-spread poverty, YOU can encounter heavenly moments there!

Let go people and do some good!