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Sunday, November 9, 2014

“Optimistic” (In spite of all the tragic news)

"Optimistic" photo by Pheralyn Dove
Everyday is a
beautiful awakening,
awesome to behold.

In spite of all the nasty realities that plague us, I treasure these days and times. Awed to be alive to witness this day.  Grateful to be living and breathing. Humbled to be healthy and whole. Reduced to tears by nature’s awesome autumn beauty. Just to feel the breeze chilling the air. To witness the sun set. To rise early enough to catch day break. To look up in the night sky and realize a wonderfully round moon is winking at me. To celebrate my birthday with family and friends. To stop long enough to realize golden blooms and crimson leaves are whispering messages meant just for me. Meditating in a hushed meadow, aware of the faint splash of water rushing over the rocks in the brook right below is a breath-taking experience. Now this is what I call living. 

Yes, this is my truth.  But I am also ever aware of so many other truths that surround me: Depression. Hopelessness. Poverty. Homelessness. Deadly fires. Demonic assaults on pubic education. Broken criminal (in)justice system. Racist backlash. Evil politics. Escalating wars. Germ warfare.

Think about it. Six months ago, Ebola was a distant, dormant and presumed dead virus, not the ravaging global health threat it has become today. Six months ago, the videotape of Ray Rice punching his wife in the face, rendering her unconscious in the elevator of an Atlantic City casino had not surfaced and gone viral.  Indeed, six months ago I had never even heard of a place called Ferguson, Missouri. Michael Brown was in the spring of his life, graduating from high school and planning to move on to college in the fall. Never did anyone fathom he would become an international symbol of injustice.  Just six short months ago, no one could have ever fathomed that this Black boy, this young, 18-year-old- African American male by the name of Mike Brown, would be shot down, unarmed -  like a rabid dog in the street by a  Caucasian police officer. Yes, shot down like a dog in the street, his corpse left to decompose for hours, uncovered in the blazing Missouri heat, while police forcibly prohibited the community from removing and respecting his body.

A neighbor’s family dog would have been treated better.

And here we are, three months after the August 9, 2014 slaying and no charges have been brought against the police officer who pumped at least six bullets into Mike Brown as he held both hands up and blurted his last words: “I don’t have a gun, stop shooting!”

Yes, my heart hurts, my anger swells and my blood boils when I think about all the injustice in this world. And then to be forced to swallow the bitter truth that the brutal killing of Mike Brown at the hands of a white police officer is juxtaposed against the reality that Black-on-Black crime is absolutely devastating the African American community. No one will dispute that we have reached an unacceptable rate of fratricide.

But when my blood rages and my heart races, I have trained my mind and emotions to come back to this present moment. What am I doing,in my personal life to find a solution to the problem?  What is going on with me, right now, in this moment? What am I doing in my own sphere to help this world be a better place?

When I neutralize my thoughts and emotions, I am humbled to think about my God given talents, gift and abilities. I am humbled and grateful to know that by using them, I am doing divine work. This point of gratitude and praise helps ease the pain of being Black and female in America. This point of gratitude gives me reason to redouble my efforts toward liberation.  Bringing my blessings into focus prompts me to ramp up my efforts to outflow uplifting and inspiring information and images. Just as I encourage myself to live life to the fullest, to “give it all I’ve got,” I pray and encourage you to do the same. Find your piece of heaven right here on earth. And cling to it.

Yes. I have the audacity to be optimistic. I have the audacity to think God gave us the collective talent and ability to solve the problems of this world.  I have the audacity to think that even a smile on my lips directed at a stranger can help make this world a better place. I have the audacity to envision peace and love and happiness. And yes. I have the unmitigated gall to feel optimistic about the future in spite of all the tragic news.  What about you?
Asante Sana. Peace and Blessings Always.

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