The fountain of content must spring up in the mind, and he who hath so little knowledge of human nature as to seek happiness by changing anything but his own disposition, will waste his life in fruitless efforts and multiply the grief he proposes to remove.
I’m a Daddy’s girl. From the time I was a little girl, I admired everything my daddy did, from his wonderful bowling form to his driving with two feet. When I was 14 years old, I had no choice but to drive my dad, my brother, and me home from the bowling alley one Saturday afternoon because my dad was having such a severe migraine that he could no longer drive us home. As I prepared to put the car in drive (I had NEVER driven before!), I placed my right foot on the gas pedal and my left foot on the brake, just like my daddy did. He quickly shouted, “No!” I couldn’t figure out why he would say such a thing – after all, that’s the way he drove and I wanted to drive just like my daddy.
My father suffered a stroke in August 2008, and my husband and I moved him to the Atlanta area at the end of September 2008. He lived with us for the past 15 months. Nonetheless, God decided it was time for my daddy to enter into His presence – my dad passed away on Monday, April 5, 2010, the day after Easter, celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. His funeral was today, April 9, 2010.
Although I told him before he passed, I want to honor my father publicly. I told him how much he was loved, what a great job he did as a father, and that he didn’t have to worry; we’re going to be fine. He was a beautifully sweet man, quite the handsome one, very generous, and wonderfully loving. Here is a relatively recent photo of my father:
I love my father; I miss him terribly. I wish he were still with us. But he is experiencing God’s kingdom right now. And for that, I can only celebrate that my father is experiencing pain no more, and we will see him again one day.
Thank you, Daddy, for being my Daddy. It has been an honor to be your daughter.
I usually don’t get too emotional about YouTube videos. Yet, one of my students sent me a link yesterday to a video that he said, “gave me the chills.” For this particular student to preface his email this way piqued my curiosity, so I clicked on it and watched. And most certainly, it was very emotional for me.
The video is a presentation of “Life Ev’ry Voice and Sing,” what many refer to as “The Black National Anthem.” The Rev. Joseph Lowery quoted from the third verse of the song during his benediction at the Inauguration on January 20, 2009 when he prayed,
“God of our weary years, God of our silent tears, thou who has brought us thus far along the way, thou who has by thy might led us into the light, keep us forever in the path, we pray, lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met thee, lest our hearts, drunk with the wine of the world, we forget thee. Shadowed beneath thy hand may we forever stand — true to thee, O God, and true to our native land.”
As I watched the images, I couldn’t help but be propelled into a past that I only experienced on the surface (being born in 1964 living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin). I couldn’t help but to feel some pain knowing the injustices that were wrought on innocent people just because of the color of their skin. Yet, the video is full of images of power, in the midst of the injustices served, and in the midst of the hurt and pain I felt, I also felt proud for the progress we’ve made.
I think the video tells a powerful story. As my student shared it with me, I’d like to share it with you.
As some of you know, I have a beautiful 4-year old little girl. Being that I’m home during the summer months, it is sometimes necessary to entertain her (I so admire and respect stay-at-home moms; being one, if even for ten weeks, is tremendously difficult, but joyous, work!).
One of the great ways I found to entertain her is to throw in a “Veggie Tales” DVD. If you’ve not watched “Veggie Tales,” I must tell you, the series is an absolute treat. Even my husband, Manchild, got hooked on the series of videos produced by Big Idea, Inc., whose mission is “to enhance the spiritual and moral fabric of society through creative media.” Presenting biblical stories and value lessons in the form of animated stories with vegetables as characters is indeed ingenious!
There is a segment, sort of like a commercial break, that appears in the videos entitled “Silly Songs with Larry.” Those I’ve seen are pretty silly; it doesn’t appear there is a moral behind the songs, at least not with those I’ve viewed. There is one silly song title, however, that while silly, seems to have a lesson regarding the things we love and our fear of losing them – “I Love My Lips.” I wanted to share it with my readers because, frankly, I think it’s funny! If you’ll indulge me a little, take a look at the video below.
Next time you’re experiencing some particular fear, write a song about it! Or better yet, play this video!
Our 4-year old daughter loves the movie “The Incredibles.” Because of her love for the movie, we watched it three times in one weekend. Mind you, if we could have watched it more, it would’ve been fine with her.
So our daughter has now re-characterized her family. Our daughter has renamed Manchild aptly as “Mr. Incredible.” She has coined me as “Elastigirl.” And of course, our daughter has temporarily lost her identity in the character “Violet” (although this has gone on long enough, and we constantly try to convince her that she is not Violet, but that Violet is her sister).
Identifying oneself with a superhero is one of those things children innately do, I think. I don’t think she’s doing it because she believes we need to have superpowers. In fact, she doesn’t talk about Mr. Incredible’s strength, or Violet’s power to generate a force field that can keep out all sorts of evil and danger. She definitely doesn’t talk about Elastigirl’s ability to literally stretch and adapt to problematic situations.
But as I think about this and reflect a little deeper about Elastigirl’s superpowers, I realize that she was flexible and resilient in the face of adversity. And she recovered quickly in the midst of the problem, even before the adversity passed, so that with every situation, she was able to immediately respond.
Indeed, what would it be like to have that type of flexibility and resilience when bad things happened, to appropriately respond at a moment’s notice?
And then I think to myself, or at least in this post, “How I wish I had those same superpowers!” (Now I know I can call on God at any time, and I truly have enough faith to do that, but don’t spoil my post!)
If you could be a superhero, which one would you be, and why?
Senator Barack Obama spoke today at the Apostolic Church of God in Chicago for Father’s Day. During his speech, he stated “…there are still certain lessons we must strive to live and learn as fathers – whether we are black or white; rich or poor; from the South Side or the wealthiest suburb.” He encouraged fathers everywhere to strive to learn to and live to:
Set an example of excellence and high expectations for our children, one that overcomes the negative stereotypes the media produces and that our young people sometimes ingest ad nauseam
Pass along the ability to be empathetic; the ability to “stand in somebody else’s shoes” and to teach our children that showing kindness and compassion to others are symbols of strength, not weakness
Tap into the hope that is inside of us all, that hope that says that as long as we believe in something and are willing to work hard for it, we can do our part to make this world better for our children
He ended his exhortation with the following:
…what I’ve realized is that life doesn’t count for much unless you’re willing to do your small part to leave our children – all of our children – a better world. Even if it’s difficult. Even if the work seems great. Even if we don’t get very far in our lifetime.
“That is our ultimate responsibility as fathers and parents. We try. We hope. We do what we can to build our house upon the sturdiest rock. And when the winds come, and the rains fall, and they beat upon that house, we keep faith that our Father will be there to guide us, and watch over us, and protect us, and lead His children through the darkest of storms into light of a better day. That is my prayer for all of us on this Father’s Day, and that is my hope for this country in the years ahead. May God Bless you and your children. Thank you.”
I’d say that while this was a great Father’s Day speech, it applies to parents everywhere, not just fathers. It applies to teachers. It applies to mentors. It applies to us all. Let us ensure that we are all setting that example, no matter how imperfect it may be, so that the next generation will inherit a world in which we all seek the good in children of God everywhere.
I’m not much on writing political commentary; there are many insightful bloggers who take that as a cause and do a fantastic job. But I do enjoy reading political commentary these days. Indeed, we are part of a historic time which the world has not experienced, and it serves us well to become part of the process in some way, if not, at the very least, to become politically informed about the issues for which we care and where our representatives stand on those issues. Nonetheless, I recently read a quote that sums up what I feel has been happening in our government for a long time, maybe during my entire 44 years of life:
“Better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity than the constant omission of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt
My only political commentary consists of this: I hope and pray we will do what we can to usher in the change we need and elect a President who will turn up the heat to melt the ice cubes that have frozen the hearts of government to the needs of ordinary, average American citizens. Yes…
I appreciate the wonderful people who come to my site and comment. It’s so important in continuing a dialogue where someone needs to demonstrate some sanity. Unfortunately, it seems those with the necessary sanity and wisdom do not run this country.
I love what Ebele had to say about this as she commented on my last post (she didn’t mean to write a blog entry as she commented):
“War never did anyone any good. If war is so important to the leaders of the countries who initiate it, then let the leaders themselves go to war instead of sending other people to do their dirty work.
“In Africa, there are still some parts where the strongest man in the village fights the strongest man in the rival village to settle a dispute. And I say they had/have the right idea.
“Too many people are dying for too many avoidable stupid reasons – it’s all a distraction from the real things the world needs to be dealing with. Ghandi was able to settle disputes and put his point across without raising his fist. He chose to raise his mind and his spirit instead. He’s not unique in his view. There are lots of people – ordinary people – who want what he wanted. What his spirit still wants.
“I think women should rule the world. Or children. Children are little leaders in their own right. When you sit down and ask them a worldly question, they give you such a clear answer. (There’s a belief (I think it’s Yoruba) that the more recently you’ve come from your mother’s womb, the wiser you are.)”
And Lisa pointed me to Pink’s incredibly powerful performance of her song, “Dear Mr. President.” Please click on this link to Lisa’s post (which, for Lisa, was a Mother’s Day post) and watch it. It expresses much of what Ebele said above in a different way, but communicating the same sentiment. I watched it once, then had to watch it again. Lisa describes it as “breathless.” It is.
“Saying, ‘I was wrong,’ or ‘I made a mistake’ or ‘I’ve changed my mind’ just might produce the ‘shock and awe’ you [Mr. President] sought when you initiated an escalating civil war that human hands will never win. As always, the choice to do so is yours alone to make. Only a bad wind refuses to change directions.”
Can the wind of the blogosphere permeate the atmosphere of the halls of our government in Washington? Let’s hope so.