Posts Tagged With: trust

BROKEN


Ughhhhhhh!!!!!! 😩

My heart hurts. My mind is full of anger, confusion, and worry. I want to CRY and SCREAM and RUN and FIGHT… and hide, all at the same time. As I told someone else, I don’t have the emotional bandwidth to engage with people right now. So there will be no debate here. You either hear me, or you don’t. But that’s up to you. What I know is that I have been unable to sleep, and in my time of reflection, there have been myriad thoughts swirling around in my mind. Up until now, I have not spoken freely. But this must change.

And so, I will no longer remain silent.

To say that we reside in a nation divided, would be an understatement. It hinges upon readily observed and documented injustice, along with a perceived hopelessness, perpetuated by the repeated occurrences of mistrust, brutality, prejudice, and discrimination that I fear have now come to define the character of our country, to its citizens as well as the rest of the world.

These attributes have been affixed to the very nature of who we are as a population, brought about by the actions of those who have been appointed, and thereby obligated, to be the benevolent and compassionate custodians of liberty, safety, and justice for all.

But somewhere along the way, the vision was lost, or perhaps it was intentionally discarded.

We have become a nation in which the pursuit of wealth and success comes at the cost of compassion and consideration of others. We are teaching our children that it is socially acceptable to be selfish and obtain their definition of happiness by any means necessary. And in so doing, I fear we have developed a culture that prizes possessions over principle, money over morality, and status over solidarity. In a country whose very name embodies cohesion and promotes collaboration, The United States of America, we now seem to encourage divisiveness and egocentric aspirations.

We have been broken.
Broken promises.
Broken relationships.
Broken trust.
Brokenhearted.

I’m not sure how much more my heart and mind can endure. I used to think that civil dialogue could help heal the wounds between us. But in this current civilization, civility is not always possible. I learned a long time ago that people motived by feelings, who take action before considering the consequences of those actions, are NOT interested in talking. They are only interested in purging their emotions by any means necessary. There is no reasoning with them.

But I’m tired.

Tired of being the black man who is all too conscious of the fact that wearing glasses makes me appear less threatening. Tired of being the one who some people point to as the example of a “good black person” (wth is that anyway??). Tired of being the father who is constantly updating the Minority Rules of Social Engagement, and reinforcing them to his fives sons and one daughter, as a contingency against the very real possibility that their lives could one day depend on them.

I am a black man in America. And to some, that means I am a life without value. Disposable.

But my life has value as much as any other human being. And I will do everything lawfully within my power to uphold that right and recognize that value, in myself and others.

As I sit here in tears, I’m thinking about how I used to avoid making such precise statements about my feelings for fear of people misunderstanding me, unfriending me or taking offense. But I will say this without reservation, your approval of me will never be worth more than the welfare and well-being of my family. I’m committed to finding solutions and taking action. But I will not sit idly by while the world descends into chaos.

If I lose friends over this… ask yourself, were we really friends?

Categories: commentary, current events, opinion, personal | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Feels: Importance


How many times have you felt undervalued by someone whose opinion matters to you?

How often are your actions dictated by the outcome you secretly hope for, but are not confident you’ll receive?

How many times must someone suffer disappointment before disappointment becomes their default expectation?

These and many questions like them have plagued me over the years. Why? Because when all is said and done, I want to be important in someone’s life. Whether they be relatives, coworkers and friends.  No, I’m not saying I want to be better than anyone. I just want to stand out amongst those they consider close. I don’t want to be lumped in with a nondescript group of “writers”, “singers”, “bloggers”, or “men”. I want something very specific to cross their minds when they think of me. Something that sets me apart from the rest. In a good way, of course. 

I can’t possibly be the only one who feels this way, can I?

Interpersonal relationships can be strange at times. I mean, underneath all of life’s chaos, I believe we simply desire true connection with other people. Even though we realize that many of these connections will vary in degrees of trust and intimacy. There will be some people you will have to keep at arm’s length. There will be others whom you will be able to trust implicitly.

Hopefully, we develop connections with people who desire the same type of relationship, and are willing to put forth an equal measure of effort. Because there’s something inherently draining about being on the short end of a non-reciprocating relationship. This has caused me to become somewhat apprehensive with people as I’ve gotten older. There is an underlying worry… maybe fear of rejection, fear of incompatibility, or the emotional (and physical) exhaustion of being an introvert who pours themselves out to depletion.

I think that’s part of the reason why I write, and specifically, blog.

It’s probably also one of the reasons it usually takes me a long time to get to know someone outside of seeing them at church, or through the words they send in an email or post on a blog, or even by the pictures I might observe in an album.

I have embraced caution. Perhaps too tightly, however.

Still, people are fascinating in the sense that they often bring a completely different personality to our interactions, or a heretofore unknown perspective on our world.  Even so, I understand that these types of relationships are vital. And in the same way that I desire to be important, I’m learning that there are many who likewise desire to be no less important to me.

And so, in spite of myself, I’m stepping out. (deep breath) 🙂 I encourage you to do the same. 😉

Categories: opinion, personal, relationships | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Lights Out


As you can imagine with six (6) children, my wife and I are no strangers to sudden, unexpected situations. Whether it’s a flooded bathroom, the smell of burning LEGOs, or the sound of shattering glass (and subsequent crying children), it usually means that we can pretty much forget whatever plans we THOUGHT we had for the day.😏

Even so, there are still those rare occasions that surprise us. Times when something really catches us off guard.

Such was the case yesterday.

Countdown Timer

As we prepared for worship at our 5:00pm main service, there were a few technical difficulties that, while not earth shattering, caused the service to be ever so slightly delayed. With the countdown timer nearing zero, we were all on stage awaiting the familiar sound of the tempo click in our in-ear monitors that signaled the beginning of the first song.

With enthusiasm and lots of energy, the team began to sing in earnest from the top of our lungs and the bottom of our hearts! 😃

Worship Team

And then, in what seemed like an instant, everything in the building shut down with a loud “THUNK!”. All the lights, monitors, microphones, computers, and instruments went dead. It was like someone hit the breaker and cut power to the entire building. We were plunged into darkness. 😳

What happened next was nothing short of amazing and awe inspiring.

The worship leader, thinking quickly, signaled us and had the singers continue singing the current song without missing a beat. He then encouraged the congregation to join in. Before I knew it, most of the musicians had left their instruments and joined us at the front of the stage. And without instruments or amplification, we filled the room with the sound of magnified worship! It created an atmosphere of immersive praise that emanated from every part of the room! 😍

Pastor on platform.

We finished a couple more songs a cappella as the operations team sprung into action and setup flood lights through the sanctuary. Once we had a decent amount of light, our senior pastor took the stage to address the congregation. He thanked God for those who were gathered in the sanctuary, for the church staff who attended to the children, insuring all security protocols were met, and for the willingness of everyone to help where needed.🙏🏽

He then encouraged the crowd to move forward toward the stage so that everyone would be able to hear him. and with none of the usual fanfare or elaborate video introduction that typically transitioned us from worship to the sermon, he began his message.

What followed was one of the most undeniably intimate and impactful moments I’ve ever experienced at our church.

We found out later that there’d been a car accident that damaged a transformer and knocked out power to the entire area. Our pastor prayed that everyone involved was safe, and before he was halfway done with his sermone… the lights came back on. 🤩

We ended the service with an original song that was written by our pastor and one of the worship leaders, appropriately titled, “Trust In You”. 

Categories: music, personal, religion, stories | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pull Of The Cape


Ever since I was a teenager I wanted to be a HEROcool Not the kind of super hero who foiled the plans of criminal masterminds with my single bound tall building leaps, locomotive power and bullet speed. Not necessarily the kind of hero who safely retrieved POW’s from deep in enemy territory.

No.

I wanted to be a kind of machismo-infused hero, rescuing contemporary “damsels in distress” who, in my limited experience at the age of 16, were so often the victims of relationships gone horribly wrong. The tales I’d hear of betrayal, degradation and distress from some of my female friends angered me, but also filled me with compassion and an overwhelming desire to comfort them in some way.

So it was that I wanted to be that stand-up guy who came along and mended their broken hearts by being to them what other men could or would not. Fulfilling their unrealized expectations. I wanted to fix the traumatized emotions of all the disappointed and disillusioned women I knew.

Ha! As if that were even possible.

As you can probably surmise, this was not at ALL practical or realistic. Still, it took me a long time to realize that, though I had the best of intentions, I simply couldn’t save everyone.

Correction…

I couldn’t save anyone. bummed

Except one.

To that one, I endeavored to define a man who successfully balanced his testosterone-influenced emotions with chivalry, romance and an understanding of authority. I made a silent promise to show her what it meant to be a modern-day hero upon whom she could always rely, trust and rest her confidence. I made a similar promise to my only daughter so that winning her heart would require the power and determination that only a hero possessed.

And yet, even now I will occasionally feel the “pull of the cape” begging to be worn when I talk to my female friends who are miserable and misunderstood. I refrain because I understood a long time ago that trying to be that for more than one woman would actually mean being that for no one. What I mean is that every woman deserves the undivided attention of the man who holds their heart. My divided attention would be both hypocritical and ineffective.

So for those, I simply listen with a sympathetic ear and an encouraging smile. And hope that one day THEIR hero will appear.

Categories: personal, relationships | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

DOVE NOTE #93: Self Worth


(from the forthcoming book “Dove Notes”)

While talking to my wife one evening, I was explaining to her just how deeply the issue of self-worth can affect a man, and how it will eventually penetrate every aspect of his life. A man who holds a low opinion of his own value will often have corresponding issues related to his work (motivation and ethic), his inter-personal relationships and intimacy (family, friends and colleagues), and even his health (physical fitness and diet).

One of my favorite original quotes is, “You don’t have to be all that you hope to be, in order to be happy with who you are right now”. See, for some men, when things are not how he wants them to be, it’s forever on his mind. He thinks about it…

Every.

Single.

Day.

Multiple times throughout a day.

He tends to think about it more often as soon as he wakes up in the morning and right before he goes to bed at night when there are fewer external distractions. There’s an irritating little voice inside of him that rehearses the ways he hasn’t measured up or has yet to achieve the success he desires. For some men it’s coupled with poor self-image and thoughts of “you’re too short/tall/fat/unattractive/loud/etc”. This inevitably affects his interaction with others, especially those with whom he’s in an intimate relationship. Partly because he doesn’t feel deserving of attention or affection until this distorted perception of himself changes. Because of this, there are men who unintentionally sabotage otherwise healthy relationships with this poison of their own design.

So how do men escape from this perpetuating cycle of misery?

It takes a certain degree of transparency and a willingness to be vulnerable to someone else. It’s important that he find someone he trusts and with whom he can be completely honest. Through this type of accountability, these areas of self-deception can be addressed and resolved to the benefit of everyone he knows. Unfortunately, pride often interferes with this process and some men stay stuck in this place indefinitely. Thankfully, when a man is surrounded by people who genuinely love him in spite of his flaws (because they recognize that we all have them), the trust between them can defeat this pride and finally get him to the place where his internal perception will align with the external reality of being accepted for who he is right now.

Categories: Dove Note, relationships, Series | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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