People are really romantic about the beginning of things. A fresh start. A clean slate. The world of possibilities. But regardless of what new adventure you’re embarking on, you still bring you into every new beginning you have in life. So exactly how different can it possibly be?
It’s all any of us want. A fresh start and a clean slate. Like that’s going to be any easier. Just ask the guy pushing the boulder up the hill. Greek mythology has it that Sisyphus was a sinner condemned in Tartarus. He was punished in Hades for his misdeeds in life by being condemned eternally to roll a heavy stone up a hill. As he neared the top, the stone rolled down again so that his labor was everlasting and futile.
Many times when I have fallen off my track to be “psuedo” healthy and workout, I make the horrible mistake of starting over too fast, going too hard, way to soon. My mind tells me that I can pick up exactly where I left off and simply start running or lifting again. #1 I have to remember that I am not as young as I once was so therefore I cannot do some of the things I used to do. #2 my ego tells me that i can just start back running like I did 15 years ago with zero problems. Boy let me tell you, I have been wrong so many times on this. So this time I changed it up a bit. I set my ego aside and simply started over with walking. Sure I hope to build my way up, but what is the rush and at what cost.
How many of us have felt like we were moving forward, but at the same time making no progress? I think many people will tell you that it is a waste of energy to move but not make progress. I happen to think they are wrong. There is this notion that if you aren’t moving forward then you are not being effective. They will try to tell you the difference between being effective and being efficient. To be honest I have said those same things also, but I am learning that life is about perspective, timing, and location.
There are benefits to doing jumping jacks. There is a benefit to running on the treadmill or the elliptical machine. See I think often times we are measuring our progress by what is seen by others or what is externally seen. You can visually measure how far you’ve run, if you were on a trail or a track. You can see where you started and where you finished. But there is an internal benefit that is also valuable, whether you run outside or on a treadmill. The heart. The most important of all organs is being worked. It is being pushed. The lungs are being expanded and stretching themselves beyond the capacity they once were. So I would argue that the internal benefit is much greater than the exterior more noticeable one. So don't let people tell you that movement is not progress. It simply depends on the perspective.
So no matter where you are, how hard you’ve fallen, or how low you have sunken. It is ok to start over by simply starting over.
We had a memory game when we were kids. A bunch of cards face down in rows. Each card has a picture on it. The object of the game is to turn one card over and look at it, then you turn it back over. Then you have to try and remember where its matching card was. Sometimes you have no idea and other times it shows us exactly what we need to see. The cards seem completely out of order and random, but keep turning them over. And the more cards you see, you may get a sense of how everything fits together.
Life is sometimes like that game. It appears that we randomly go through life, doing sometimes meaningful and sometimes meaningless things and we try to find the matching card so that we can claim that “book.” Sometimes is super clear what we are doing but more often than not, we don't have a clue. My friend Alex teaches a lesson on connecting the dots of our lives. How when we take a step back and look over our lives, we can see how all the seemly insignificant events have all shaped us into who we are. Good or bad.
The “Grand Weaver” has strategically placed us in situations because he knows that somewhere down the line we will need that experience. But here’s the catch, the experience, and the benefit might not even be for us. Everything that happens in our lives isn’t about us. In fact, I might even say, rarely is it about us. It is about the people we are connected to and who we are supposed to encounter along the road of life.
Most times the road we are on is a treacherous road, with speed bumps, and potholes. Sometimes we find ourselves traveling the wrong way down a one way street, trying to either quickly turn around or sometimes by the time we notice we are so far down the street, that we just keep going the wrong way, knowing its the wrong way, hoping and praying a car doesn't pull out or the police don't come.
We want so desperately to get off of our road. This is the road where horrible things happen, so often time we want to run or hide trying to escape the disaster. Look at me, I am surrounded by death daily. Its probably hurts me in ways I may never get over. I have lots of memories of people, people I’ve lost forever on this road. But I have lots of other memories too.
This is the road where I fell in love. The road where I found my family. This is where I’ve learned to be a person of character. Where I’ve learned how to take responsibility for other peoples lives and it’s the place were I met you. So I figure this road has given me as much as it has taken from me. I’ve lived here as much as I have survived here. It just depends on how you look at it. I choose to look at it that way.
In the world of medicine, an hour is everything. They call it the golden hour. The time when a patient lives or dies. I generally have a very hectic schedule. Because I have a great deal of responsibility, I usually spend most of my day running from one thing to the next, without very much time in between. So by the time the evening is coming to a close for most, it is time for mine to actually get started. You see, I work nights, and have to be at work at 11pm. It is a blessing and a curse all at the same time. I love working nights because it gives me all day and evening to do all the things that I need to do, plus it does’t take away from my time with the young boys of Men of Purpose.
Because my day is so hectic often times the only time I get to rest is about 9:30pm, when I lay down to get a quick power nap. If I haven't gotten any sleep that day, I look forward to the one hour nap I get to take before heading to work. And sometimes, that is all that I need. Just a little hour to help charge my internal battery to get me over the hump. So imagine how frustrated I get when that one single hour is interrupted with a phone call or an unnecessary text message. The crazy thing is nearly everyone knows I work nights, so why in the world would they call me during the one hour I am trying to rest? So to me that one hour is everything.
How much can we actually accomplish in an hour? Run an errand maybe? Sit in traffic? Get an oil change? When you think about it, an hour isn’t very much time. 60 minutes, 3600 seconds.
An hour? One hour can change everything……forever. An hour can save your life. An hour can change your mind. Sometimes and hour is just a gift we give ourselves. Ask any lady who takes the time out to pamper herself for a massage or a manicure and pedicure. That hour is often all she needs to reboot herself. For some an hour can mean almost nothing. For others an hour makes all the difference in the world.
But in the end, it’s just an hour. One of many, and many more to come. 60 minutes, 3600 seconds….That’s it. Then it starts all over again, and who knows what the next hour might hold.
As a Detective that investigates homicides and violent crimes, I spend a substantial amount of my time in emergency rooms. To be honest I focus a lot of my attention on my victims of homicides, but never really took the time to think about all my victims who have been shot or stabbed who actually survived their injuries. Almost as if them being victims didn’t count, after all they survived, right?
I have learned that the first 24 hours after surgery are critical, every breath you take, every fluid you make is meticulously recorded and analyzed, celebrated, or mourned, but what about the next 24 hours.
I have learned that the goal of any surgery is total recovery, to come out better than you were before. Some patients heal quickly and feel immediately relief. For others they heal gradually and it is sometimes months or even years later that they realize they do not hurt anymore.
We all experience the bruises and pains of life. Some bruised are minor scrapes that we hardly notice and we continue to function. Some bruises are much deeper and they are painful to the touch. Believe it or not, pain has a purpose. It is the brains way of reminding you that that area is injured and you need not bother it, because it is not fully healed. Many times we experience horrible pains that we believe are so severe that we cannot recover and we cannot see past today.
In a perfect world there would be no pain, no sorrow, or no guilt, but we don’t live in a perfect world. We live in a world marred by human beings who have human experiences which are painful and our pains are a matter of life. But lest not forget that in this life there is also majesty and wonders and joys and pleasures, and all the things that make life beautiful and a gift from God.
Often times after the pain is gone a scar remains where the injury was. Although the area is no longer is in pain, the scar remains as a reminder and indicator of what you've been through. The thing that we thought was going to take us out didn’t and we survived. So lets look back over our scars and wear them as almost a badge of honor that we are still standing. A little battered, a little bruised, maybe missing a body part, but still standing.
So the challenge after any surgery is to be patient. But if you can make it through the first few months, if you believe that healing is possible ,then you can get your life back. But that is a big IF.
I must be 100% honest when I tell you, I am not that big into change. I admit, I like routine and structure. I enjoy knowing that the things I have to do this week are the same that they were the week before, and the year before. Often times, during dog training, I have to explain to clients that their dog is making an adjustment. Depending on how old the dog might be, I explain that change is hard for everything and everyone.
We, just like my client's dogs, have to figure out, why we can no longer do freely the things that we used to be able to do so easily and without restrictions? Why are things changing around me? We find ourselves in a familiar place but maybe the people are totally different or worst even, we find ourselves with familiar people but the environment has changed or shifted.
Change is a funny thing, not everyone can handle it. it can sneak up on you. Things aren't what they used to be. The entire world has transformed. A few months back I started a 12-week challenge. Nothing huge or dramatic. The goal of the challenge is to for every day for the next 84 days to do something that will make me grow (Physically, Intellectually, Emotionally, and Spiritually), regardless of how you feel.
I was able to make a choice to change for 84 days, hopefully creating a habit that will endure. But what about those of you who didn't make the choice to change and life rocked you? Your entire world is transformed. You realize the ground beneath you has shifted and things aren't certain and there is no turning back.
The world around you is different, unrecognizable, you're stuck and there is nothing you can do about it. Like I said, I'm not big into change.
It's with great pleasure that I share photos from our 2017 -2018 MOP Family Dinner. On Monday, June 10, 2018 our MOP parents, siblings, and boys gathered together to break bread and eat pasta at Leona's. We celebrated with one another the highs of our year together. At the conclusion of our night four of our MOP boys received awards.
The HEART award was given to the young man who displayed courage and tenacity
The VOICE award was given to the young man who continually shared his own original thoughts and ideas.
The RESPECT award was given to the young man who displayed a keen ability to take ownership, accept responsibility and self-correct when necessary.
The FOCUS award was given to the young man who displayed a willingness to follow directions, stay on task, and not become distracted by others.
The entire night was a time of celebration of what it means to become a man of purpose. So as M.O.P. moves forward in transforming lives, we look forward to your support.
Why is "Real Men Read" necessary? The research is clear: if children cannot read proficiently by the end of third grade, they face daunting hurdles to success in school and beyond. Third grade marks a pivot point in reading.
And those struggling students are disproportionately poor students and students of color. The good news, almost all children can learn to read at grade level. Unfortunately, not all children have access to resources and some enter school already behind, due to such factors as family poverty and parents’ lack of education and engagement.
I called on all men to participate in this program and help close the gap. I am proud, honored and humbled by the men who showed up.