You’re in my thoughts and prayers

I googled, you’re in my thoughts and prayers and this is what popped up: When offering your condolences to those who have suffered a loss.  It’s a lovely sentiment that may well be true. And it is understanding of their pain and empathy for the situation. But you might want to say something else. (The last sentence is particularly interesting).

This phrase has become the politically correct phrase used by politicians when they aren’t moved to do anything. It is often used when there’s been some tragedy that’s gripped the emotions of the American people, in particular mass shootings. There have been more mass shootings in America this year (2023) than days of the calendar. That’s mind boggling. It’s incomprehensible that our politicians aren’t knocking at the door of solutions, shopping for some remedy to what has become a public health crisis.

Most progressive minded folks would say the gun lobby has too many politicians in its pocket. That is probably true, but what’s even more amazing is that polls indicate that most Americans favor stricter gun laws; however, that doesn’t work well at motivating our politicians to do anything. A 2022 survey conducted by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research shows 71% of Americans say gun laws should be stricter, including about half of Republicans, most Democrats and a majority of those in gun-owning households. I seriously think polling numbers like that for any politicians, indicating the folks back home would like to see him/her booted out of office, would move the needle for beyond thoughts and prayers. Of course, that doesn’t indicate the folks want a change in representation. It only indicates that folks want something done. There is still a love affair with guns in America.

I’ve thought for most of my adult life that societal problems become real when they begin to affect the suburbs. If you look at drug issues, you’ll find that overdoses and deaths from drugs occurring in the inner city present little problem for most politicians. However, when these social ills creep into mainstream America, the hue and cry go out and something must be done. That dynamic doesn’t seem to be true where guns are concerned. There doesn’t seem to be any number of people killed or maimed  in mass shootings that will move politicians to be bold enough to draft and pass gun laws that are strong enough to decrease the level of madness we’re experiencing in America. One would think that mentally deranged individuals going into our schools and slaughtering our children would do the trick, but it hasn’t.

Yeah. I know we have this thing called the Constitution and the Second Amendment to it, which has been understood to give citizens the right to bear arms. Because of that, I wouldn’t suggest that the government take our guns away. But what good, upstanding citizen needs a military-style fire arm with the ability to fire armor piercing bullets. Enough of that. I simply wanted to make it clear that I’m not preaching total disarming of our citizenry. It would take repealing of the Second Amendment to do that. Good luck with that during my lifetime and for decades after I’m dead.

Until something is done to decrease gun violence in this dimmed light on the hill called America, I think we should encourage our politicians to stop with the you’re in my thoughts and prayers.

I’m old and blessed…hope you will be too.

Time shaker 1

There’s a phenomenon that often takes control of my thoughts. I can be doing anything and suddenly I find myself back at a point in my life reliving an episode. The images are crystal clear, as if they happened moments ago. It’s as if the recordings in my brain have been shaken up, and an episode is playing for my entertainment. Is this a thing for old folks like me? I shudder to think I’m having an Alzheimer’s experience. My mom used to recall stories from her life decades in the past when she was going through the degenerative effects of Alzheimer’s. She could recount in detail something that happened decades prior but couldn’t remember what she had eaten thirty minutes ago.

Here’s a time shaker experience I had recently: I was sitting at my desk preparing to facilitate my Sunday school class. Out of nowhere I saw this image of me at ten years old sitting on my uncle’s porch. It was a hot July day; my cousins were sitting around trying to stay cool. My fifteen-year-old cousin was hand cranking an ice cream maker. We country folks often made homemade ice cream back then.  This was a great way to get some relief from the heat and enjoy a sweet treat simultaneously.

The mind has this wonderful ability to play back sights, sounds, smells, taste, all identifying qualities that define an experience from the past. I could hear the cranking of the ice cream maker and all the surrounding elements that defined that moment. Out of all I could see; the most amazing thing was I could taste the ice cream; sixty-two years in my past I could taste it as if I was there.

I’m glad I don’t have complete control of my time shaker. At seventy-two years old, it has a ton of images to draw on. I look forward to the next trip back in time. I still forget the names of people I met thirty minutes ago. Alzheimer’s? No just a bad memory.

I’m old and blessed…hope you will be too.

History is often bigger than what we’re told.

There’s history, the renditions we get in school. We sit through a semester of American history, World history, or other segmented presentation of how we got here, and we think we’ve got it. However, these experiences don’t tell us about the history behind the history. For example, history tells us that Europeans went to Africa and captured slaves. This could not be farther from the truth. Europeans went to Africa and kidnapped people brought them to foreign lands and made them slaves.

History gives us the impression that Europeans captured or purchased Africans without regard to what they had to offer and shipped them across the sea. I don’t recall any class I had in elementary school, or high school that taught me the truth about the skills captured Africans had. Africans had to have skills to make immeasurable contributions to building America to the point of being that city that shines on the hill, beckoning others to come. I don’t recall any class in school that made it a point for me to understand the suffering of Chinese immigrants, who toiled to build the transcontinental railroad.

Millions of people, who never enjoyed its riches, built America. This is a statement of fact, without any judgment.

Images of George Washington crossing the Potomac and chopping down a cherry tree are wonderful, but what’s the story behind the story? Packaging a story to conceal the backstory is a disservice to all. History should tell the full story with all its warts. Those who suffered and those who gained from suffering can learn from the story behind the story. The story behind the story might just work to prevent stereotypes. It might just keep us from making the same harmful mistakes repeatedly. Why can’t we allow history to do what it might do best: keep us from making the same mistakes?

There’s an African proverb that tells us until the lions have their historians, tales of the hunt shall always glorify the hunter. Unfortunately, what we’re seeing now is the lions becoming more aware, but the hunter, who’s in control of the law-making apparatus is trying tirelessly to prevent the telling of the bigger story. The lion doesn’t want critical race theory. The lion wants to ban certain books in public libraries. The lion claims he doesn’t want children to feel bad about themselves. The lion claims he doesn’t want more separation that might result from negative views of the past unfiltered for all to see.

History from national down to family and community is always more than what we’re told. All our stories in their various versions are important to appreciate the bigger story. What’s that old saying about not knowing where we’re going, because we don’t know from where we came. I think it’s just as important to know how we got to where we are, also.

I’m old and blessed…hope you will be too.

                 I’m having a moment

I wonder if others have moments when they think about the problems of life: problems of injustice, problems of inequality, problems of poverty, problems of racism, ageism, sexism, all the problems on our planet that prevent us from living as one. I’m not depressed. I’m not dispensing with hope. I’m just going through a moment. It’s natural for me to think about all the human-generated problems that plague us all. We’re the only living creatures on earth that generate our own problems and find ourselves unable to solve them.

I often wonder if there’ll ever come a time when we’ll see ourselves as one and lay all the problems aside. My faith tells me that will only happened when God has His day of judgement. That will be that day when eternal residency with God of the saved occurs. I’m not writing to proselytizes. However, I can’t see peace and goodwill on our planet with the way we’ve been, are and will continue to care for it and all its inhabitants.

Yes. I’m having a moment. It will pass, and I’ll continue of my journey fueled with the God-given hope that comforts me each day.

I’m old and blessed…hope you will be too.


If you’re looking for something uplifting to read, stop right here. I’ve been experiencing a considerable amount of pain lately. It’s not the kind of pain you might think. My cancer is under control. There’s not any degree of physical pain from which I’m suffering that’s causing me to forgo my usual daily activities. Before I get into exactly what I’m talking about, let me talk about physical pain a bit. As I harken back to when I was in my twenties, thirties and even forties, I hardly had physical pain except when I injured myself in some way. Back then, I was an avid runner. It was common for me to run five miles in the morning before going to work, and to run after work, too. I felt the pain of shin splints occasionally.  I had a few days of rest, and I was fine. Pain sometimes came from other minor injuries, but none of these experiences were show-stopping.

At age forty-nine, when cancer invaded my space, took up residency, and continues to be an unwelcome guest, I’ve had pain of a genre like no other. However, this and all the physical pain I’ve suffered has been relatively quick to exit. I feel it. I go through the process of applying a remedy to rid myself of it. The remedy could be medication, surgery, or whatever is appropriate for getting over it and moving on. I usually know what’s going on, because it’s within me.

There’s another kind of pain that seems to take a deeper cut into your very being. It reaches down to those emotional triggers from which you try to protect yourself. Your experience is vicarious; however, the physical manifestation of the experience is no less real. You find yourself sitting in a dark spot, wanting to do something, but there’s nothing you can do physically. You pray. You wait for updates, which often fall short of offering the relief you desire.

I wrote recently about my cousin Hansel, who died from complications due to pneumonia. Hansel lived a thousand miles from me. It seems waiting for his death was all I could do. That’s pain like none other, for me anyway. The emotional weight is heavy. The emotional pain of waiting while a loved one suffers is different from whatever physical pain I might go through. It’s the pain that triggers us to lay down our lives for a friend. The bad guys in movies understand this pain. Often, they threaten the lives of loved ones or a friend in attempts at motivating someone to do something they want. They hit those emotional triggers square on the head.

This blog is in response to some emotional pain I’m experiencing right now. It’s the result of simply sitting at the keyboard and letting my emotions be my guide. I apologize for taking you through this; however, I find that writing about what’s happening helps. Your willingness to lend an ear works well, too.

I’m old and blessed…hope you will be too.

Look for another story, too

I recall when I was in elementary school, way back in the twentieth century, one of my teachers performed an experiment. You know the one where the facilitator tells one person something and tells them to pass it on to the next person. After the facts have been passed on to every member of the group the factual representation of what was initially told has no resemblance to how it started. This experiment brings to question the accuracy of testimony that’s offered in a few settings, for example courts of law where people’s lively hood, or worse life might hang in the balance. That’s why it’s important that more than one version of what is offered is important, and that some attempt at uncovering corroborating facts is done, too.

The famous Nigerian author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie gave a TED Talk some thirteen years ago titled The Danger of a Single Story (Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: The danger of a single story | TED – YouTube)             that highlighted how important it is to seek a different perspective by listening to more than one story. In her talk, Adichie tells of her experience as a young reader of Western stories and how these stories influenced the development of her view of the world. Of course, these stories had little to no relevance to the environment into which she was born. Being a young Nigerian, reading about snow and apples was interesting, but there was no snow and apples in Nigeria.

Stories are what we use to entertain, pass down traditions, influence others, and paint a picture of who we are. Stories can be good, bad, truthful or impregnated with more misrepresentations than anyone can shake a stick at. What matters is how they are structured and presented to achieve their purpose.

At seventy-two years old, I’m finding myself reexamining many of the stories I’ve been told in my life. There are many stories, for example, that have been the building blocks of my faith, which I now examine for fault lines. Think about this: How can Jesus, born in what we now call the Middle East, near Africa be Blonde and Blue-eyed? If one has some understanding of history, there would be a burning curiosity to see if there’s another story. This effort wouldn’t in anyway have to question the existence of the historical Jesus. It would however open a line of query as to why he’s been presented in the image he has for centuries.

There’s a move on the part of far-right politicians in the United States to prevent exploration of other stories in our public school system and public libraries. Educators and ordinary people have begun to question the versions of stories that have been told by the hunter for generations. Progressive-minded folks are saying that it’s time for the lion to tell its version of what’s transpired in history. Where this contention will end up, I’m not certain; however, I’m convinced that diversity of stories can result in greater understanding and acceptance for all who sit at the gate and share their experience.

I’m old and blessed…hope you will be too.

Other blogs I’ve posted about storytelling:

There’s honor at the feet of elders – oldblessedwordpresscom

Your story is important – oldblessedwordpresscom

Believe me, it does change your life!

If you follow me, you know I write a considerable amount about my cancer. This demon has been with me for over twenty-three years. It’s knocked me down times when I had doubts about whether I would get up again. Some of those bouts put me down for what I and members of my family thought were the third count. I’ve had pneumonia, resulting in hospitalization at least twice; a case of sepsis, necessitating me being put in a medical coma; a hip replacement probably due to chemical damage to the ball joint; as well as several other ailments that I would say worked diligently to take me out, if they had a conscious.

This has been a battle that I’m confident I’ve not been equipped to fight on my own. I’ve been exposed to an environment of spiritual faith all my life. My mother, my grandparents, and other family member as far back as I can remember have always believed in God. As I look back during the times they lived, it’s difficult to believe they survived and thrived to a degree as well as they did without faith in God. Living doing the days of Jim Crow was more than a challenge. At the time they were alive, they were my elders. Now that they’re gone, they are my ancestors, and their legacy is well entrenched in my memory.

I consider it no less than a miracle that I’m still alive and thriving. Cancer is supposed to be the bearer of death, the handicap that places severely debilitating challenges on your life. You’re not supposed to be able to live with joy. That hasn’t been the case for me. I would also say that it hasn’t been the case for many cancer patients today. I know several cancer patients, who aren’t in remission like me, but are living life abundantly. Isn’t that the way life is meant to be lived. One thing I would say is present in the lives of these individuals is a determination to live, not simply exist. I think we are conscious of the value of each moment given to us and that we should be thankful for each. Most so-called healthy people have no inkling about what might end their lives. Cancer patients have this little voice inside that reminds them they might be ushered into the next world by their cell destroying companion at any time. Of course, there’s faulty thinking with that, because often cancer patients die from something else.

Am I the person today I would have been had I not been attacked by cancer over twenty years ago? I don’t think so. I’ve invested a lot of time in meditating on that very question. You might find it strange when I say that cancer has afforded me that opportunity to live a much richer life. One example of this is the response I get from others. Whenever someone who has just been diagnosed with cancer looks at me and tells me they’re encouraged by my experience, I think my experience isn’t a useless one. Over the twenty-three years I’ve been on this cancer path, there have been many who have gained encouragement from my experience. I must believe that God wants me right here, at this spot. If not, wouldn’t I have been taken out years ago?

To live and live well with the grim reaper hanging around your front door is a faith builder. Yes, my life has been changed, and I wouldn’t have chosen a different path had I been given a chance to do so.

I’m old and blessed…hope you will be too.

The Power of Namaste

I’m very particular about what I reblog. This one is above and beyond my criteria. Thanks SaaniaSparke for providing me this opportunity to shine further light on this wonderful blog.

During my first few days at the University of Washington, I remember meeting so many new people. I vividly recall meeting a group of international students from different corners of the globe at a get-to-know-each-other board games event. At first, we were all hesitant and unsure about how to interact with one another given our diverse backgrounds. However, as we played a whimsical round of Scrabble and chit-chatted for a bit, at the end of the day we all wanted to blend in to feel appreciated and loved. So, what does this tell us about human nature?

Getting a little bit in touch with my roots, here’s the most beautiful thing I see in Hinduism: Namaste! This one gracious word reminds us that:

“We are the same. And we are whole.”

As a little girl, I remember watching people join their hands close together with a gentle bow and…

View original post 248 more words

                            Ad nauseum

What follows is something I drafted on April 5. Donald Trump was in court facing a variety of charges handed down by a grand jury. I thought I would have more to contribute to this; however, after a month, I’m left with only this. It sums up my feelings about the media and its sometimes success at boring me to death with what’s not news.

Yesterday Donald Trump was in court facing the thirty counts of crimes he is alleged to have committed. I was out running errands, listening to the media circus on my car radio. The experience of listening to this event was not without suffering. The commentators/reporters repeatedly gave the same worthless information. I see no value in knowing that Trump was wearing his signature dark suit and red tie. I had to listen to the following far too many times: Trump is facing an array of crimes no other American president has before; there was an absence of protesters expected to be present supporting Trump; there was an eight or nine car caravan delivering Trump to the courthouse. The list of useless mentions went on and on. There was nothing newsworthy to report, thus reporters consumed airtime with frivolousness.

Yes, I know I could have changed the station or turned off the radio. I did eventually; however, not before I had to pencil a few notes about my experience.

I’m old and blessed…hope you will be too.