She was acting, but she made a difference

I’m writing this piece to share some personal thoughts about Nichelle Nichols, translator, communications officer, and linguistics expert on the Starship Enterprise.

In case you’re wondering why I’m assigning role-model qualities to a fictitious character of a now, fifty-six-year-old TV/movie franchise. An article I read today where Whoopi Goldberg talks about the impact seeing Lieutenant Uhura on the bridge of the Enterprise will lead you in the direction of why talking about Uhura is important. Whoopi was nine years old when Star Trek debuted on television. See said when she first saw her, she screamed for others in her house to come see the Black lady on television who wasn’t a maid or servant. Those were my sentiments, too. Before then, I had been served up countless helpings of characters carrying luggage, cleaning floors, invisibly occupying unimportant space on the screen (big and small). I was sixteen when star Trek debut, and I was also coming into the knowledge that Black folks had done and were doing monumental things in building this United States of America.

One of the greatest stories I’ve heard about Nichelle Nichols is when she met Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This happened after the first season of Star Trek had wrapped. She told him that she was leaving the show for a career in Broadway. Dr. King convinced her that she couldn’t leave the show. Being a fan of the show himself, he told her of the importance of her role. It’s interesting how someone else can see the forest of which we’re a part. I often think of how Nichelle’s leaving might have changed the future of the show. Would there have been the same flavor to the interplay between Uhura and other characters on the Enterprise. Well, I must confess to my crush on Uhura, developed during season one. So, no anyone else playing that role would’ve been a travesty.

Uhura was a strong Black woman, equal to all others in importance, as she went about the galaxy on a mission to seek out new life and new civilizations, going where no one (no man in futuristic 1966) had gone before. She has now left us for a second and final time; the first time when she stopped appearing on Star Trek shows, and the second when she left us, as Nichelle Nichols on July 30, 2022.

Art can have an important influence on life, even when it stretches the imagination in a science fiction show that takes us where we can only imagine.

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

P.S. This is my fifth mission into the Star Trek galaxy. Other posts I’ve made to little leased corner of cyberspace include Maybe we need a Star Trek, 11/26/19; Star Trek on my birthday, 7/21/21; Gene Rodenberry’s dream is good medicine for today, 2/28/22; Back to the future: Diversity for today from the 1960s, 11/15/2020. Do I have Star Trek on the brain? You bet!

Small things

Here’s facebook post I did seven years ago. You may find something in it or you may not:

Have you ever spent a lot of time grooming yourself to look your very best, not necessarily to impress anyone else, but simply to revel in the picture of looking your best? Then, when you’re about to exit the house, your significant other asks you to hold on for a minute. You wonder why. After all, there couldn’t possibly be anything you’ve forgotten, especially on your person since you spent so much time pruning and primping. She/he proceeds to pick a very small piece of lent from your shoulder. They do this without breathing a word of how the total package looks, but for some reason they noticed this almost microscopic piece of lent.

Metaphorically speaking, it is often the small things in life that count the most. Pay attention to the small things and thank those in our lives who notice the small things in our lives.

I hope you weren’t expecting something bigger. Have a great day of small discovery!

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

    Hurrying up isn’t a priority anymore

Do you recall when you were much younger? My assumption here is that you’re over sixty if you’re reading this. Please pardon me if you’re a youngster of anything under fifty. Getting back to the question, if you can recall the days of being knee high to a grasshopper, teenaged years or twenty to thirty something, you might remember being impatient. When I think of those times, I see myself never patient enough to allow time to take its course. When I was fourteen, I couldn’t wait until I was old enough to get my driver’s license. Seeing the joy on the faces of two of my cousins, three years older than I, tooling around in the old hoopties they had worked hard to save enough money to buy increased my impatience to wait until I turned sixteen. That rite of passage, taking a driving test would be mine to experience. With a driver’s license, I would enjoy my first foray into independence and be a legal risk on the road to myself and everyone else I encountered.

My two youngest kids, thirty-four and thirty are beginning to show signs of patience, but they still have a way to go before they reach that age where everything you’re in a rush to get to isn’t a fire. They’re still at that age where when they ask you for something, with follow-up shortly thereafter. Of course, they want whatever they want from me served up with McDonald’s speed. I must forgive my grandkids and my dog; it’s natural for their requests to be followed with whining and jumping up and down. Neither has a sense of longevity or brevity. They see it and it’s not where it should be, in their mouths, in their hands, somewhere in proximity so an itch can be scratched.

The title of this piece sums up my attitude about hurrying up for about anything, although I must admit, I still do move fast in the kitchen. I don’t mean to brag, but I can whip up a meal lickity split. I think it’s something in my DNA, which causes me to not want to wait more than an hour for a meal that I’m preparing. Alexa tells me that we’re moving through space at 1.3 million miles per second. We can’t feel it because the Earth is orbiting the sun, which is orbiting the center of our galaxy, which is barreling through the cosmic wind of radiation released during the Big Bang. When I think about that, I must accept the fact that there’s no speed on Earth any of us can achieve which can match that. I think I can just relax and enjoy the ride; a ride that has taken me on a journey during these past seventy-years far greater in distance than my mathematically challenged brain can begin to calculate. I’ve also come to the realization that it (whatever it is) will be there when I get there. There’s no need to rush. At my age, rushing could result in something falling off. I’m at that age where replacement parts are hard to come by.

In the meantime, I’ll watch the young folks and the adds on TV continue to pay homage to the god of hurry-up. I see no need to stress myself in such an ungodly fashion.

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

                                                                                Your life

How old are you? If you’re at an age where you can review things that have happened over three decades or more, you’ve been given an opportunity to see how wonderful life is. However, I want to make it clear what I consider life to be. The Yogi, Sadhguru doesn’t consider life to be the things external to your vessel, your body. He has been known to say that life isn’t things like your job, community, your family and so on. These are life experiences. Your life is the self-contain biological unit that breathes and navigates through the years it lives on this planet. I agree with that assessment. That characterization of life begs the question: How well are you managing your life. We can’t do very much about what goes on externally to our vessel; however, we can manage our emotions, our health, our intellectual achievement, our attitudes, as well as other components of our life.

Have you been known to say how others make you angry, happy, sad, and so on? Is there a string or some sort of control button protruding from some point on your body which others have access to, allowing them to control how you respond to any given situation? Are you continually experiencing some emotional state that you’d rather not be experiencing? Maybe being aware that you’d rather not be in this state is a state of mind that’s prompting you to do something about it.

I’m so far away from being a mental health professional that I must make it clear that my thoughts in the blog aren’t informed by medical training. However, I have lived a long time on this planet, and I’ve experienced a lot of external stimuli. Much of it has been negative, not good medicine for a healthy mental state. I certainly don’t discount my life of faith, which gives me plenty of fuel in sustaining a healthy mental state. Faith in God, for me, has little value if I can’t use it to navigate the day-to-day struggles that are bound to be ahead. I can have faith in Jesus, and I do, but I must find a way to use that faith in my inventory of wisdom tools. It’s these tools that equip me to look at circumstances and respond to them in ways that are best for my mental health. I started thinking decades ago that there are only two people who continually have my beat interest at heart: God and me. And I’m not the most dependable of the two. Others-family, friends- do have my interest in their hearts, but they have a full-time job trying to maintain their own balance in meeting life events.

We’ve been given the greatest of gifts, life. The entire universe is about life. We shouldn’t allow outside influences to interfere with us doing all we can to have the best life we can. We should eat well, exercise, meditate, use all the wisdom our god provides to develop our lives to be the best they can be. That state of consciousness will better prepare us to be good service to ourselves and to others.

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

I’m glad there’s enough good in the world

I used to watch the news regularly, CNN, MSNBC, local news, and other alphabets of broadcasting. I stopped taking large, continual doses of this mayhem, when I started to realize that depression was the outcome of viewing the depravity the media pitches at 6:00 and 10:00. There’s always a war going on somewhere, an incident where multiple loss of life happens, a case of corruption where some government official has absconded with something they shouldn’t have. The story is constant in nature, though small variances exist.

In case you’re reading this, and you might find yourself taking issue with the title. You might be thinking there isn’t enough good in the world. If that’s what you’re thinking, I understand; however, I’m speaking in terms of relativeness. I’m convinced there’s enough good in the world to keep us from eradicating all life from the planet. We have that capability. For the life of me, I don’t understand how we can place that achievement in the accomplishment column.

Good raises its head whenever it must, keeping us from plunging off the edge of a mighty cliff.

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

Yahweh’s Relief

The weather here in Arkansas has been brutal the last couple of weeks. Temperatures have been in the mid to upper ninety-degree Fahrenheit range with several one-hundreds thrown in for good measure. Anyone reading this outside of the United States that would be thirty-six degrees to thirty-seven. With high humidity added, the weather hasn’t a pretty sight at all.

A recent morning was another story altogether. After I finished my morning ritual of exercising, reading the paper, meditating, eating a little breakfast (not necessarily in that order), I decided to spend a little time on the back deck with my trusty Shi-Tzu (Ari). The weather was stark contrast to what we’ve been having. There was a light northerly wind blowing, visibly rustling the leaves on the tree line on the other side of the creek that runs behind our property. There was also a mixture of birds playfully riding the updrafts, making flying seem effortless. All seemed well in nature’s laboratory. Even the traffic noise from the expressway, about four miles away, was silent. I only heard the hush sounds of nature. It’s as if Yahweh was acutely aware that I needed a respite.

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

America the Beautiful?

Well, I suppose some miscreant figured the best way to celebrate America’s Fourth of July/Independence Day was to shoot at a bunch of folks in a parade in Highland Park, Illinois. Who knows why someone felt the urge to visit an act of random violence on people who were just out to celebrate the holiday?

I don’t know the details yet; however, early news reports say that six people were killed and more than thirty were injured. I’m intentionally not trying to get the numbers accurate, since they may change as time moves on. Even if the number was only one shot or killed, that would be too many. I probably shouldn’t admit this, but when I got out of bed this morning, I thought about whether we would have another mass shooting in our country today. Afterall, what better time for some misguided soul, with a high-powered weapon to express himself. Meantime, the debate goes on about gun control in our country.

For years, I’ve listened to the argument about the importance of an armed militia, the importance of Americans having access to protection owning a gun provides. Unless I’ve missed a report or two, I’ve not heard any account of someone with a gun stopping a mass shooter. These folks perpetrate the worse crimes of opportunity, leaving in the wake of their heinous acts shattered bodies, families, neighborhoods, as well as mental and emotional health issues that will linger for years to come.

I can’t help but think we (America) are excellent at putting on the best beautiful face we can, while the bad and the ugly continue to do things like what just happened in Highland Park, Illinois. When will it all end? All bets are that it won’t in my lifetime. If you’re reading this, not in yours either.

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

Father’s Day 2022

For those of you who follow me, you know that I don’t take each day I open my eyes for granted. I’m seventy-one years old now, soon to be seventy-two. Days like Father’s Day are like another slathering of icing on the cake. If I’m here to see and experience another one, I’ll continue to add blessings to my credit column.

This year’s Father’s Day had a heaping of exceptional value. I’ve made it through the worst of the pandemic, even though I had covid-19. All the articles, news reports and opinions from doctors indicated that folks like me, with underlying health conditions, had a heighten risk of not surviving covid-19. Well, I did, and now, well over two years since the onslaught of the pandemic, I’m here to celebrate Father’s Day 2022. It’s not just Father’s Day for me. You might say it’s Grandfather’s Day and Great Grandfather’s Day, too. Yes, I’m all three.

What did I do on Father’s Day 2022? I’m glad you asked. One added special thing to Father’s Day this year was the celebration of Juneteenth, which occurred on the same day. Juneteenth was the day in 1865 when Federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas to informed the enslaved African Americans that they were free Juneteenth – Wikipedia. I celebrated both days. The weather was hot as Hades, but Chris and I ventured out the day before Father’s Day to celebrate Juneteenth at a street festival put on by the Mosaic Templars Museum if Downtown Little Rock. After two hours of folks, and fun, we retreated to our airconditioned automobile sweat-soaked clothing and all. On Sunday, officially Father’s Day, we had our virtual Sunday school lesson, which I taught; then, we rushed off to church for services. Things are still too risky for our church to enclose people in small classrooms for Bible study; however, we do have worship service in the sanctuary, with masks and ample social distancing still being apropos.

After church, I was treated by Chris and the kids to a Chicken Alfredo dinner from The Olive Garden Restaurant. I’m not one who cares that much for eating restaurant food, but Olive Garden’s Chicken Alfredo is just too good to pass up.  I left church and went to the restaurant to pick up the food for us to eat at home. I’ve always thought families don’t make as much of a deal to celebrate Father’s Day to the same extent as Mother’s Day. The crowd at the Olive Garden proved me wrong this year. Folks were standing around in the foyer, waiting for tables, and out the door unto the deck. Getting takeout was a wise choice.

After stuffing myself with Chicken Alfredo, garlic bread and salad, I rested for a short while before retreating to my office where my trusted Shi-Tzu, Ari and I napped for good while.

Father’s Day 2022, a celebration to remember. I hope it was in your neck of the woods, too.

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

There are consequences to making the Devil proud

Several years ago, I made Facebook posts of upcoming Sunday school lessons. I’ve been a Sunday school teacher for over thirty years. I found these synopses of the lessons, that I posted on Saturdays, were effective at recruiting people to Sunday school. The following is a summary I posted on June 12, 2016. I’m not sure these summaries will work as blogs, but here goes.

Sunday school lesson for June 12, 2016

I remember days when I was but knee-high to a grasshopper. Those were days of carelessness, fueled by overwhelming desire to just have fun. There was no other calling so compelling, except to just have fun. Oftentimes, that drive ushered me into activities that made the Devil proud. Fortunately for me, my momma would-at times-show a bit of grace. She would make it clear that my behind probably should once again be connected to a fresh switch from the Weeping Willow in the front yard. It was at those times she would say, “I ought to whip your behind;” however, instead she would say, “If you do that again…”

The lesson for tomorrow reminds me somewhat of the preceding bit of remembrances. We’ll be looking at an account from Zephaniah 3:1-8. Here the prophet is letting the people, in particular the leaders of society, know that they were doing things that made the devil proud. God was not pleased, and He would reign down punishment, even on His chosen people (the Israelites), as He had done on other nations, not in His chosen group. The message God gave the Israelites through the prophet Zephaniah is clearly appropriate for our leaders today, and the dire consequences will be the similar.

If you sit in on this class tomorrow morning, you’ll see that we are in a repeat production of what the people were performing during Zephaniah’s time.

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

This year’s (2022) family gatherings                                              

Is the worse of the pandemic over? It seems to be anyway, and we’re all anxious to get back out and shake it up. My church is back inside the walls of the sanctuary. We’re having Sunday morning services again; however, we’re not having the full array of ministry meetings (Sunday school, Bible studies, and missions.) we would normally have. These small group gatherings require a certain amount of intimacy that is still too risky for now. People are still getting sick with the latest variant of covid-19, even though the effects aren’t as catastrophic as back in 2020 and 2021.

My family’s first large gathering for this year was May 28, when a sizable number of us gathered for a ceremony to celebrate my baby sister and her husband’s thirty-fifth wedding anniversary. There was a rededication ceremony and a nice dinner afterwards. I must admit, it seemed a strange to gather for this. Folks were dressed to the nines, and everyone enjoyed the socializing that has been absent from our inventory of social skills for what seems far too long. After almost three weeks, I haven’t heard any reports of people who have gotten sick because of the event. Of course, my family is a bunch of law-abiding, rule following folks, who are concerned about the welfare of others. I would venture to say that we all had been vaccinated.

Chris and I have two other family gatherings on our calendar planned for this year. We’ll be traveling up to Jonesboro in the Northeastern part of the state, where my oldest child lives, along with a few of my cousins. One of my cousins has a nice spread just on the edge of town. The last gathering, he hosted was over the July Fourth holiday in 2019. It was a well-attended event with folks from five generations having the best fun anyone could have. There was more food than any of us could eat. I wrote about this in a blog titled Familial: Familial – oldblessedwordpresscom. That gray-headed lady (Aunt Mary) you see in the first picture has gone on to be with her Lord. She was the one person who represented the top of the fifth generation. This year, there’ll be four generations present. I’ll be the oldest of the fourth (in descending order). Lord, please have mercy on me; elderhood has crept up on me suddenly. That’s another sign of being old and blessed. The other gathering will be Chris’ family reunion, with folks coming from around the country to Little Rock over the Labor Day weekend in September. This group will also be absent two members, Chris’ twin sisters (Bobbie and Gloria). They made their journey to the other side since the last family reunion.

The pause in the fulness of life brought on by covid-19 wasn’t a pause at all. Now, that things are getting back to some form of normality, we’re seeing that life continued its accounting function as usual, making entries in both the credit and debit column. In a sense, there really wasn’t a pause.

May God bless your family gatherings for 2022 and beyond, hug the little ones, have good conversations with the ones in between, and take notes of the wisdom shared by the elders.

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