What is Your Purpose on this Earth?

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We have talked about our gifts and talents. Now, what do we do when we realize what they are? Well don’t just sit there! Use them!!!! If you are a good singer, join a choir or a chorus. If you like working with animals, shelters will love you! Like working with children? So many possibilities and so little time! There are many people who we know have taken there talent/gift and used them. One was our last President, Mr. Obama. He had a gift for speech and speaking. For the first time in my adult life I looked forward to hearing a president speak. He made sense. He boosted us up and gave us feedback and we made changes. 

There was someone else who was an awesome speaker. Martin Luther King Jr. I read his speech every year, because it’s in the literature book we use and because not  everybody has heard his whole speech….they just seem to remember the middle part.  If you read it, question yourself and others, have we continued his dream in our everyday lives? Here are some parts we need to think about:

“‘This note was a promise that all  black men as well as white
men would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life,
liberty and the pursuit of happiness. ” 

Many black children are raised by one mother, no  father, and they don’t believe they will make it to age 20. How is that rights of life? How is that pursuing happiness?

“We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.   It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. ” 

Many White people stood with MLK and risked their lives and families to do what was right. They didn’t wait, they acted. They used their talents to help others. 

“But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.” 

How many times I hear my students say, ” if they hit me I’m hitt’n back”. So sad and so wrong. That is exactly what Martin Luther King said not to do….

The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.  And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?” 

Well, I know I’m not satisfied with how children and women and people of any race are treated. He  had to have known that it wasn’t just one race or one culture that was to be targeted, but eventually, many races, cultures, and religions would get the same unjustified treatment.  For this next part you can substitute the word Negro for woman, muslim, Native American, etc…. this speech was written for a particular time of our history but it still rings true! 

“We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality.

We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities.

We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one.

We can never be satisfied as long as our chlidren are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating “for whites only.”

We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote.

No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream .

Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.”

Now the American Dream was a vision of freedom from persecution. A goal of owning land, home, getting an education and having little to no government interference. Then it became something different for different people. For the Native Americans, it was getting rid of the pilgrims then just getting the government to do the right thing….. For Pioneers in the central states it was surviving each weather and insect challenge that hit their crops. The American Dream leads us to want better for the next generation. So, now this part may be read differently by some.

“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor, having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, that one day, right down in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exhalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.”

Now let’s finish this out with a bang!!!! Go everywhere and do something to make things right. If there are people who don’t want to or who want to stay in the backwards world of prejudices then tell THEM to move behind a wall, where they don’t have to do anything except walk around in their own mire of hatred and disgust. Yet it is a free country but it makes no sense to offend 75% or 80% of us who don’t care about skin color or religion. 

” This is our hope. This is the faith that I will go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.

With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning, “My country ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrims’ pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.”

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.

Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado. Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California. But not only that; let freedom ring from the Stone Mountain of Georgia. Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”  —-Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 1963

This is timeless. Use your gifts today and tell us how you will use them. As for me, I have Choir Practice tonight, I teach tomorrow, and I wrote today. I used my gifts and I pray that God is happy.

 

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Your Gift Shows Who You Are

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How do you see me? Do you see my gift? Can I see yours?

so easy....

Evidently one of my gifts is publishing a blog with only the 3 questions above, which I am editing right now.

None the less, I can tell you that each of us has gifts. Some have the medical gift such as EMT’s , nurses, doctors, and first responders. They are the people who are calm when seeing blood or any emergency situation. They are the ones that will keep you calm when you want to go hysterical.  Then there are the Teachers, preachers, missionaries, writers. These people just want to help others learn what they have learned in life. There are the people who are gifted in figuring out problems and seeing solutions to the problems. These are the “Get ‘er Done!” people. These people are not typically born in the south or in tiny towns or they went away and learned how to get things done faster….

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Then there are the  people gifted in art and music. These people astound me when they can just sketch something beautiful and say it’s a doodle or pick up an instrument and learn it that day.cover for Li'l Critters

There are the ones gifted in photography. They can take pictures that make you want to become a photographer.

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Samantha (Sammy) taken by me 5/17

There are the number gifted people, like my father was, when he was alive. I am told he could add up columns of numbers in his head. even after a stroke, when half his brain was damaged, he could still do it…that is a gift.

Mom and Dad

A gift is something that is natural and knows no boundaries.  I teach everyday, even when I am not in a classroom. I pray my writing teaches someone something. My husband’s gift of helping people as a basic EMT did not know the boundary of our anniversary weekend a few years ago. I found myself running to get his bag. My father’s brain was damaged but his gift of numbers knew no such walls and still showed itself.  See, a gift is so natural that you find yourself doing it no matter what the day, time, or season.  The great thing is, we have more than one or we have one main one and then some off shoots of that one.

you get a gift....

 

What are your gifts? Can I see your gifts in how you react or respond to others or a situation? Can you see my gifts? Can you see God through my gifts?

It’s always good to know from others if what you are doing is being seen as you want it to be seen. So please, let me know by commenting and sharing my blogs. Of course if you don’t see any gifts, let me know so I can work harder to show my gifts…maybe that is your gift, to help others multiply their talents.

I look forward to hearing from you.                        find your gift

Our Life Is Not Ours, It's God's

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      A dear friend of mine wrote a philosophical book, (which is interesting because he majored in Archeology) and had it published a couple of years ago entitled, “What is Life and Who am I?” . It is a very intellectually deep answer to the basic questions we ask ourselves: Why was I born? What are we on this Earth for? I think I can simplify things, at least a little.

Some say we are born to share or use our gifts or talents.  You may say, “yea, what gifts? I work in a chicken factory or Burger King or I don’t have a job at all.”  I can’t tell you why some people earn minimum wage jobs or why others are let go from jobs they had for years. I can tell you that there is a very human/earthly part of life and a faithful part of life.  Humans…

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Faith is Love; Love is Having Faith

When I was living with my grandparents, the only safe school for this Protestant to attend in a 10 mile radius was a catholic school in South Orange. I was taught that God punished and gave and took etc… So I thought God took my mother away and made my father sick for some good reason.

Fast forward to a night when I had a night mare. I was probably around 13 I guess. I wondered down stairs and my uncle was up doing some paperwork or watching a movie or something.  All I remember is  that at some point I made a comment about how I understood why God took my Mom. My uncle looked at me in shock and said, “Is that what you think, that God took your mother?” I was a little taken back because I thought this man should understand, after all , he was brought up Catholic.  So, I said, “yes,” and he replied, “Melissa, your mother chose to drink. God cried with you when she died. He didn’t take her. He wanted her to make the right decisions but she couldn’t. God didn’t take her. God doesn’t take anybody. That’s why he gave us free will. ”

That made me change my view of God. I understood my mother’s death in a brand new way. I was finally able to get angry at the one who did take my mother away, my mother.  In fact I understood all bad things that happen in a new way. Man is born with an all uphill climb. Constantly fighting the easy way out, the wrong thing to do, the laziness, the greediness, the violence, etc…. Humans need to turn to their faith to fight all of this everyday of their lives and it’s our humanness that gets tired and stops and looks for excuses.  God told the devil to do what he will, the faithful will turn to God. He always loves us so us turning to him is saying that we love him.

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So, When someone dies, when we watch the news, or when we get bad news from the doctor, It’s not God doing any of that. Things happen on Earth due to circumstances or do to man and God cries, laughs, suffers with us. Christian, Jewish, whatever you are, you need some type of faith to see you through the good and the bad.

If the only reason you don’t believe in God is because you blame him for all that is wrong on Earth, think again! It’s not him! It’s Man!  or it just happens. Our job is to seek a higher being for guidance on how to get through it. For me that is God. He has been with me through 38 years of  the good, the bad, and the “what the….” .  Faith is Love, and loving someone is saying you have faith in them.

I have more faith stories and experiences but I will save those for another day.