This past Saturday, my fiancée and I were attending our weekly premarital counseling sessions at the church. The class is full of other couples preparing for their weddings and also a few couples already married looking to enrich their marriage. This was our 9th class out of the 12 week course. Anyway, midway through the program, the facilitator informed the class that there was another program going on in the church that he wanted us to briefly attend if we had time. So a number of us ventured downstairs to the fellowship hall where they were having a prayer breakfast for Breast Cancer Awareness. Those in attendance primarily consisted of Cancer survivors, caregivers, family and friends. As I walked into the room, I sort of felt uncomfortable. All the folks attending the prayer breakfast were dressed up and looking sharp and here I was wearing some jeans, a sweatshirt and sneakers. However, we were extended a friendly greeting and ushered to some tables in the back of the hall.
I sat there listening quietly to a number of people from different organizations talk about Cancer and how they are trying to assist those dealing with the disease. From that point the various victims of Cancer stepped to the podium one by one and told their stories. Each one of them shared personal testimonies of their trials and tribulations. They talked about the pain they endured, yet how their belief in God remained strong. It was very emotional at times. People began to shout “Hallelujah” all over the fellowship hall and began to praise God aloud. I began to reflect upon the family members that I have lost over the past few years from Cancer and those who are currently dealing with it. I thought about the months of pain management treatment that I underwent in 2004 at the Cancer Institute at Washington Hospital after the electrocution 2 years before that in 2002. I used to sit in the waiting room at the hospital and talk to Cancer patients while there for my appointments. Although dealing with pain from internal burns to areas in my chest, I knew that those folks were suffering much more than I was. Yet, most of the people I encountered there were pleasant and in good spirits.
Sitting in the fellowship hall that afternoon and listening to the testimony of those women, made me feel as though the pain I’ve been dealing with was small in comparison. The song Running Away by Bob Marley came to mind when he sang “Every man thinketh his burden is the heaviest. Who feels it knows it, Lord“. I wasn’t dealing with anything at all. I’m listening to these beautiful women talk about having their breasts removed and going through surgery after surgery after surgery. It humbled me in a way. It wasn’t just the fact that they talked about the struggles that they went through, but more for the joy and zest that they had for life. Yes, there were many moments where I got teary eyed. It was impossible not to get emotional in that environment.
One of the themes that the keynote speaker spoke about towards the end of her speech was to “aspire to inspire before you expire“. That phrase has been stuck in my head since Saturday afternoon. I’ve been pondering that thought and have begun to ask myself a number of questions. What is my purpose? What do I aspire to be? How can I inspire others to greatness? What do I need to do before I expire?
I suppose the reality is that we don’t really know who we impact by our words or our actions. How much of an impression do we have on the world? How much better would our lives and the lives of others be if with each action we had the intention to inspire? Instead of just trying to make it through each day and along the way complaining about our circumstances, we were devoted to being the best that we could be? What if we all believed that by being genuine that we could motivate and light a spark of positivity in others?
I honestly realized the power of my writing when I wrote a blog entry in April 2005 in remembrance of my best friend who committed suicide. I had no choice but to write that day because my heart was heavy. It’s not a situation that I like to discuss that often, but I felt the need to talk about it that day. I received only a few comments on that entry, but the response by email was overwhelming. A lot of folks who either were contemplating suicide, were close to someone who committed suicide or dealing with depression or family issues of some sort in their lives emailed me. A number of people thanked me for sharing my story. I even held email conversations with some of those folks about their sadness.
Many of the people who mailed talked candidly about their own problems. Sometimes people are dealing with things and feel like they’re alone. I’m no different. At times I’ll read something that someone has written and it will touch my heart or hit close to home. You never know who you may help by telling your story. I did feel like I was able to help some folks that day. Folks that I don’t know or have never met. But people who may have been at the end of their rope. I miss my man Eddie, but I feel like if I continue to talk about the situation, that it may help someone going though a crisis, while at the same time it is therapeutic for me as well. Some of my entries are of a serious nature, while some show my sense of humor. I’ve always been a writer and this forum allows me to scratch the itch of a young kid who at one time wanted to be a journalist.
Reflect upon a time in your life when someone had a huge influence upon you. Maybe something that they said or did facilitated a positive change in you. Maybe their words gave you a boost of confidence or the desire to move forward and not look back. It could’ve been anybody from a school teacher to a famous athlete or entertainer to a close friend or maybe even a total stranger. No matter who that person was, they quite possible made a strong impact in your life. It could’ve been from one simple sentence to long conversations over an extended period of time.
Many times it’s the little things that mean so much to us in the larger scope of life. It’s the indiscernible force field of positive energy that inspires us to believe in the possibilities, to be valiant and tenacious and to move forward. However because everything we say or do is not necessarily acknowledged, we’ll never know the true impact that we have upon others. Nevertheless, each of us have positive spirits within us. We all have the power to invigorate and affect others. If we live our lives with the desire to spark positive vibes and to inspire others, just imagine how wonderful that would be.
Just food for thought y’all. Have a good day.