A Tale Of Two Cities

 

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I got this title from a piece of American Literature by Charles Dickens, that people deem a classic.  I can honestly say, I have only read the first page of this book.  And it has been over 20 years since I have read that page.  My purpose in stating this is to say that I don’t know the premise of this novel.  I couldn’t tell you anything about this title, other than the first sentence, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” Which has some relevance in what is to come.

I recently returned from a trip to Nassau, Bahamas.  As soon as you get there, you’re placed in a heavily populated tourist environment.  One can barely get through the gate before the natives begin to overwhelmingly approach you offering you their services.  I will never knock any man’s hustle, we do what we need to do to take care of our families, so I was good with this experience. But then we took a tour of the city.  The observer that I am did what I do best, sat back and watched. The streets that they took us on first to view were extremely narrow. The houses were small, some seemed to be ran down.  As our guide navigated, he showed us wells where the natives would send their kids to gather water because their homes didn’t have running water.  The city looked poor, but the people’s spirit was quite the opposite.  You’d see people outside enjoying the life that they have.

We rode through a market right off the ocean where merchants selling fresh fish.  Watching this was amazing.  I observed one the natives handle Conch.  They waste nothing every piece of the fish has a purpose.  He pulled it out of the shell and explained what he was doing to us tourist.  He spoke of how the skin of the Conch was good for fish bait.  He talked of how they would clean the shells afterwards to sell as souvenirs.  He even spoke of how at times the break the shell down to put around the ocean floor as a way to shield the island from hurricanes.  I’m not sure how that works, but he is the expert.  He and the others working these stands were all full of life.

As we exited that area, we crossed a bridge that wasn’t even five minutes away.  The other side of the bridge told an entirely different tale! The roads were wider.  The buildings were complete.  Huge mansions, decked out yachts, manicured lawns.  Homes full of electricity, running water, and all of the amenities.  The Atlantis Hotel, were the have rooms for $32,000 a night was near.  This side of the bridge just exudes money and wealth.  Despite how beautiful this side of the bridge was, it seemed empty, almost dead.  There was no one outside.  There were no smiles or welcoming waves being offered.

As the guide drove about the other side of the bridge, he began speaking on how the people from the poorer side weren’t even permitted to go to the wealthy side.  Not even to take pictures.  I tried so hard to wrap my mind around this.  I tried to find a justification for the way the “Lower” class was treated.  I failed.

The contrast of this unequally divided city truly broke my heart.  In all honesty, this was the worst part of the trip.  It baffles me (even in the States), how there could be such a distinct difference in classes.  It baffles me how, people can be so close to devastation or at least poor living conditions and not have a desire to help out.  A phrase that comes to mind as a result of this experience is, “Am I my brother’s keeper?”  Looking at Nassau, America, and what is happening in the world, the answer to that phrase is a loud, resounding, “NO!”  We are all guilty of this at some point or another.  Still, even with all of the above, I am still hopeful.  Sam Cooke sang, “But I know a change is going to come!”  He is one hundred percent correct.  But the change to come will not be a positive one if we all don’t get on one accord and begin seeing the value in one another.

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Wind Out Of Your Sail

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Sometimes, life has a way of taking the wind out of our sail.  And it’s not that the wind is no longer there.  It’s more that we  have to adjust our sails to catch the wind.  Refocus yourself.  Enjoy the beauty of the new journey that you are about to embark on.

Love you, be blessed! – AWS

Keep Going!

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I came across this image today and thought it was worth sharing.  Remember, you are much stronger than you think.  Every step you take increases your strength.  You’ve come to far to just stop now.  Keep pushing.  Keep going.  Don’t give up.  You’re closer than you realize.

Love you, be blessed – AWS 01.19.18

10 Things 2017 Taught Me

2017

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  1. A simple conversation can save a relationship.

I am a very observant person.  Throughout the year, I have watched as friendships have soured over some minute conflict.  It’s really unfortunate.  Especially being that everyone is an adult.  There are very few people who can earn the title of Friend or Family.  When you find someone that does, do all that you can to resolve whatever petty issue you may have.  The sooner we do that, the sooner we can begin creating amazing memories again.  Sadly, I’m guilty of not initiating these much needed simple conversations.  To those that have been affected by my lack of initiating I offer my sincere apology and promise that I will be the initiator going forward.

  1. You cannot teach principle without living principle.

Our actions speak far more loudly than our words.  With maturing we understand that the statement, “Do as I say and not as I do” is no longer a valid statement.  There are few things more powerful than when our actions and our words are on one accord.  The best teachers explain principle while simultaneous putting principle on display.

  1. It is hard to work under an unwilling leader.

A true leader desires to equip and train their team to be self-sufficient.  The goal is that in their absence, nothing within the current program falls apart.  A true leader delegates work, but doesn’t pawn their work off on their team.   They are both fully knowledgeable and functional in their role.  A true leader accepts responsibility for, as well as shares the accolades with their team.  Much like any other team, if one isn’t functioning in their area properly, it leads to frustration.   It leaves you with a disgruntle team and an uncomfortable environment.

  1. It is hard leading an unwilling worker.

A true leader invests their all into the development of the team members.  For a member to be on the team, the leader had to see something in that member.  It becomes extremely disheartening when the team member doesn’t reciprocate the effort presented to them.  Once a leader has exhausted all of their energy into the betterment of a team member to no avail, there is no more use for that member on the team.

  1. You can’t unlock your future without resolving the issues of your past.

In an effort to pursue personal passions in life, I often have to put my passions on a back burner.  I’ve made some unwise decisions in the past that I have ignored, tried to escape, wanted to run away from.  Despite all of my efforts, my past repeatedly chases me down.  You’d think I’d understood this principle the first time I experienced it.  But like most, I’m hard headed and at times I could easily be the picture beside the definition of insanity (doing the same thing over and over expecting different results).  I had to decide to stop running.  I had to stop avoiding.  Carrying burdens of the past is hard and heavy.  I refuse to do that through another year.  I (much like you) have so many gifts locked up inside of me.  But our gifts were never meant to be imprisoned.  My potential will not go to waste from the fear of dealing with the past.   You reach a point in life where not meeting your potential is far more fearful of anything you have to face from yesterday.  Resolve and move forward.

  1. Habits are everything.

Habits can be good, or they can be bad.  Habits can be beneficial, or they can be damaging.  Habits can be changed, or they can remain the same.  Though, no matter what the habit is, it is you that decides what it is.  We must constantly and honestly review our habits.  If they don’t bring an enhancement, it would be wise to replace them habits that will.

  1. Just because something is real doesn’t mean that everyone sees it.

This year has been plagued with controversy and division.  There are many issues in this world.  Race in particular has been a long lingering ugly issue in the United States.  But I’ve learn that just because an experience is real to one doesn’t make it real to another.  No matter how hard one tries to make another understand, if it’s not their desire to understand, they never will.  What I haven’t learned is how to respond to the one that desires not to understand.  That to me is the conundrum of our country.  We will have to find the solution, or implode, whichever comes first.

  1. Reading/knowledge is the key to freedom

One of my absolute favorite passages comes from the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass.  Douglass says, “From that moment, I understood the pathway from slavery to freedom.”  You may say, “What’s so great about that quote?”  It’s not the quote itself that I love; it’s the moment that birthed the quote that has me mesmerized.

To paint the picture, Mrs. Auld, the wife of Mr. Douglass’ master was teaching him how to read.  When Mr. Auld became aware of what was going on, he was burning with anger.  To paraphrase Thomas Auld, “If you give him an opportunity, he will make the most of it.  It would forever unfit him to be a slave…It would make him discontented and unhappy.”  Again that’s a paraphrasing, a much nicer one.  These words generate thoughts too abundant for my purpose.

My point is, Knowledge Is Freedom.  Once you gain the information that is needed, nothing can stop you from accomplishing what you want to accomplish, with the exception of you.

  1. Your time is what you make it, get the most out of it.

There are not many things in life that are distributed equally.  In fact, there is really only one thing that comes to mind; time.  Not in the sense of the number of years, more in the number of hours in a day.  This is not principle, but it’s one that is worth learning and relearning over and over again.  One’s time management shows exactly what’s important to you.  Make the most of it.  It is perhaps the only thing that is fair.

  1. If God has called you to it, you can’t escape it.

Trying to escape your purpose is about as pointless as hiding a flame under a sheet of paper.  Who you are can’t be hidden.  The need of fulfilling your purpose will eat away at you daily.  Work towards purpose on purpose as fulfillment satisfies your soul.

Love you, be blessed – AWS 12.19.17

No Comparison!

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Don’t allow what appears to be for others to distract from what really is and or can be for you.  There is no comparison!  Comparing yourself to another will only rob you of your peace.  Be yourself, as you continue to cultivate your greater self.  I guarantee, you’ll love the results!
Let’s make today great on purpose!

Love you, be blessed! – AWS 05.30.17

Breathe.Relax.Enjoy

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You’ve endured this week.  Life has perhaps thrown several unexpected things your way, but you have overcome it all.  Now it’s time to sit back and relax.  Breathe in.  Breathe out.  Lay all your worries down and take a moment to enjoy life.  You deserve it!
Let’s make today great on purpose!

Love you, be blessed! – AWS 05.26.17

Like A Boss!

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The struggle makes you stronger.  Marvel in your strength.  The moment that you realize that the struggle hasn’t stopped you, is the moment you realize that you are unstoppable!  Walk in your strength!!!!
Let’s make today great on purpose!

Love you, be blessed! – AWS 05.25.17