Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Through My Tears - I SALUTE YOU!

After being away for over 5 years, I boarded a flight back to Africa; Accra Ghana; on personal journey of great purpose. I committed to embrace my journey in Ghana for 60 days to mend my broken relationship with my family and church. The transition back to Africa was a lot greater than I had anticipated. My body took quite a while to adjust; firstly, to the time change; then the hot climate; for some reason adjusting to the heat was far more challenging than I remembered when I first moved to Ghana in 2001. Gradually, after about 14 days my body began to get acclimated to the changes and I began to venture out to run basic errands, attend church, meet with family, friends and church member, and get acquainted with my new neighbors.

As I walked on the dirt roads of Ghana, and as I rode through the city via trotro; I intently observed the people of Ghana; especially the women and children. Needless to say, I observed heartbreaking poverty and an unbelievable unsanitary environment. As I witnessed such atrocities, there is sadness that over takes me, and I am overcome with unanswered questions. How can a country in the new millennium; in 2010, be so far behind in the development of basic infrastructure? Why are there so many people around the world, like the people of Ghana, deprived of living a life in a clean environment, clean drinking water, electricity, etc? How can it be that so many people suffer such extreme poverty in one of the wealthiest continents in the world - Africa? The questions were overwhelming; because it is very difficult to find any answers that make any sense.

I find my heart filling up with sadness, and tears welling up inside; as I watched the women and children working so hard; rising before sunrise; making preparation to sell goods and food at the market; or on the streets; to make barely enough money to feed their families just for the day. Mothers’ carrying their babies on there backs as they carry the heavy load of today’s goods to sell on their heads. Children that do not attend school; either because of the lack of school fees; or out of necessity to support their families; putting their lives on the line as they stand in the middle of the busy streets of Accra; in extreme heat; with soiled clothes on their back; and at times, bare foot; peddling pure water; plantain chips; sweets or gum, and a variety of goods.

In the middle of my emotion of sadness; there is this overpowering feeling of ultimate respect and admiration. Respecting how hard women and children work just to eat; without murmuring or complaining. They rise before sunlight to work until sunset just to make very little. I admire the hard work of the Ghanaian people; they work day and night, with a sense of pride, in awful conditions; yet they are able to wear a smile, and find a song and dance in their hearts. It makes me feel ashamed of how spoiled and lazy, as an American, I have become. I witnessed many people with their own businesses out of necessity to survive; whether it is a hair salon; a dress shop; selling food prepared earlier in the day; selling pure water; fruits and vegetables at the market and more. The Ghanaians are doing for themselves by any means necessary.

Although there is sadness in my heart for my Ghanaian Sisters and Children; there is tremendous respect. I salute them for their strength; both physically and emotionally. I respect their will power to survive with very little modern conveniences. They Make It; they Survive; they Thrive! I Celebrate their Stamina, Courage and Dignity.

Through my tears, I Salute You – Mothers of Africa!

Thursday, February 4, 2010


…James 1:2-3

When we take a look as what is occurring in our present climate, you realize that so many people are experiencing tremendous storms in their lives. There are so many negative events happening all around the world, people’s hearts are full of fear and uncertainty. So many are being shaken to the very core of their being, and aftershocks are flooding people with hopelessness. Personally, I have had my share of life’s storms. In the midst of the storm; my heart has been filled with sorrow and confusion.

A few years ago, I was going through a very difficult time in my life; there was so much pain and loss all around me. I felt myself gradually slipping into a depressed state; I felt overwhelmed and it seemed as though there was no end to the storms in sight. I began praying and fasting, and during my morning prayer and meditation I read the scripture James 1:2-3 “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall on divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.” COUNT IT ALL JOY? -- I asked God how is this possible, when there are so many things in life that causes us so much pain and sorrow. How is it possible that when I am hurting, that I can Count It All Joy? So I asked God for wisdom, clarity and understanding.

Have you ever heard be careful what you pray for?

Shortly after I made the quest for a deeper understanding, the storms kept on raging in my life. My business began to go into a slump, my finances were hit hard, my family was feeling the pinch and they were looking at me for the answers. I was betrayed by close friends and business associates, and I lost a lot of money and a lot of other people’s money to bad investments. My marriage was in trouble and I lost my first child as a result of a miscarriage. I buried two of my closest friends to tragic deaths, and my grandparents died 7 weeks apart. The pain was so overwhelming. I was frustrated and feeling like all hope was gone.

One morning as I was on my knees, I asked God “How am I supposed to count this all joy? How is it possible to feel joy, in the midst of the storm; I am feeling so much hurt and disappointment? How can I possibly feel joy, when I am physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted? Where is the joy in the midst of my endless tears?

Every waking moment, I continued to ponder this question, and as I began to seek understanding, I began to feel the need to say Thank You. So I pulled out my gratitude journal and began to just thank God for ALL things. “MOMENTS OF GRATITUDE” - Being grateful for life, the ability to take a deep breath; I began to thank God for my health and my strength; just grateful for seeing another day. In the midst of my storms, I discovered I still had so much to be grateful for. So I continued to give thanks, and little by little I began to feel a spark of joy enter my heart. I felt my soul smiling as I reflected on the many blessings in my life. I felt the joy of playing on the beach like a little girl on the island of Jamaica, I felt the joy of sailing on a beautiful yacht in magnificent Hawaii, I felt the joy of playing hide and seek with my 5 year old niece; I felt the joy of spending a Mother - Daughter weekend in Monterey and Carmel by the Sea for my Mother’s Birthday; I felt the joy of walking back through the “Door of No Return” in the Slave Castles in Cape Coast and dancing the dance of jubilee. I pulled out my numerous photo albums and scrapbooks and reflected on the life that I have been so blessed to live; the places I have been able to see; the experiences that I have had; all the amazing people that I have had the pleasure of meeting.

As I continued to have moments of gratitude, I felt pure joy enter into my heart. In that moment, I was overwhelmed with pure bliss; I realized that my current situation was a season in my life that was teaching me wisdom of living my life ON PURPOSE. No matter the storm; we CAN Count It All Joy, because once the storms cease, we will have a testimony of Victory! Every storm in our lives prepares us for the next chapter in our lives; increases our faith; teaches us patience; catapults us to higher heights; a Greater Purpose – a Greater JOY! --COUNT IT ALL JOY!