I watched as the driver lazily kicked the excess debris into one pile, then he methodically positioned the massive claw over the pile of garbage. He lowered the claw and after several loads, all the garbage was gone. I wondered, if he knew that he was throwing away parts of my life in those boxes, would he have been a little more compassionate towards that “garbage”?
After I moved, I finally took the time to go through and consolidate boxes full of papers. I ran across old accounts, photos, my children’s report cards, awards, marriage license, divorce papers, old mortgage papers, bills and obituaries. Magazine articles, news clippings, letters from friends and old loves, birthday and Mothers Day cards, class transcripts from courses that I’d forgotten that I had even taken, journals, hospital records, poetry, certificates and event programs.
As I sat there going through my history, I realized how much I had already done and gone through in my life. But I also realized how much I had not yet experienced and I didn’t know if I ever would. I re-lived old pains, joys, regrets, guilt, anger, accomplishments and pride. I began to realize that I had regretted not continuing to play the piano, dancing, drawing and experiencing a myriad of other pleasures because I was stuck on this roller coaster of life that I had created. “Created” in the sense that I began to dishonor myself by loosing sight of who I was and was aspiring to be. And, I was becoming what society had molded me to be, a working machine (which happens when there is no consistent vehicle of self-expression, creativity or a channel for pinned-up energy).
By the time I finished consolidating, all the important papers that I kept were now in one box. My life, my history, was now in one box! Just then my sister called, and I told her jokingly and hurtfully that I had just fit my life into one box. She said, ”Well, look at it this way, you got rid of the things that you don’t need anymore, and kept the things that you do need. Now you have room for something new!”. She did have a point. I was so busy dwelling on the past (what I could have done, should have done, and wishing that I hadn’t done), that I should have been using that same energy to manifest what I do want to do, can do and will do.
Nowadays, most people live and function in survival mode everyday. They go to work, come home, take care of the children, pay the bills, and fall out dead tired at night and start the cycle all over again the next day. Once you get on that roller coaster of life, it doesn’t stop until you stop it. How much of your time is spent on fun or doing some of the things that you “used to do”, or reflecting on what you have done in your life, or the things that you still want to do in your life? I acknowledged that since I created this roller coaster in my life, I would have to put the breaks on and stop it, because only I could.
Many times people have expressed to me that their life is so hectic that they can’t take any time off, or that there is no room in their schedule for anything else. They rationalize to themselves that “one day” they will be able to do it, but not right now. I used to think that same way until one day there was a family crisis. I instantly had to rearrange my schedule to accommodate the crisis. The crisis moved to the top of my priority list, however, I still had to work, my children still had to be picked up from school, dinner still had to be made and the bills still had to be paid. But, a way was make to do all those things because they had to be done. There were still only 24 hours in my day, now with more things to do within those hours, but I made a way.
It occurred to me that my whole schedule had completely changed because I had made something (else) a priority. It also occurred to me that I was not even on my own priority list; so, I had to make myself a priority to me. I found the time (and money) for concerts, movies, as well as regular time for prayer, meditation and sitting quietly by the river. My schedule instantly changed when my priorities and more importantly, my mindset changed. I soon realized that the new life that I had created would only be temporary and I would end right back on that old roller coaster if I did not have a life’s plan.
I then sat down and began to recreate my life’s plan, which now placed me on my own priority list. I still am not playing the piano, dancing or drawing as yet, but I have finished my first book, I’m teaching, I have a product line and I have a lot more time to spend joyfully and peacefully with family, friends, myself and God.
Life is what you make out of it, and everyday you “get to” rewrite your life’s script if you choose to. If you do not like how your life is going and are having problems, remember that “Every problem has a solution”, but you have to invest the time and energy into finding the solution. You might rid yourself of some things or add some things into your life, but only you can change your life and make it into what you want it to be.
From time to time I run across that one box of my history neatly stored away, as I place new boxes beside it. One day I will have to go through those boxes too, some things I’ll keep, and some things I’ll set out on the curb for garbage truck #00-75-08.
Ma’at Seba is a motivational speaker and writer. Email her at Maatseba@yahoo.com or call (313) 861-1118.
Mom on the Rebound
By D. L. Gibson
SUN LIFESTYLE COLUMNIST
Did Pastor Thug Life just kill Tweetie?
A team of doctors and nurses ran to his aide, as security tried to restrain Pastor Thug Life.
Tweetie was knocked out cold. Then, all of a sudden, his legs started moving. He was still alive, but was hurt badly. A puddle of blood appeared on the floor under his head. Apparently, his head had hit the floor. Nurses quickly bandaged him up and placed him onto a stretcher.
Meanwhile, security has slapped handcuffs on Pastor Thug Life and called the police to haul him off to jail. Pastor Thug Life’s brother became furious and started threatening the guards. This thing was getting out of hand. Soon, we were going to have a jail filled with members of our congregation. It seemed like the crazy deacon could soon expect to receive company.
The Bishop was speechless. He didn’t know what to do. All he could say was, “Lord help us.”
Tweetie’s friends were in the lobby sashaying around and crying out loud. It looked like a drag fest in the hospital lobby. Mascara was running down their eyes, high heels were taken off, and wigs were tilted. Some of them had even pulled off their wig to get more comfortable.
Then, what must have been the queen of queens stepped up and comforted the Bishop.
“You hypocrites,” he shouted. “How can you call yourselves godly people, when you’re so violent? The Lord is going to get you for that. Don’t look down at us. How can you judge us, when your house ain’t clean.”
The queen of queens was going off schooling the Bishop on how a true Christian should act. Sister girl and I just stood back watching in amazement. What could we say?
This downlow thing had gotten out of control and was breaking up marriages and causing people to get physically hurt. I didn’t imagine that things would end up like this.
Pastor Thug Life’s brother was still having a fit. The only good thing that came out of it was news that the queen who bit him tested negative for HIV. It was bitter sweet, because it was too early to tell, if he actually has the disease. Just because he tested negative today, he could be positive three months later. Anyway, we took the news as a positive sign.
The crazy deacon’s wife was also reported as being in stable condition, after suffering a heart attack. They had her on monitors and were trying to determine if she has a blood clot. Hopefully, things will work out for the best for her as well. Even though she holds a grudge against me for exposing her husband in pictures at the gay club, I still didn’t want anything bad to happen to her. In a perfect world, we would be buddies and plot revenge on our husbands together. After all, I knew personally what she was going through.
What I didn’t know was why the media wasn’t down here getting a juicy story. This was the kind of stuff that would blow up nationwide. Although I wanted revenge, I didn’t have the heart to call the tip line.
The deacon’s wife’s sister and Pastor Thug Life’s brother were both setting it off in the hospital. She was hooping and hollering about her sister and he was cussing everybody out about his brother. Security was trying to quiet both of them down.
The police arrived and escorted Pastor Thug Life out of the lobby. Why did they walk him past the queens? Oh Lord...the queens are setting it off in the lobby. Pastor Thug Life can’t even defend himself with the cuffs on him. Can we get some more police up in here! Will the pastor make it out alive to a jail cell or will he end up in a hospital bed lying beside Tweetie?
Mom on the Rebound is based on actual events.
Crucial DPSCD work must be done
By Dr. John Telford
I have expressed a wide range of concerns in emails and stated remarks to the new Detroit Public Schools Community District Board of Education. Those concerns include the Board's failure to involve our community more fully and transparently in the superintendent-screening/review process, their cavalier reduction of citizens' speaking-time at the March 14 meeting at King High School, and their making community members wait over an hour to speak, while they went into closed session at that meeting. In a later communication to them, I called them to account for their refusal to afford interim Superintendent Alycia Meriweather a well-earned public interview for the Superintendency. I frankly don't know whether the immediately previous and long-serving Board would have afforded the hard-working Meriweather her highly-deserved interview had they been elected to their former positions this past November instead of the new folks who got in. But as the old Board's chosen pro bono interim Superintendent, I would at my now advanced age of 81 have been eager for them to get my permanent and far younger successor on board ASAP and then use me as an officially contracted pro bono advisor to the new Superintendent for as long as I am needed and able. A Board member shared with me the opinion that one or two other Board members want no part of me in ANY capacity--paid or unpaid--but my well-known reputation for rebellious confrontation is valid only when such action is required and rightful (although many folks in Rochester and Madison Heights probably wouldn't agree.) I have volunteered to serve pro bono again because this Board faces additional and mammoth fiscal challenges, including the oversight of a "financial review commission" unfairly imposed upon it by the state. The Board already has insufficient funds to run DPSCD at an acceptable level. I therefore wouldn't be comfortable accepting any salary for my service and less comfortable bumping another administrator to make room for me. Some folks are aware that I refused a substantial bribe to desert my non-paying DPS Superintendency for an EAA job in 2012. This DPSCD Board can expect similar pressures to be forthcoming when the DeVos/Schuette machine and its corporate-collusive minions note that the Board is restoring excellence without resorting to closings and charterings.
Both of the final candidates whom the Board has selected to be publicly interviewed for the Superintendency possess impeccable credentials. Nonetheless, all of us Detroiters must now put our full support behind River Rouge Superintendent Derrick Coleman, the best-suited finalist for the job. During the ten months I served pro bono as the DPS Superintendent, I met with Coleman and the other Wayne County superintendents on a monthly basis at Wayne RESA, and I found him to be affable,articulate, and progressive. He is also aware of the science-and-research-based, field-proven, pay-only-for-success Two Sigma program that I and the recent Board tried in vain to get then-Emergency Financial Manager Roy Roberts and my then-Deputy Superintendent Karen Ridgeway to implement--and which the current Board (thank God!) is now wisely about to pilot in our two lowest-performing schools. Had this program been implemented in 2012, the District's Priority schools would all be out of Priority status now.
I am happy to see that the Board at least followed my advice to advance a finalist with a DPS background, as Coleman has--and him also being African-American in a 90% African-American school district will definitely benefit the children, too. It remains now for the Board to hire him fast and then recommend to him--as I will--that he retain Ms. Meriweather as his Deputy. That level of administrative continuity is crucial to our school district's recovery from the long night of the ruinous 1999 state takeover.of our then-solvent and academically competitive school district, which is now mired in deep, state-imposed debt, with the lowest student test scores in America. By the time this newspaper hits the newsstands, the Board will probably have chosen one of the two finalists. Whichever one it chooses will have to address the mounting Priority Schools problem immediately or there will be no DPSCD within two years...
Dr. John Telford is a DPS alumnus, a former international track star, a retired suburban superintendent and deputy superintendent; a former college teacher and administrator, a board member and director of a number of social-service agencies, a former DPS teacher, athletic coach, counselor, building administrator, Executive Director of the Southwest Quadrant and of Community Affairs, and a recent pro bono Superintendent under state-imposed emergency financial management (for ten months in 2012-2013). He has won multiple awards for his civil-rights activism. Contact him at (313) 460-8272 or DrJohnTelfordEdD@aol.com. His books are available at Barnes & Noble, amazon.com, or by arrangement with the author. His website is www.AlifeontheRUN.com. Hear him Sundays at 3:00 on NewsTalk1200.