Since I was a child I’ve always had a strong imagination. For this reason, playing alone was never a problem for me. Up until the age of 10-ish, television provided the backdrop for my imaginary adventures. One day I was partners with Steve Austin (Six-Million Dollar Man), and the next I’d be teaming with Jill, Sabrina and Kelly (Charlie’s Angels); always battling the bad guys. I even investigated mysteries with Scooby, Shaggy and the gang! There was never a shortage of characters for my alone time. When all else fails I always had wrestlers to do battle with!
In my teen years, my musical aspirations took over. I sat at home studying drummers. Since there was no internet, I studied the one’s I saw. Vernon Johnson was my favorite (years later we became tight brothers), but there was also Jerry MacBeth, Walt Lewis and even John Lewis III (young rivalry at church)! I would play along with cassettes that I recorded of services; on my lap and in the air. I virtually pretended to be them, mimicking each move for days on end. Eventually I started playing bass guitar and played along with Walter Hawkins, Keith Pringle and my favorite bassist, Fred Hammond of Commissioned! I even followed behind my brother Peter and played the tuba for several years. I finally found my passion with keyboards and that’s where I stayed. As a keyboardist/organist, I studied Randy Oliver, Thurston Cox, Willis Hickerson, Steven Ford, Zak Williams and Bryant Pugh. From mannerisms to technique, I spent time emulating each one. It was my method of learning. Essentially, I mimicked and copied people I admired until finding my own niche.
Flashing forward to now, in my present, temporary condition; my mind is probably overactive. Consider this. In the course of a normal day most people go through a series of interactions with greetings, chitchat and goodbyes. Some of these are interspersed with other necessary communications regarding work, school, children/family concerns and personal relations. In each instance there is a thought (Hey, there’s so-and-so), a physical action (What’s good Man?), a consideration of their response and physical response to that (Yeah, I’ve been wanting to talk to you about that) and a resolution (Alright, talk to you later). Often as a result of these various communications conflicts, misunderstandings and hurt feelings are initiated, confirmed or resolved. Sometimes love is established, other times hate is fueled. The same can be said of faith, confidence, security and any other facet of our emotional states. They all begin within and manifest in our actions or inaction. Inevitably, my mind is periodically overrun with conflicting emotions and regret.
I have found various ways to address this. Prayer has helped but it’s not always an answer unto itself (more on that later). This may be surprising but Facebook has been extremely useful! Due to its gross popularity, I’m able to connect with people from almost every juncture of my life. Taking my time, I’ve been able to apologize for wrongdoings and achieve reconciliation. Where reconciling isn’t an option (it takes two to tango), I’ve at least been able to free my spirit from guilt by apologizing. I’ve also been able to let various people know how special they were to me. All this time in my mind I’ve been able to identify people who’ve been in or through my life that’s made positive impact. Perhaps they didn’t know, didn’t care…or maybe they were at a point where they thought nobody cared! Either way I reached out to them; some were happy, some lukewarm, some unresponsive but it was edifying regardless.
However, the most significant battle in my mind is waged against my faith. The enemy (Satan) and my humanistic mind (logic) send their Black-ops and Seal Team Six in, armed with such firery darts as: “You see that you’re STILL in this bed, you ain’t healed!”, “Have you seen ANYONE get up from ALS? Cancer, brain tumors, diabetes…yes; but not this!”, “You’re only deluding yourself, coping mechanism against the inevitable!” and “Everyone dies and this is how you’re going out so just accept it!”. Meanwhile my spiritual response begins in my spiritual head, enclosed in the helmet of Salvation it signals my left hand, which intercepts those darts with the shield of Faith. Then it goes on the offensive by signaling my right hand which has the sword of the Word, delivering blows like: “By His stripes I am healed!”, “All power is given unto Me in heaven and earth!”, “Behold, I am the Lord, God of all (even diseased) flesh; is there anything too hard for Me?” and “These things and more will you do in My name!”. My heart, secured behind the breastplate of righteousness, now emboldened and strengthened grows with each small individual battle won. They’re brought back to remembrance in times of weakness and tough battles. Finally, as my feet, shod in the preparation of Peace remain pressing forward, they leave a peace that surpasses all understanding wherever they tread. It’s a daily battle but with a predetermined outcome!
So what am I trying to convey through all of this? Simple. While you are yet able, consider those you may have offended in the past, and apologize. Do this even if you don’t agree with their reasons, for it doesn’t lessen their pain; and have no expectations for a positive response. Your apology frees you up regardless of the response. Next, forgive anyone who has offended you. Where it’s feasible, let them know they’re forgiven; they may receive freedom also. Finally, put on the whole armore of God that you may withstand the attacks of not only the enemy but yourself! Love ya Fam!