In mere moments, we will have what many of us have all been waiting for – a verdict in the Derek Chauvin/George Floyd Murder Case. In my mind, based on what my eyes witnessed, there can be only one verdict in this case and that is a verdict of guilty. If you watched those moments live, when a police officer, who is sworn to protect and serve, kept his knee down on the neck of another man for over 8 or 9 minutes (whichever you’d like to believe), then, you saw what I saw – a man killed right in front of my eyes … a sight I hope to never witness again.
This is an old poem of mine, but, I feel in light of the anxiety that we must be feeling right now, in anticipation of this verdict, it was only fitting that I pull it out, dust it off and ask you this question again…
“DOES MY LIFE MATTER?”
I am a black woman, and because of the shade of my skin and coarseness of my hair, because of the fullness of my hips, my lips and the bold colors I wear…some don’t find me as attractive as my fairer counterparts. You see, I’m no longer your house-maid or here for your sexual pleasure; no longer Mamie to your children, I’m now someone’s Mother…a treasure. But, does my life matter?
I am a black man, and because of my dark skin and the boldness of my stance, because of the kinky in my hair, the anger in my stare, and the wear and tear shown on my hands…some still don’t see me as a man. You see, I’m no longer your field property or your whipping post. I’ve freedom papers and own land now, maybe, more than most. You build cages to hold me, guilty or not; where you should build institutions of higher learning, you lock me away for little things, then leave me there to rot. Will my bed forever be a cot? Does my life matter?
I am a white woman, and because of my milk-dove skin and cute, pinched nose, thin ruby red lips and fair skin that glows…with my pearly whites and prominent chin…some still look at me and despise the skin I’m in. I was never privy to the pain that was caused. I was born into that hatred…those God-awful laws. So, does my life matter?
I am a white man, born into privilege and wealth, easy life, perfect health, yet…I’m still persecuted and referred to as “the man.” I, too, hate the ways of the Ku Klux Klan. My neighbors are black, white, green and red…still, I haven’t fled. To be where everyone looks more like me, is not where I want to be. I, too, would like to one day be FREE. (Yes, FREE! It also applies to me!) FREE of the labels that bind because of the color of my skin. I’ve never owned any human or degraded any man. But, does my life still matter?
I am a brown-skinned woman and because of my accented words, you think I should be silent…quiet – not heard. I can do more than clean your windows and floors. Just ask me what I’m capable of, you’d be surprised, I’m sure. I may have come here via the back of a truck, or even the legal route, if I was blessed with such luck. Maybe I was born here, and my parents, too. In your eyes, would that still make me less American than you? Does my life matter?
I am a brown-skinned man and though maybe a bit stocky, I’m no less in appearance, than your brawn and cocky. I’m not a rapist, a thief or thug…but, a man like you, with kids to hug. I’m not ashamed to tend your lawns and trees, but Executive, also a title I wear with ease; whatever it takes…my family to feed. Don’t dismiss or overlook me, and then turn away; I may not have been born here, but I’m here to stay. And with that said, does my life matter?
With all that’s going on, there’s much racial unrest. It’s time to put differences aside and put real LOVE to the test. We can’t keep fighting each other, when there are real wars going on. We must come together in love, heal and stand strong. There are real enemies among us, and their names we know not. We must stand on the front lines, together and talk.
The differences between us are fewer than those in our heads; and in the end, until we draw our last breath, we all still bleed red. Yes, that small matter is what makes us brothers, and binds us tighter than any other.
That stream of red flowing through our veins, is what should force us to…
release all blame,
stop the pain,
no more blood we’ll shed.
Hatred is coming from all sides and it’s time WE all bring it to a peaceful end.
How do you feel? Do all lives matter to you?
THE UNCERTAINTY OF LIFE … @RRBC_Org @RRBC_RWISA @Tweets4RWISA @nonniejules #RRBC #RWISA #Poetry #writingcommunity #readingcommunity
This morning I opened my eyes, rolled out of bed onto the floor, and onto my knees, to pray. This is a morning and nightly ritual in our family. My kids are adults now, but the last thing I say to them at night is, “Say your prayers, on your knees.”
I always begin my prayer with … “Thank you, Lord, for waking me up this morning … “ but after saying those words this morning, my prayer was cut short as I jumped up and ran to my desk to pen the piece below. (By the way, I did return to finish my morning prayer).
THE UNCERTAINTY OF LIFE
We lie down, but we don’t know if we’re going to wake up.
We leave the house, without the certainty that we’ll ever return.
We get behind the wheel of a car
Not to go far…
Just a few blocks from home.
But, who could have known
There’d be a drunk driver on the same road that day?
We befriend who will become our best friend, and we’re sure their loyalty to us is impenetrable.
But then, they betray us in the worst way …
The unspeakable is their crime.
‘Til this day, we can’t talk about it.
We meet and marry the person we are sure will walk with us … ‘Til Death Do Us Part’ –
But then, they break our heart.
The unimaginable pain left behind is too much to forgive,
So we part.
We bear children and make plans for their future.
Our dreams are what we hope theirs will be.
But then, they grow up, into their own minds, and begin to dream their own dreams for their lives.
And we, well, we have to live with what their dreams produce.
It is of little use
To fight them on their dreams.
We plan for them to marry those who will love and cherish them … protect them.
But what they bring home to us are those who hurt and abuse them.
So, we pray and ask God to watch over and blanket them with his protection, for ultimately they belong to him and are only on loan to us
Trust … we must.
Such is the uncertainty of life.
There are but a few wonders of life that we can be sure of…
The rain comes from the clouds
The moon lights up the sky
The sun comes up each day
We’ll live and then we’ll die.
I hope you enjoyed this piece of what I call a life reflection. Every thought, gave me pause.
REFLECT UPON THIS: Don’t Trip On Your Way To Greatness! @RRBC_Org @RRBC_RWISA @Tweets4RWISA @4WillsPub @4WP11 @nonniejules @JohnJFioravanti #Quotes
One of my favorite authors has been on a bit of a writing-hiatus lately, but fortunately for those of us who have been inspired by his writing, Author, John J. Fioravanti, has a new release coming out this year! His first book of quotes, REFLECTIONS: INSPIRATIONAL QUOTES & INTERPRETATIONS, is the Grand Prize Winner of the 2020 RWISA SUPREME BOOK OF THE YEAR Award, so that means it is an excellent read! I’ve no doubt, REFLECTIONS II will follow closely in its footsteps.
Because I love and live by profound quotes, I was honored to find that in John’s first REFLECTIONS, he reflected upon a couple of my personal quotes. As I was reading through the book again the other day, one of his reflections resonated with me so loudly, that I just had to share it with you here.
Here is Reflection # 31:
“DON’T TRIP ON YOUR WAY TO GREATNESS”
“Trials and tribulations are but tiny roadblocks to a greater sense of who you are. They may delay your journey a bit, but they (if you don’t make them so), aren’t big enough to keep you from realizing the true greatness that resides within you.”
~ Nonnie Jules
I have had the privilege of serving on the Governing Board of the Rave Reviews Book Club for several years. Although I am a senior member of this Board in age, I learned each day from Nonnie Jules who has become my friend and mentor. It should be no surprise that I often draw on her substantial collection of original quotes at Books By Nonnie. (The quotes section of Books By Nonnie is unavailable at this time, as Nonnie is preparing for the release of her long-awaited collection of personal quotes).
I know from my own life experience and studies that the quest for understanding exactly who we are is universal. As a child and young teen, the question of “Who am I?” had the obvious answer. Leaving childhood behind, we find ourselves clothed with many assertions from family, friends and schoolmates about the kind of person we are perceived to be. Sometimes the descriptions are complimentary and other times, not. If I had a dollar for every time I heard the statement, “Nobody understands me”, I’d be a very rich man. It’s a given that there’s probably no one, except a few, or one very close friend, who can really understand us some of the time. This begs the question whether I understand myself.
In this quote, Jules warns us that life’s difficulties can serve as minor roadblocks to self-understanding. In the sense that these trials are distractions in our quest for clarity, I totally agree. Any situation that brings us physical, emotional or mental pain or stress will deflect our attention from the process of self-assessment and understanding. These trials will happen; there’s no way to avoid them, so the question becomes how we will deal with these challenges.
We cannot control the curves that life throws at us. We can approach routine bumps in the road as major catastrophes by blowing them way out of proportion, and giving them life and unwarranted power. Alternatively, we can approach them with a healthy perspective, maintain our focus, and dispatch these issues as successfully as possible. When we look at a challenge confronting us, and hold it up to the canvas of our entire life, we gain perspective; we see it for the bump in the road that it is. Having established an accurate perspective, it is much easier to focus our effort and energy to deal with the challenge quickly and effectively.
The last part of the quote that resonated deeply within me is this, “… the true greatness that resides within you.” How many of us reach adulthood with this realization? I did not. I never saw myself as great at anything – which is not to say that I lived my adult life putting myself down. Not at all, but greatness? Within me? After serious thought, I realized that Jules is on target. I may not be great at anything in particular, but I am a unique person and I like myself. The fact that I’m dedicated to helping others, and growing as a person, denotes a sense of greatness within.
How do you grow as a person? I could talk about introspection, self-questioning, self-assessment and all the other aspects of this process, but I’d rather focus on the one that my mentor emphasizes daily – with regard to both herself and others – honesty. Do I make up excuses for my flaws or failures, or do I accept what is, and own it? There’s an old expression, a leopard can’t change its spots, that applies here. The cartoon character, Popeye, exclaimed it in every episode, “I am what I am, and that’s all that I am!” When I arrive at this point, I can choose to be complacent and not bother to do the work to improve, or I can dedicate my energies to becoming the best leopard, sailor, writer or person that I can become. The courage to choose that dedicated way of life is the lamp that shines on our inner greatness.
What do YOU think?
Does this question engage you or take you out of your comfort zone? Does it put you on the spot? REFLECTIONS is award-winning author and former educator John Fioravanti’s answer.
Offering his interpretations of fifty quotes by contemporary and ancient thinkers alike, John dives deep below the surface of words and explores the deeper meanings that shape his view of the world.
Deeply personal and presented in a self-effacing manner, these self-aware reflections will encourage you to dig deep within yourself and to discover more about the underlying truths that guide you.
Without trumpets or fanfare of any kind, John Fioravanti aspires to inspire you!
About the Author…
To learn more about John, please visit his RRBC Author Page!
As a very special treat, please visit FIORA BOOKS BY JOHN FIORAVANTI to sample ONE free reflection and interpretation from the upcoming REFLECTIONS II! I assure you, it’s just as amazing and inspiring as this one and will whet your appetite for what’s to come! (UPDATE: At the time of this posting, John’s post was not yet LIVE. Please be sure to check back so that you don’t miss the treat that awaits you on his blog today!)
Thank you for dropping by to support John’s upcoming release. Please be sure to snag a copy of the original REFLECTIONS, on Amazon now for only $2.99 and as a FREE read on Kindle Unlimited!
I’d also like to ask that you leave John a comment below and LIKE the post before leaving for your chance to win a $5 Amazon Gift Card! It would be great if you’d also tweet and Share the page to your social media platforms!
Until next time…
If you follow my blogs, you should know by now that when I post, there will always be a lesson to be gleaned from each post. This one will be no different. By now you should also know that I don’t sugarcoat things. I’ll leave that to those who don’t know how to appreciate a world of truths.
We’ve all been there … on the dirty end of a negative book review. And although negative book reviews cut some deeper than others, they all leave us with a special feeling – the need for a good cry, or they might even give us a hearty chuckle. That’s if you don’t feel that reviews “define” you, which clearly they do for some.
RRBC was founded almost 10 years ago because of a strong need for a place to go and get truly honest reviews of your books; a place where the…
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WELCOME TO DAY 9 OF THE #RWISA “REVOLUTION” BLOG TOUR! #RRBC @nonniejules @RRBC_ORG @RRBC_RWISA @TWEETS4RWISA #RWISAREVOLUTIONTOUR
Welcome to the final day of the RWISA REVOLUTION BLOG TOUR! And today our guest is … ME! Thanks for supporting!
Welcome to Day 9 and the conclusion of the RWISA “REVOLUTION” Blog Tour! We’d like to introduce you to an amazingly supportive RWISA member, Author, Nonnie Jules, who is also the Founder of RRBC &RWISA. Take a peek at her writing below…
A LIFE ISN’T WORTH LIVING IF NOT IN SERVICE TO OTHERS
I’d like to begin by thanking two of my fellowRWISAAuthors who were also on this tour, Joy Nwosu Lo-Bamijoko and Linnea Tanner, who both had the courage to write about, or reference the ills of our world, that many would like to keep deeply hidden. I speak of hatred and systemic racism. Again, thank you both for your courage to write with such substance and I hope that it is still resonating with all who read both of your pieces. I am honored that your words are a continual ring…
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