After a recent post here on my blog, I received a very kind reply from my new friend Janelle Norton. What she had to say to me is posted in the comment section of the post entitled: “I’m a PMGF.” What she replied changed my perspective so deeply, that I wanted to hear more from her. I therefore asked her to be my guest on my blog.
Chet, I just wanted to say a few things before you read what I wrote. I am so appreciative of the chance to share the voice in my mind with you. Its stories like you that remind me of who I am supposed to be. This past week, in a neighboring community, we had a very young kid (13) bring a gun into his junior high. He walked into the bathroom and committed suicide. I have been nothing but broken-hearted over this. There are so many people who just want to feel love and accepted, to feel like their life has a purpose without feeling judgement. I wrote this with him on my mind and with words from your blog in mind.
I grew up in church Chet. (John and Star were my youth pastors, and wonderful amazing people. Probably some of the best, down to earth, real “Christians” I have ever met.) However, when I was about 20 I hit a “rough” patch in my life. Started questioning everything. You know what happened? Every single Christian friend “disappeared”. Not one stuck with me, not one held my hand, or walked me through the rough times. I ended up having a baby out-of-wedlock when I was 23 with my boyfriend (I married my baby daddy a while later and we had two more kiddos and NONE of this I regret). I still have not found my way back to “church” not sure if I ever will, I have felt for a very long time that I “did not fit the pew” as one of your friends stated on your blog said. I have gone through many years of soul-searching and figuring out who I am and what is expected of us a people, not necessarily as Christians. We may not agree on everything (I hold very few conservative view points) but one thing I can tell you for sure is you will keep changing Chet.
I have over the years changed my opinion and have changed my world view, I do believe my view is evolving all the time. I see the world so differently but I believe for the better. I wouldn’t change anything I walked through. Those rough times, those hard times where I felt so lonely remind me of who I am supposed to be. I hope what I wrote is okay. So here goes…
The Face of Greatness
Great explorers of man-kind have always looked to the sky, to the wind, to the horizon and held a belief that there was so much more than they could see. The great risk takers, looked at the world as they knew it and said there has to be more. There has to be more than that this tiny street I live on, there has to be more than what I can see. It really was not that long ago that people thought the world was flat, or that women were witches and burned at the stake, or that women held no place in society other than to birth children, or that people of “color”did not deserve the most simplest of what life had to offer.
The thought of something new, something new being acceptable is hard to comprehend. Hence, why life has constantly been a battle, a battle between what you feel and what I feel, between what this country wants and what that country wants. What this group of people believes is acceptable and what the other groups believes is not. Putting it simply: I am right, you are wrong.
We live in age and in an era where voices, opinions, media are pushed in our faces as we are driving down the road, blaring through our radios, and popping up on our phones. It’s easy to adopt view points to take them on as our own when you surround yourself with a constant barrage of “people” telling you: THIS IS WHO YOU ARE, THIS IS WHO YOU MUST BE. There comes a point in time, where we must all choose, choose to put down the outside voices and close our eyes and listen. Listen to the quiet and listen to the peacefulness, listen to that quiet little voice reminding you of why you are here.
We are here to still notice the horizon, to still look out at the stars and wonder, to walk outside and feel the wind blowing through the air and think, What am I? Who am I? We are all human beings who at the core want love and acceptance. It’s not my place, it’s not my job to tell you who you need to be or what road you should choose. My path is my own, your path is yours. The difference being what will I choose to do? Will I be the person who lives unfulfilled? Will I be the person that holds onto to selfishness, anger, and hatred? Or will I be the person to forgive? Will I be the person who will go the way of the great explorers and risk takers? It is time for all of us, as the human race, as fellow citizens, as neighbors to stand up and look to the sky and regain that courageous spirit, the spirit of love and kindness.
There is not one of my neighbors who does not deserve love, mercy, compassion. It is MY job as a person to look to my left and to look to my right and say who am I? I am no better than the next. I believe that humility sparks change, that love sparks change, that compassion sparks change. Look at any great leader and you will find those qualities, you will see those qualities before you see anything else. The face of greatness takes a moment, takes a breath and does not rise up in hate but in love and respect.
The bottom line is, it comes down to your choice on your behavior. You have been made you for a reason, you were born with your first and last name for something specific, you have been born with the endless possibilities of greatness. You have the capability to see, to hear, to feel. You have the capability of change, to spark change, to create change. You were not born to hate, to judge, to dictate to another what they should be. You control you, you set your course, you decide if you are going to pack it in or if you will put on that face of greatness that you were meant to.
The face of greatness, is to have the expectation of ourselves to rise to the occasion. You can be the person, you can be the one, you can be the risk taker, the great explorer of the unknown and the uncharted territories. You can be the one to start progress, to kick-start a change. The face of greatness. I believe you have what it takes. I am talking to you… the mother, the father, the preacher, the teacher, the liberal, the conservative. This is my message and what I believe is a requirement for all of us: Take a risk to be the face of greatness and love your neighbor as your self.