I try to make it a habit every now and then to take inventory of my life. I call it my spiritual check list. While I do this because it is a part of my Christian living, you don't have to be religious to take inventory on your life, to see what you can do to live a better life, and make life better for others.
Personally, taking inventory on myself helps me to see things clearer in a world where there is so much ugliness. It seems that some people think nothing of saying vile and evil things to each other; calling others ugly names; hurting and killing masses of people, and cheating and thinking it's OK to do so. I believe that it is more important now, than ever, to take stock of how we live and treat other human beings.
It doesn't take much to live your best life. Ask yourself a few simple questions, like:
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- Did I speak too abruptly to someone today, thereby hurting their feelings?
- Was I the peacemaker today that God intended me to be?
- Did I give enough to the poor?
- Did I even give enough of my time to help or to encourage someone?
- Did I remember to pray for those who are less fortunate?
- Was I as kind and gentle as I should have been when someone was short-tempered with me?
- Was my patience too short?
While these are some of the things on my personal check list, it really could be anyone's check list. You don't have to be a Christian, or of any other religion, to want to do the right thing in your heart.
Not too long ago, I got an email from a man who said he was an atheist, but "believed" in the teachings of Jesus. Because of his beliefs, this non-Christian, non-religious man treats others the way he wants to be treated. In believing in the teachings of Jesus, and putting them in practice, he is pouring out positive energy in our world. I bless him and thank God for him.
What's on your check list?
On Sunday, some of us will arise early in the morning to attend the 25th annual Sunrise Ancestral Remembrance of the Middle Passage Ceremony. The event will take place 5:30 to 8:30 a.m. on the shores of the Historic Virginia Key Beach Park, 4020 Virginia Beach Dr., just off the Rickenbacker Causeway.
"The celebration honors the memory of all who endured the Middle Passage, known as the Transatlantic slave trade ... and the millions who survived to give life to future and present generations," said Dinizulu Gene Tinnie, one of the organizers of the event.
It is not enough to say this is a significant event. I believe the attendance of African Americans, as well as other ethnic groups, could benefit from the commemoration. It should be on our "must attend" list.
According to Tinnie, "The second weekend in June has been selected by a growing number of cities around the country, and in the African Motherland, as the date for the annual observance. In Miami, the sunrise hour has been traditionally chosen because the land is clean and refreshed, and also in remembrance of all those who had to work from 'Can't see in the morning until can't see at night.'"
I must admit that in the past, I have made excuses as to why I could not attend. At first, I couldn't attend because I had to care for my bedridden mother and had no one who could stay with her while I attended the ceremony. That was reason enough to stay away. But Mom has been gone for 15 and a half years.
Today, while I am older, I am yet in my right mind and have a reasonable portion of health. I still drive myself everywhere. So now, I have no excuse not to attend. I am looking forward to the event, and plan on bringing my two great-grandsons, Jaylen Hines, 11, and Tavaris Williams, almost 11, with me (if I can get them up at that hour), because I believe this is an important commemoration of our African heritage.
The program will include traditional Native American, African and other multicultural contemporary prayers and meditations, performance, open "village talk" and the "welcoming of offerings of fruits, flowers, grains" and other appropriate items to be carried out to sea. Spiritual leaders of churches, synagogues, mosques and other houses of worship are invited, along with drummers, musicians, performers, and other creative artists.
Kudos to South Florida People of Color, which on May 29 presented a public forum, "It's Bigger Than Starbucks," to broaden the scope of the coffee company's half-day anti-bias training for its employees across the country.
The forum was a part of the organization's Unity 360 race dialogue series, and took place at the Miami Shores Community Church. The forum provided participants with the opportunity to discuss how racial bias and micro-aggressions affect them daily and what can each individual do to challenge the "ingrained and deeply destructive way of thinking and behaving that profoundly affects people of color, particularly African-Americans," said Dr. Tameka Bradley Hobbs, historian, author and a Unity 360 facilitator.
"We applaud the corporate leadership of Starbucks in holding their training, but we also know the issue is much larger and more widespread than what occurred in their Philadelphia store," Hobbs said.
In an effort to combat such racial bias, this month South Florida People of Color will launch its new "Awkward Dinner" series, for which the group won the Philanthropy Miami's Shark Tank Award in March.
Through the "Awkward Dinner" series, the organization will host 10 diners for each facilitated dinner conversation on racism and white privilege. The dinners will take place at restaurants and private homes throughout Miami-Dade County.
For more information South Florida People of Color and the dinners, visit www.southfloridapoc.org.