In my beginning, God introduced me with two doctrinaire people. A Father with the work habit of a mule and twice as stubborn. A Mother with the heart of a lion in her convictions, while undiscouraged in her faith and love. They both introduced me to Grandparents, landowners of the agriculture age, who introduced me to more than two dozen Aunts and Uncles with outstretching arms like the tentacles of an octopus. They in turn, paraded me with an unadulterated number of Cousins, 2nd Cousins, etc. etc., all having a multitude of viewpoints, attitudes, and opinions, neat and pure. Outside of family, there have been many more who have touched my inner soul, relationships of endearing principles without ambivalence. In that sense, I introduce you to Chester A. Wright, the author of “Black Man and Blue Water.” Although he and I have never met, with him 22 years my senior, and an original resident of Hope, Arkansas, it seemed we emerged from the same egg. The age of enter the Navy, making it a career, the level of education and the racism that tended to stymie the ambition of many young Blacks was the yoke. After reading his book in 2010 a seed was sowed and “Guidance Against the Odds” was instinctively wrote. A seed in the amalgamation of being seen, heard, and understood as a Black Man. A seed pollinated by a military career, as I dwelled outside the bubble of a shielding family. Avenues traveled in darkness that led to light through the pages of a book.
I showcase my shipmate in this sharing, as his book will be my recommended read from my library for the month of July. http://www.bookmystory.net/MY-LIBRARY.html A cumulative library I see as generational wealth. Tangible in nature, the epitome of knowledge, but useless if not read. “Black Man and Blue Water” is a perfect transition from this month’s read. "How the word is passed" by Clint Smith. “A mind is a terrible thing to waste,” is mountain top faith, an educational slogan derived from the United Negro College Fund that should be a fact of life for everyone. How a person thinks, remembers, and understands has a huge impact on their lives. As we age, our brain begins to weaken, but our souls are forever. The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise. Proverbs 11:30 (KJV)
Anthony Ray Hinton
They say a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Recently, I read this quote by Nikita Gill, and it reinvigorated my sense that God has given us all a purpose in life. She wrote: "Some people are born with tornadoes in their lives, but constellations in their eyes. Other people are born with stars at their feet, but their souls are lost at sea." I believe I was born with stars in my eyes and found my soul at sea. For it was at the age of 18, serving my country at sea when the hand of God spoke to me.
Although my journey started the year I was born, 1944, way before I could walk, these were years of innocence and darkness, as it were in the beginning. In 1949, I stepped into the life of my very first best friend. This, of what I wrote in chapter one of my book. Unbeknown, in real-time that my journey had already begun. Baby steps were being taken into the realities of conscious and unconscious bias— into the evils of humankind. From 1949 until 1961, there came trickling's of light as the hand of God spoke in tandem with my heart, and my journey became known in my soul.
I share these thoughts from the seat of my soul because I believe it is a way of letting people into your heart and into your world. Shared passion, fear, guilt, a shared longing, or joy are gifts to the beloved. Places where people share their happiness, guilt, anxiety, and love are where the gospel will flourish.
Finally, I share a recommended read to the avid reader: ---"Revelations on the River: Healing a Nation, Healing Ourselves," by Matthew Dowd. Revelations on the River visits key topics like love, fears and trauma, forgiveness and reconciliation, faith and science, interconnection, and legacies. It is an examination of values that bind us together, in turn, which may lead us as a people to a more enlightened place.