Day of Hope

Image result for hope

On Saturday, August 18th, 2018 I was a volunteer for a Day of Hope located on the grounds of Freedom Temple AME Zion Church amongst various other churches and organizations. We passed out food for the less fortunate, gave away over 400 backpacks to school children, clothes giveaway, a prayer tent, job employment assistance, mental health awareness, a bounce house and overall good fun. I felt led to volunteer at this event because it’s all about giving back especially when others have helped you. I know that my job title may be an Engineer but my Earth title is to help others and be a servant to the Lord. I try to be the best representation of his ideals and principles; consequently I fall short every day. Thankfully, I get another chance when I wake up in the morning. I realize that God has put me in situations as a reminder that anything can happen to you but with HIM, I can get through it. So to see these people be blessed with groceries, potential job placement, school supplies and overall support from total strangers is what life is all about. Why wouldn’t I want to be a part of that? I knew the workload would be heavy but I got broad shoulders so I am used to this.

Before the events started we had a meeting outside with the coordinator and we greeted each other and this lady named Faith came to me and said that God told her to tell me that I’m an unsung hero. This was a powerful statement because I truly feel that God was speaking to me through her and to add the fact that her name is Faith and with the current situations I have going on in my life, I need faith to order to keep myself sane this is just confirmation or how my friends like to call it ‘STAMP’. I look at myself in three arenas: Spiritual, mental and physical. Physical attractions are common, a mental connection is rare, a spiritual connection is divine. In my opinion the spiritual is most important because it’s the foundation of existence. It’s the moral fabric that keeps us all grounded. Once the spirit is broken then the mental follows suit because now your mind feels that these trials and tribulations are your destiny and there is no comeback. With mental health awareness being on the forefront, it is pivotal that the mental aspect not be overlooked. To be honest, I go through struggles everyday more mental than physical but I must remain strong for my family and friends. I know that my mental struggles have caused conflict with my wife. Luckily, we have a strong base of communication where we can talk these things out. To be 100 percent honest, I need help.  There are times that I battle with not fitting in; being inadequate to those I love the most and feeling inferior. I know my wife says I can talk to her about anything and normally I do but I don’t want to be a burden to her. Through prayer it has re-established my spiritual arena; however it is imperative to have a strong mental foundation because it can affect your physical state because now at this point you don’t give a fuck and the first thing people see is your physical.

There is a 5 letter word known for destruction and it’s called the DEVIL, a known adversary since the beginning of time and normally the person that gets credit for any misfortune. Always remember that life is warfare. For all the good things you try to accomplish there will be someone or something trying to extinguish your candle of light but never stop trying. Also, stop giving the Devil so much credit. Another 5 letter word known for destruction is PRIDE. Having large amounts of pride will convoluted your thought process which can lead to your ultimate demise. It happens to us all. Pride has gotten the best of me a few times in my life and it almost cost me my marriage because I felt my season should have been now but the Lord had other plans and it’s that recognition that despite my thoughts, I am still here shows that a higher power is present in my life. I felt that as an Engineer with a Master’s Degree, I shouldn’t settle for any job and I damn sure shouldn’t be at social services trying to get food stamps or a ticket to a food pantry. My name is Sonny for crying out loud, but those events showed that I’m susceptible to anything but it’s how I deal with adversity that builds my character. There is a 5 letter word known for countering the devil and your pride and that is JESUS. Like I said earlier life is warfare but with Him on my side and wearing His armor for protection, I will not be defeated. I may be bloody but not unbowed.

I want us to live everyday with hope. I know that may be hard at times especially with the social climate of America and dealing with your own personal struggles. I want us to not look like what we are going through. This can be difficult for me because my facial expression normally dictate my mood. It wasn’t until I became familiar with the story of John the Baptist death that I must strive to not look like what I am going through.  John the Baptist was known for speaking so highly about Jesus and how He was the one to be praised. He became a popular preacher and according to Matthew 3:13-17 he baptized Jesus. 13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John.14 But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” 15 Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented. 16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” John’s story ends in tragedy when he is killed by King Herod Antipas. John was imprisoned by King Herod because he publicly criticized his marriage to Herodias who was once married to his brother. Deep down King Herod didn’t want to kill him because he recognized how important John was but his PRIDE got in the way. After granting his stepdaughter/niece anything she wanted she was coaxed by her mother to ask for John’s head on a platter. Bound by his own words, he did what the girl wanted and she even had the nerve to deliver his head to his mother. Jesus was devastated to find out that his older cousin, John has been killed and decides to retreat to a place of solemn to grieve with his disciples. As you recall he wept over Lazarus but this one hurt him to the core. Even though no one was supposed to find out where he was, a multitude of people came looking for help for Jesus. Despite what he was going through, he knew that he had to help others.

I mention this story because throughout our own trials and tribulations, there is a multitude of people that look up to you for guidance, strength and understanding. Don’t let turmoil alter your spiritual state for it’s this foundation that continues to keep us pushing. Continue to be the unsung hero for your actions do not go in vain. Continue to let your Earth title trump your job title because you can lose everything today. Leaders are remembered but a servant never dies. Let everyday be a continuation of hope.  Will it be easy? Of course not but remember victory no matter how brief it is sticks with a person. Some people dream of a second chance thanks to God we are living it.

 

 

Saturday Night Live

joan and I part 2

 

Saturday morning comes bright and early as the alarm goes off at promptly 6:30 and I let the Grayson buffet begin. They had the usual continental breakfast lineup but because the manager invited to me to partake in their feast I felt obligated to go ham. I bring plate after plate back to room and as I open the door she is awaken to the fresh smell of Belgian waffles and I look like the man. Now you remember how I brought up finances earlier, well we didn’t have a lot but we had enough for some water ice. We sit down and become immersed with the scenery; whether it’s the cloud to blue sky ratio or the wind ever so gently blowing the leaves on the trees. It had a euphoric setting for a full marriage ministry conversation because we can discuss our strengths, weaknesses and goals (short and long term). I felt a connection with my wife at that moment and throughout the conversation despite some of the trials and tribulations we are experiencing right now, a woman jumps out of a car with a shirt saying “God is Enough”. Mind blown. Now if that aint a holy slap to the face then I don’t know what it is. It put everything into perspective and the only thing I said after seeing this was, “I see ya big fella. Well played Lord well played” Normally, I would expect this loud boom when God wants to talk to me but in all actuality it’s the small things like this that make you say whoa.

We prepare for this fancy Groupon dinner at this steakhouse. My wife got on a colorful dress with jewelry, makeup and sandals looking like Lane Bryant page 7 under New Arrivals section. We arrive at the restaurant and it gave me a Bronx Tale vibe. I felt like I should have had on all black with a leather jacket like the Fonz and a Fedora and my wife should have had on a skirt that poof out like one of those dresses you would see in Grease with the Easter church socks and black and white uniform shoes. You had the Bronx Tale soundtrack playing in the background creating the nostalgic setting. Walking in the restaurant all you hear is “sha bop da bop….sha bop da bop…sha bop da bop wee uuu wee uuu  sha bop da bop….I only have eyes for youuuuuuuuu yeah”(to keep it all the way a thousand, this quartet isn’t better than the New Jack City trio singing Living for the City but back to the story). The bartender greets with us the salute and yelled out we got a deuce deuce here. There was a section closed off with a curtain so we thinking no one is allowed back there but that area is lit. I wonder if it was a coming home party for one of the gangsters. It’s a few young couples in there and there’s two older women in the restaurant (remember the two older women as the story goes on).  I see everybody ordering surf and turf buying drinks and I’m like oh these young cats out here getting busy. I knew the food would be great when the owner who looked like Pauly from Goodfellas came out the kitchen yelling, “Make sure you caramelize the onions. We run a business over here and more bread pronto”. He is talking to all the guests then he notices something has gone awry. He approaches the young couple and says:

Owner: you enjoying the food

Customer: yeah

Owner: good. I’m glad to hear that. Wait a minute young fella. Why you got that lady purse on the floor. Whatsthematterwityou (yeah I know all one word) then smacks the man’s cheek twice and the man has this befuddled look on his face (think Charlie Murphy after Rick James gave him the 5 fingers to the face) You know that’s bad luck. You don’t want bad luck with a lady looking like that.  Enjoy your meal.

He then kissed her hand and walked away like a boss. As he walked away he saw me and gave me the head nod and the salute.

Wife: you really think you Sonny or something

Me: I see you hatin wit cha hatin ass.

The waiter comes to check on us and I say:

Me: Let me holla at you real quick yo. Look man we on this Groupon ya dig don’t blow the shit up just putting you on alert

Waiter: don’t worry boss. I got you

Me: my man- Denzel Washington voice

For a second I felt embarrassed because everybody else is eating like it’s the last supper and arguably the biggest person in the restaurant is eating conservative. Go figure. So as the other couples are leaving, every guy with your lady yelling all loud…’so uh yeah we on a Groupon’. Like there was a table of 6 people trying to use 3 Groupons at one time and I had to shed a thug tear because look at all these young Jason Pitts in the making. It was like there was concession stands workers at a baseball game, “groupon here, I got a groupon here, 25 dollars for 50 dollars’ worth of food here”. The bill came up to only 9.00 and I had this vision that Julius, Jason Pitts, Mr. Krabs and I’m gonna git chu sucka asking how much for one rib Chris Rock are smiling down at me while Detrick Haddon‘s choir singing “well done you can come on in” as I just entered the Frugal Hall of Fame.  Things couldn’t get any better right…

As we leaving the restaurant, it’s a big commotion outside where all these people are running so of course my wife and I look at each other like yo this shit look like back home but it was something worse. Remember those two old ladies I mentioned earlier, well they are lying face down in concrete bleeding profusely as they were just hit by a car. Talk about being shook daddy for real. To see these ladies who just said hi and bye to us a minutes ago laying in a pool of blood not moving…good grief-Charlie Brown voice. Nothing else mattered at that moment but the health of these two strangers. By the time the ambulance came they were both conscious and help was being administered. This made the phrase, “here today gone tomorrow” very vivid and it makes you appreciate every day you have on Earth. Yeah you will go through trials and tribulations but within a blink of an eye it can turn into a victory or it can turn into your departure from Earth. I am thankful to share the experiences that I have with my wife, kids, family members, brothers and friends but I can sum up this whole weekend and what’s going on in my life in 3 words: God is enough.

This is Us

IMG_4027-88

This weekend I had the pleasure of taking my wife on a little getaway because this past month has been as busy as the beginning, middle and end of tax season. So I have this idea of taking my wife somewhere where she can relax, eat, sleep and not worry about the children. In order to accomplish this, I had to channel my inner Julius from Everyone Hates Chris. See I’m more of a value package type of guy this whole a la carte buying shit is overrated and can be downright expensive. So one night I fell asleep and a frugal angel appeared in my dream and said loudly, ‘Check out the Travel section of Groupon big fella.’ The next day I woke up with a new sense of purpose as I entered the Groupon world like an intern the first day of work at a big company.

My checklist was: King size bed, refrigerator, microwave, parking, breakfast and some good places to eat because my wife is my Man vs. Food partner. So I decided on an area close to Philly since she loves cheesesteaks and the last time we ordered one, I ordered it like I was back in Baltimore and let’s just say this didn’t end well.  This is us in a nutshell.

Friday morning comes and all bags is packed and I’m getting the kids outta here and the first question I ask her is: tolls or no tolls. She politely put on her shades and said ‘nigga just drive the car don’t mess up this vacation for me or imma mess up the booty reparations for you this weekend’. Sidebar: I gotta shout out Warryn Campbell, if you haven’t watched the show We’re the Campbell’s check it out because right now he is arguably the big and black is back goat because every episode his wife ask him to do something and his reply is add to this the booty reparations. Therefore, I got to driving like Morgan Freeman in that Miss Daisy flick. I had the Spotify banging and we out. As we driving we approach this bridge and for the record my wife hates bridges so as we get closer she was like, ‘oh Lord Sonny why you aint tell me there was a damn bridge. Alexa play The Battle is not yours it’s the Lord by Yolanda Adams. You know what fuck it I’m going to sleep’. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that aint no damn Alexa in the car so instead I played Apeshit because that would describe my wife at that very moment. After that was over we was back in action talking about life shit listening to whatever Spotify played. We pull up to the hotel and I noticed a Wawa so instantly I’m like shit if she wants a snack got that 5 dollar sub and I look like a hero. Winner winner chicken dinner. I love driving with my wife because we have the same taste in music so as all these white people are in the lobby here comes the Grayson’s’ with this song blasting through the speakers:

“Pussy ho, pussy ho/ Pussy ho, she a pussy ho/These niggas won’t hold me back/These hoes won’t hold me back/These hoes won’t hold me back/These niggas won’t hold me back/These niggas won’t hold me back noooooooo”

Some look in disgust but I got a head nod from a Spanish kid and he was like, ‘ok ok I see you big guy…nice truck’. I gave him the head nod and proceeded to check in. As I’m checking in the manager says:

Manager: ‘We have breakfast from 6-10 and you are more than welcome to come down. Will you be joining us for breakfast? Also, don’t forget we have lemonade and ice tea available 24 hours a day as well”

Me: Well if you are offering. Siri set alarm for 6:30 am. You know I got to give the people a head start.

Wife: If you don’t be quiet wit cho Sams from Lean on me hungry ass and don’t you even think of bringing that bottle down and making a jumbo half and half.

Me: Shidddddddddddddddd-Clay Davis voice. I’m getting busy.

The room is nice. All the amenities accounted for so I begin my plot for dinner. In my mind, I am channeling Dave Chappelle from Half Baked when he went on that date but I know my wife aint playing that shit so I have to govern myself accordingly. Then my wife says:

Wife: Hey I’m thinking about a date night involving some steak and a ritzy restaurant. You know we haven’t had a date in a while and I saw what you put in that suitcase. Wear that shirt I like and imma wear what you like and oh yeah I saw it on Groupon. Sonny are you even listening to me you got that damn ESPN on you haven’t heard anything I said.

Me: Shut up quianna just shut up. (Now I know what you thinking…this nigga crazy, he aint getting no ass at all for all we know he might die tonight) but this is what I really said

Shut up, quianna just shut up. You had me at Groupon.

Wife: boy bye. Enough about tomorrow’s dinner what about tonight my nigga. Ishkabibble’s or nah

Me: We out.

Riding to Philly blasting this new Dave East mixtape feeling like Baltimore roads with all these damn potholes, uneven paving and constant construction reminders but I trust the process (see what I did there). Pull up to the spot and my wife begins to coach me like my life was on the line and in her eyes it probably was.

Wife: look babe forget what happened last time. You got this babe. You want me to google how to properly order a cheesesteak

Me: first of all it’s only a cheesesteak. Nigga do you see this body. Does it look like I need google?

Wife: to you it’s just a cheesesteak but to me it’s culinary matrimony. You know I like it when my man takes charge.

Me: that might have been the fattest shit I ever heard and yet I’m still turned on. Aight, see what google say but turn that Bluetooth shit off I don’t want nobody hearing this.

I go to the counter and hit the girl with the mean Marshawn Lynch talk:

Me: ‘You know why I’m here. Cheesesteak wiz wit”

In a perfect world there would have been commentary during this conversation from Mark Jackson saying ‘Mama there’s goes that man” or Stuart Scott yelling “booyah” as I ordered this food correctly. I get in the car and to see my wife smile over a cheesesteak is what marriage is all about, well at least my marriage.