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Nothing Lasts Forever… Because Change.

If you were expecting a depressing post about endings and enjoying things while they last… You and your pessimism are going to be sorely disappointed. Friday, March 21st is the first official day of Spring! The season of new beginnings, change, growth, rebirth and all he stuff we have a bad habit of expecting on January 1st, in the dead of winter while the populous is reeling from meals they shouldn’t have eaten and purchases they shouldn’t have made.

That’s right folks, if I had to pick a favorite season, it would be Spring. Sure, I love Autumn… falling backward on the clock… the return of my favorite TV series…boot season… and my favorite holiday All Hallows Eve… but there’s something about the smell of crisp spring rain on a dewy morning and droplets shimmering on newly sprouted leaves that just makes me feel alive.

So what are we really talking about nothing lasting forever for? because when it comes to change and growth, there is no time like the present. I mean seriously, we just talked about this. Personally, I am all about change right now. Good, bad or indifferent, growth is happening and change looks good on me. No, everything isn’t like skipping through tulips every day. I have moments… ok, hours where all of the voices in my head decide to test my resolve… but I come out and I am still moving forward. Let’s talk metaphysics

We talk about going backward and planning for the future, but the only thing we have is right now. The minute I just spent typing this sentence is a minute I will never get back. I am losing moments of my life one keystroke at a time… with each breath… each blink… every pause to reread, edit, and carefully select my next words, I am losing time that I could spend doing any number of things that could lead the rest of my entire Flutter-bylife in a completely different direction, including to its end. The moments I’m spending putting these words to this page is setting an infinitesimal array of unforeseen events into motion… not just in my life, but in every life, that touches every other life, that touches every other life… like a never ending echo… like a butterfly effect. Think about that. If you had to remember that every moment, every action, every thought you have would definitely change someone else’s world, wouldn’t you make your actions more meaningful? Wouldn’t it be worth it to you to make your life meaningful? I forgot that human are to selfishness as white is to rice. Let’s try this: If you knew that what you chose to do right now could be the reason you do or don’t find $1,000,000,000,000 in your bank account tomorrow, wouldn’t you make whatever you’re doing right now matter? Yeah you would. And you know what, it does. Fortunately, life doesn’t work that way, and since we don’t know which moves we make will cause our success or demise, we should live every moment. Not survive or tolerate it. LIVE it. Live it now, not tomorrow, because we have no idea what is going to happen in the next few moments that will make tomorrow disappear. Nothing, save death, lasts forever…. and we’ve all heard stories and philosophies that suggest even that might not be the case.

The change you regret today, could be the change you needed to get you to where you wanted to go all along. Take chances. Make changes. Remember that forever is an abstract that has neither an beginning nor an end. Change happens whether you accept it, embrace it, or expect it, or not. Make this your time to

Do more. Require Better.

 

I don’t want to be a gun.

The reality is most American citizens and immigrants who are black will not face the end of a gun held by a nervous or improperly trained police officer. Most black Americans will never know the fear that engulfs any sane person who is facing a life threatening situation such as Michael Brown did this past summer. I will not debate nor entertain who precipitated the untimely death of a life cut down too soon. I will not concern myself with the lawfulness or lack of it because I am not a lawyer and do not play one on television. What I will talk about is the feeling I have, in my own heart, in the aftermath of the Ferguson shooting. It is the same reaction I had after the murder of Trayvon Martin and Tamir Rice of Cleveland.

Numb realization that there are situations in our lives that are sometimes spun out of control. And in those situations, it’s usually going to end badly for the involved. It may not always be race or prejudice. It may not always be wrong place wrong time. It may not always be bad decision making. It may not be potentially dangerous laws like Stand Your Ground. It may not be born of misunderstanding. But no matter the reason for the loss of livelihood, status, or life, all involved are affected… Sometimes permanently.

And here I am, left to stand by, wondering why. Why has it happened again? Why has yet another situation spun out of control? Why has the law failed to protect the legacy of the dead? Why is there ambivalent feelings surrounding the survivors? Why must I, as a father of a black teenage boy, once again have to enter into conversation about why a fellow black boy has died and he is never going to have the chance to meet him? Why must I lose sleep at night and spend my days praying for my sons safe return at night? Why must I constantly seek comfort in biblical passage and in my Lords words to counteract the pain I feel?

Why am I left with more unanswered than answered questions?

I am tired of being afraid. I am worn from being bombarded with issues of race from the media. Do not get me wrong. I do not fault the media. It’s their job to report the day’s events in a responsible manner. What bothers me is just how OFTEN they must do it because the events just keep happening.

I’m starting to think that this is why Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Dr. Cornell West, and others throughout American history have taken up the torch to take an active role in the eradication of poverty and Institutionalized racism. Because sitting on the sidelines is maddening. It makes one feel impotent. It makes one numb… As I feel.

Long ago, I realized that when I take an active role in the creation or furthering or completion of anything, I do not feel this way. When I started working with my church, my family, and my various places of employment over my short life, I now realize (with the benefit of hindsight) that when I became involved and an active participant I no longer felt affected but instead I felt effective.

So what to do?

I act in my own small way. I’m not brave enough to carry the very heavy torches that Dr. King Jr. carried. The hefty weight of responsibility that Malcolm X bore. What I can do, is be a help to those I am blessed to meet in the several stations of my life. I can usher someone who knows no better through a problem they have so they need not face the business end of a metaphorical gun. The metaphorical gun being an unfair opinion rendered by an angry official. Or the metaphorical gun of a disrespectful policeman who has misjudged me and my station, how I react to diffuse the situation. The metaphorical gun of being a stumbling block to someone who wishes to have just a closer walk with thee. The metaphorical gun of foolish commentary when wise absorption of news events will empower me to instead speak intelligently about it.

I refuse to allow myself to be a metaphorical gun to someone else. I wish to be the kind of person I want to see. I’m just foolish enough to hold onto the belief that if I live my life uprightly enough someone may see my example and choose a different path. A path that they may previously have not considered possible or attainable.

It’s very possible that the decisions made that horrific day in Ferguson Missouri this past summer and more recently would have happened anyway. That the fate of that flawed officer and that doomed boy were sure to occur no matter what I or anyone did or could do. But it is also very possible none of it would’ve happened if those two ill fated humans had had different life experiences. If they had been witness to such an amazing series of people making wise decisions for themselves and with others that the officer and boy might’ve chosen not to do whatever it is they did.

Maybe. Just maybe.

For them I will never know. But for tomorrow and tomorrows tomorrow, I will continue to be active in my own way. To be the kind of man I want to be. And I will continue to hope and pray and teach and live in such a way that other folks decisions might alter for the better because they witnessed something or someone doing better.

Sometimes being right sucks.

Sometimes being right sucks.

That isn’t something you’ll hear many people say, but it’s true. Sometimes you look at things and you know how it’s going to play out, so you make a prediction. Sometimes it’s good to be right, other times it sucks. This is one of the times when being right sucks. See, nobody wins over me being right on this issue and it has done nothing but proven just how utterly screwed we all must be. I know what you must be saying “But Revanchist, what were you right about?”.

Well, to be simple, everything I talked about last week. You see, not only is the war in the Ukraine revving up once more with reports that Russia is moving heavy weapons and troops into Eastern Ukraine again but a report from the Pentagon came out that says the U.S Mission to combat Iraq would most likely require boots on the ground in Iraq again.

Sure, Obama said he wouldn’t put troops on the ground but I’m sure we all knew that was going to fly out the window sooner or later. We pushed ISIS but no matter how hard we pushed them with the air campaign, it wasn’t enough to stem the rising tide. Can we ever stem this tide? I don’t think so, I think we made a mistake in 2003 when we first invaded Iraq. I was right in that regard, as well. Without the Tyranny of Saddam holding the country together the only thing our foray into Iraq has given us is a new breed of jihadists. How did it happen? Well, alot of the people that joined ISIS were just children when the United States invaded Iraq. Right or wrong, those Children grew up in the worst possible of environments and they had a clear name to point fingers at for why their world sucked so bad.

Was eliminating Saddam necessary? Probably,  but I do not think it was the right course of action to take. We eliminated the lesser of two evils, it seems. Sometimes the devil you know is better than the one you don’t, I’m not sure how we thought this would somehow be different, that after we toppled Saddam the entire country would forget about centuries old grudges and ethnic ties. You cannot impose a western mentality on a country like Iraq, where loyalty lies more to ones tribe than it does to a unified concept of a country. How could we expect them to see that we were the right ones when all those young children saw was the devastation brought by American bombs and American soldiers?

So, while I was right, I take no joy in it. American citizens are once again going to spill their blood in a foreign country. In retrospect, it is kind of absurd. Today, people who were just children when the Iraq war began are getting ready to pick up the fight. Over ten years have passed since we invaded Iraq in what was a conflict that was supposed to end in just a month — a fact that seems almost like a joke eleven years down the line, when an entirely new generation of Americans are going to be dying for a war that was started by their fathers.

When Herbert Hoover said “Older men declare war. But it is the youth that must fight and die.” I don’t think he ever predicted that it would come to a situation like this. On one side, we have the disillusioned youth of Iraq and Syria who watched their country torn to shreds by foreign interests who picked up the flag of rebellion and religious extremism versus the children of the conquerors. Much as the conflict in Palestine continues to breed new generations of religious zealots, I have no doubt that the continued conflict in Iraq will continue to create new generations of Jihadists.

As of this moment, the war against ISIS costs $300,000 an hour to fight and that is before we actually deploy any sort of real manpower. We all knew from the beginning that this war was going to be one we could not win with air power alone, and anyone else who thought otherwise I would call hopelessly optimistic. There is still hope, though. Write your congressmen, tell them you are opposed to another ground war in Iraq. It might work, but I doubt it — America has already made their vote when they elected warhawks, I only hope that they made the right one.

Speaking of voting, it isn’t even like a majority of American’s voted the Republicans in on principal. The truth of the matter is that the country only had a 36% voter turnout, the worst this country has had in nearly 72 years. That is the problem with our country, it isn’t that we cannot make the right decisions just that we no longer care enough to try. To those of you who believe your political apathy does not hurt the country, I can only shake my head at you and sigh. You do yourself and your country a great disservice when you do not vote — it is by majority that these people are supposed to be elected, not by 36%. So, maybe we won’t actually end up with another war in Iraq, because at this point I’m hoping that I’m wrong.

– The Revanchist

Story Time: Life Lessons & Gratitude

Today, I appreciate the smell of clean linen.
I was pretty sick not too long ago, and then I spent the last week or so recuperating, still congested with occasional chills and night seats, unable to really smell or taste anything. Then I woke up on Saturday completely disgusted by the smell of sweat and sickness. I know, you must feel so close to me right now. I mean, I’ve just shared something uncharacteristically intimate and personal with you: literally airing my dirty laundry.

Don't you feel so much closer to me now?

Don’t you feel so much closer to me now?

You see, that’s one of those things that people do when they get comfortable with you. They share things; intimate and personal things that suggest trust. The sharing of personal information and intimate truths are the things that strengthen the intricate and complicated bonds of friendship. When we talk about “airing dirty laundry,” we’re usually talking about things that one might be ashamed of or aren’t meant for polite conversation. In this case, I’m talking about something that happened as a natural progression of  things that can happen. I have no shame. I have no reason to whisper or check to see who’s listening in to my conversation. I didn’t do anything wrong. I was assaulted by the flu virus, and naturally, my body’s instinctive defense mechanisms kicked in to high gear causing me to sweat, cough, sneeze and eventually push the invaders out through my pores.
Thank you science.

It’s funny how life provides us with so many examples of how things are supposed to work. Something, or someone, invades your space, self-preservation kicks in, and you kick the unwanted interloping agent out. Its such a simple process that when in comes to the toxic people in our lives, it’s astounding how long it takes us to realize they’re there, then for our defense mechanisms to actually kick in and evict them from our lives. Mother nature provides us with a simple template to follow, and we, being the simple, vain creatures that we are, think we can do better… Silly humans.

My message to you this week is simple: get rid of the toxins in your life, and appreciate the fruits of your labor. Whether its people, habits, sickness of mind or body, let it go. Don’t allow it/them to occupy the valuable real estate that is the space in your life. Either start charging rent, or evict the suckers… because that is what they’re doing: they are sucking the life energy right out of you. That’s why we get so tired when we’re sick or stressed; because our energy is being consumed by elements that need to be evicted.

http://youtu.be/ME76Sg7J6fk

So yeah, I’m enjoying the smell of my clean linen. Smells a lot like victory. #Winning

Speak, child. Speak.

I met an artist recently who was presenting his work. Bold strikes against the canvas. Strokes of color that fly against vivid backdrops and each color evoking a story. And another. And another. The artist spoke of muses. Inspirations from his vision of the world. How an abstract image is what we see but his eyes saw order in the riot. Amazing. Fabulous. And educational.

Then he told me of how he spoke with another creator of art. And he learned two things:

When you make it, know when to stop.

When you put it out there, be satisfied with it.

That got me to thinking, I said to him. That when we create something, that something should be satisfying. Of course not everything we do is satisfying or awe inspiring. In fact some things we make are downright embarrassing. But if we really care about it. Really care how it is seen by others. Truly are concerned that what we’ve made is the best we could make. Then we should also care enough to be sure that what we make is at least satisfying to us.

Art is nothing less than a precious child to an artist. He or she is always on edge hoping that those who experience it are as happy with it as the artist is. “Art,” he said, “continues to speak for the artist..” Long after the artist is dead and gone. The art continues to speak.” The child has it’s own voice. Speak child, speak. I felt a moment of truth there. Oprah calls it an aha moment. I said to myself “Aha!” But to the artist I simply said,”..That’ll preach.” And he smiled.

I believe that what we create speaks for us after we are dead and gone. I believe that what we create tells a story when it’s creator is no longer capable of telling that story. I feel that it is even more important than I initially realized that what we do and say and build and create and love and are stewards of; we must be satisfied with it. What ever it is. It must at least be satisfying.

Recall the movie “Babe”. Farmer Hoggett spared Babes life and raised him. Farmer Hoggett was not one to heap praise upon anyone or anything. He was not one to walk about smiling all the time about random things. But when he saw Babe do his very best and it was enough he said very simply

“.. That’ll do, Pig. That’ll do,” and when he said that, Babe knew then that his loving ‘father’ was pleased. But more accurately to his demeanor, Hoggett was satisfied.

When I think back on all the things I’ve done in my own life. The many things I’ve created and the things I deconstructed. The things I’ve loved and the things that I’ve turned away from. The relationships I’ve built and the ones I couldn’t maintain. I look back on all those and question, am I satisfied?

By and large I am.

As a man of faith I also wonder if God is satisfied with what He created. If He ever thinks, “… Man. If I could do this all over again….” I know God reconsidered everything. Hence the flood. But realizing the terrible choice made, He promised never to do that again on such a grand scale. And not again with water. But that in no way suggests that He doesn’t still wonder if his creations are in any real way speaking for Him? Are we saying things that He is satisfied with?

I wonder if I’m doing enough to satisfactory to Him?

If an artists work is hoped to speak for him. If The Creators work is to speak for Him, am I saying anything of worth? Anything that gives honor and does even a modicum of justice? I hope so.

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Weddings, Reunions, Dental vists, and SHAKE UPS!

So you may have noticed someone has been missing a lot lately. You may have even noticed when he goes missing he doesn’t always explain why. Well…yeah no real explanation, sorry for that.

 

In other news I have been gone meeting old friends, getting massive dental work, and being best man in a wedding. Shout out to Superfans Chris and Ania Moncrief(aka Superman and Lois Lane) who celebrated their love in the classiest of weddings this past weekend.

 

You crashed both the wrong and the right wedding.

You crashed both the wrong and the right wedding.

But that Shakeup word is here again for good reason. 

 

Things are about to get interesting. Not only has WDDIJ been dealing with the …well Hilarious nature of advertising negotiations, but as you may have noticed we’ve lost a few authors. These things are not points to worry over. Trust me. In fact, the very way you view WDDIJ is about to change for the better.

 

In a short explanation, we’re doing an overhaul.

Why?

Because at 5500 views, we are little less than halfway to the year two viewership goal, and its only been 3 months.

In short, I’ve been short sighted.

 

To remedy that, I had to get to work.

And believe you me, the work is paying off.

Launching this fall is our interview series “Imperial Dreams”

Launching sooner rather than later this summer is a new format to the website

And Look for some shake ups in the staff as well.

Nothing drastic folks, but we want you to have a great experience.

And we want you to come to us for more of your daily content.

SO we need to be a place you want to come to.

And since I’ve been slacking on that. It is time to pick up the pace.

Of course I could tell you so much more, but as you know…

WORDS DON’T DO IT JUSTICE!

– THE Ruthless Wonder

Miss me yet?

I miss the smell of cement as I lay on it after class.

I miss the way my feet feel after biking all over the neighborhood.

I miss my coke bottle glasses because I didn’t get it choose them but mom did.

I miss the anxiety of missing homework.

I miss when it’s time to tend my grandparents garden so they can can the okra for next winter.

I miss what Saturday morning top 40 countdowns sound like as my hand hovers over the play And record levers.

I miss standing in line for the concert tickets on a Sunday morning in June for the show in August.

What I miss most is no responsibility but to myself and yet…..

And yet.

I still don’t think that I’d be satisfied with myself if all those things came back to life. Here and now. You see, if the radio played this and the cement smelled like that, I’d feel good. But I wouldn’t be good. I’d be stuck in my distant past. No children whom I get to embarrass and love in equal measure. No wife to cuddle with. No career to nurture. No car to fuss over. I’d be missing it and not even know it.

Being grown is good. Yeah. There’s a plethora of duties, regrets, memories and responsibilities. But as an adult I can finally appreciate all that I accomplished in a given day. Ever so much more than I could as a short lived child.

Perhaps that is after all the blessing of age. Wisdom. Having lived my life to its fullest potential.

I’ve loved before. Often. I’ve been loved. Often. I will continue to live and love. Often. It’s a capacity I have now that a selfish child cannot fully express and yet fully appreciate. It is as a child I learned the most important thing about life. Not to live but to love. Because in living is love and in love is living. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, keep on living. You’ll get it.