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StreetLights June 9, 2018

This post is from June 9th, 2018. So, my friends, it fails to account for the crazy shit we are dealing with today. Now more than ever, we must be kinder to each other. We must make kindness a conscious effort with every interaction. We are all connected…

Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. These are just two of the most recent names, two people, two extraordinary people who made contributions to our society, our world. In the last 3 days almost 400 more people in this country have taken their own lives.

According to the American Foundation For Suicide Prevention, afsp.org, about 45,000 Americans die from suicide a year (2016 data). Far too many other people continue on a path of self-destruction from depression because their disease remains undiagnosed, untreated. They are lost at sea in their own body and mind. This is not a character flaw. This is a REAL DISEASE.

The reality is far more than just mental health contributes to suicide. In a nation as wealthy as ours, too many still don’t have access to affordable and proper healthcare. There are too many poor who are struggling. Economic crisis is a major contributor to depression.

But we also still have a stigma with depression. I have been suicidal two times in my life. I can say for my own experience, even though I had many people who loved me and cared for me even though I loved and cared for others, I was alone. I was confused. I was sad. I was filled with guilt and shame. I felt defective. And, I couldn’t see a clear path back to “normal.” Whatever that is…

Through the grace of God, I had angels who entered my life, I had circumstances that kept me from dying at those two critical moments in my life. But I still went on dealing with depression without truly understanding what was happening to me. More on me another time.

There are going to be about 123 suicides today according to statistics for 2016. Not to be pessimistic but given the current state of our country, I think that number is higher.

My love goes out to all who struggle with this disease.

I ask each of you to REALLY consider depression and think about the people in your life. Do any of them show signs of depression? Do you feel you might be dealing with depression?

This is a treatable, controllable disease or illness. And in truth there is some hope. The more we learn about genetic depression, the more medical researchers hypothesize that the same gene that causes depression also inspires creativity. When you think about it, for a great many of our artists, musicians, designers, actors who have fallen by their own hand, this is a rational argument. So, this means we can become better at treating depression.

In the mean time, be kind my friends. Slow down! Be kind to yourself. We are all in this together!

Shine your light brightly so people like Kate and Anthony might find their way out of the darkness and sorrow before its too late.

kindness #purposefulkindness #hope #peace #love #joy #TheKindnessClub #StreetLights #Grace #drivingawaydepression #weareallconnected #Whatawonderfulworld

Streetlights on a Saturday night 1 0f 3, April 1st, 2020

Part 1 of 3
James

Occurred March 25, 2018

James was scheduled to leave Denver late. It was Saturday. He had been away from home and his wife Emily, and their two daughters for almost two weeks. First was Phoenix, training. That was held over a day because it was determined they needed to make changes to the syllabus he had spent the better part of a month preparing. Then, on to Denver, where his company is headquartered. It seemed like nothing went right this trip. And, he felt like there were some precious memories he was missing at home in Frisco. Both his daughters had music recitals and sports activities, none of which James could obviously attend.

The Denver leg came with its own calamities. The first night, his room at the Fairfield had some environmental issues. The thermostat didn’t seem to be working so the heat was on or off. James was able to move to a different Marriott property altogether closer to his company’s address day two but that was the least of day two’s obstacles. His rental car had some kind of electrical failure. He had to use Lyft to get to HQ, late of course. Finally, he was given a nice Lincoln to drive for the remainder of his stay.

He had a late flight Saturday because he had expected to be in meetings most of the morning. When the meetings were cancelled, James decided to try for an earlier flight with American to get home to his family.

James went to fuel up the Lincoln before turning in. While fueling the vehicle he called his boss. Just as his boss said hello, James heard something splashing on the ground and turned to see fuel going everywhere because the nozzle didn’t auto-shutoff. He didn’t see an emergency shutoff button so he wrestled with the nozzle until it shut off while spewing gas everywhere. He had to call his boss back.
It didn’t stop there. Once he got the Lincoln, which was drenched on the side with fuel, back to the drop off, he began removing his stuff. He placed his trusty Starbucks coffee mug on the trunk of the car and then moved to the other side to pull out his bags. The attendant had already begun checking mileage and other items in the car without really acknowledging James’ presence. James once again called his boss to update him. The attendant popped the button on the trunk, sending James’ coffee mug flying through the air straight toward him. Instant reflex kicked in and he caught it but down went the phone with his boss still on the other end. The attendant didn’t notice anything and hustled away. James had a nice new cracked screen. But, he at least was able to finish the call with his boss.

James was starting to wonder, what next? Well…

There were two earlier flights on American to DFW and both were overbooked. American was looking to get 17 people on the first flight alone to volunteer to take another flight. James heard from another passenger, American offered one traveler $1,000 to give up his seat.
Okay, so no going home early. Now James would just have to settle in and wait until his 5pm flight. So his plane would arrive around 345 or so and then he would board after they fuel it and load bags, etc. A few minutes after the plane landed and most of the passengers had departed, there was an announcement that the flight would be delayed due to a technical problem. Exhausted and eager to get home, James asked the gate agent what was going on. Apparently, a departing passenger somehow triggered an emergency inflatable device (wasn’t clear exactly what this was, but assuming a raft?) inside the aircraft and now maintenance was trying to figure out what to do and whether or not the plane would be returned to service.

Now James was a seasoned business traveler so he knows there will always be issues from time to time but on this particular trip he was feeling cursed. It was finally determined the aircraft would not be airworthy in time to fly James and his fellow travelers back to DFW, so American announced they would be flying another aircraft in for their flight but it would take another 3 hours or so. And get this, it was coming from DFW!

The plane did arrive and the passengers were loaded and swiftly air born, bound for Dallas! James began to feel some momentum. Could he be leaving the curse behind in Denver? Nope! There was a 25 minutes delay with the baggage system. Ha! Now James was feeling completely beat down and defeated as he dragged his bag out the door of Terminal C, praying to God, “Please Lord, I just want to go home.”

James opened up his Lyft app and requested a car. The nearest one was 17 minutes away. Standing outside the terminal, well after midnight, James tried Lyft one more time. This time the nearest driver was 11 minutes away. James made the request and stood there aching and tired and wishing he could be home with his wife and his girls, wishing he could finally sleep in his own bed. He checked the app and sure enough, here came the vehicle he requested, he could see the Lyft light in the dash matching the color on his phone so he knew that one was for him. One more leg of this trip and he was home. “Please let this ride be smooth and without any issues…”


#Kindness #purposefulkindness #Whatawonderfulworld #hope #peace #love #joy #StreetLights #TheKindnessClub #Grace #weareallconnected

But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for…

StreetLights On A Saturday Night original post January 29th, 2019. I am asking unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks based on the experiences of the last year.

A few days after posting this last year, I had a heart attack. It was mild and I received two stents. However, last year’s health challenges didn’t end there. I ended up hospitalized 6 times last year for a variety of issues including the myocardial infarction, septicemia, other infections, a third stent, and neck surgery to finish out the year. I also continued to battle depression. All this to say the journey continues and what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. It’s cliche’ but true. Would it surprise you to know my faith in God, my connection to Jesus is even stronger?

This Sunday at Broadway Baptist Church, our Sr. Pastor, Ryon Price will be giving a sermon entitled, “What Are You Looking For?” As Pastor Ryon writes, “that is the title of the sermon but also the words Jesus asks to the first disciples to follow him. Oh, but the irony. The one who is asking the question is Himself its answer. He is what and who they are looking for, though they do not yet know it. All they know now is that they are looking for something, and they still haven’t found it, but they’ve been told by John to look the way of Jesus.
 
Sunday’s sermon will be about Jesus. It will be about our search and our longing for him. It will be about how, in Augustine’s words, “our hearts are restless until they find rest in [Him].”
 
I ask that you pray for Sunday. Somebody will surely show up looking for something, though they may know not what or who. Pray for me. Pray for them. Pray I can be like John the Baptist in the story and point them the way to the one who both has us asking and also is the answer.”

I would like to invite everyone to join us this Sunday at Broadway Baptist Church in Fort Worth. We are all on this journey together. Don’t worry about the Baptist part of Broadway Baptist Church. You don’t have to be Baptist to join us and find other seekers/searchers. Come get a spiritual recharge!

http://broadwaybc.org/
305 W. Broadway, Fort Worth, Texas 76104
Service begins at 1050am. Come early and join a Sunday School group at 925am

Now for the original post. Learning of this weekend’s (January 19, 2020 at 1050am) sermon reminded me of it…

A very significant milestone quietly passed by unnoticed over the weekend. When I realized it, I reviewed my recent trips to find out, Saturday night I gave Uber/Lyft ride number 5,000.

It turns out, that 5,000th ride was given to a woman name Lauren from Chicago. She has been living in Dallas for 6 months. She was just getting back from the frigid windy city. We talked about the differences between the two cities. We talked about Chicago style pizza. We talked about movies, careers, and we talked about a shared passion for music. Perfect strangers, but connected in this grand journey of life, of humanity.
We talked about kindness. We lamented the shortfall. And, we both pledged to keep making more.

This unexpected and awe inspiring path of 2 and a half years, 150,000 miles, and 5,000 rides has changed my outlook on life, on faith, profoundly. I am forever grateful. God has certainly continued to remind me of the importance of this path, and given me the grace to survive the struggles along the way.

Even with a profound sense of purpose, I wonder, I ache, I question. Even with this incredible sense of joy and peace, I hurt, I cry. Even with God’s steady hand, I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.

But I now know, that is an eternal search. And, that is how it is supposed to be.
To question, to challenge, to become more enlightened, all throughout the universe. We will forever be connected. We must, therefore live our lives in purposeful kindness, and love.

Music has been a steadfast companion all my life. I am fond of saying life is better with a soundtrack. But, music is so much more. It tells our stories. It gives us perspective. It stirs the adventure and curiosity in us all.

Bruce Springsteen introduced U2 into the Rocknroll Hall of Fame in 2005. Two musical entities that have done just that; stir emotion, curiosity, and tell our story so well.

Bono, at one the 25th Anniversary Rock&Roll Hall Of Fame concerts, said this…

“I’m thinking here in Rock&Roll’s great cathedral, that is Madison Square Garden, thinking in this moment about all the pilgrims, all the pioneers that got us all here. The saints and the heretics, the poets and the punks, that now make up the hall of fame. Its a dangerous thing, this business of building idols. But at least Rock&Roll is not, at its best, about worshiping sacred cows. It’s about the thousands of voices gathered in one great unwashed congregation, like tonight. For alot of us here, Rock&Roll just means one word, liberation; political, sexual, spiritual. Liberation.”

To which Bruce Springsteen replied, “Let’s have some fun with that!”

And they began to sing together.

I like this quote because it isn’t just relevant to musicians. It is all of us. It’s life’s journey.

Plus, U2 and The Boss together is frickin awesome!

As I prepare for whatever God has planned next for me, this song reminds me that we are all searching. Perhaps, I’ll take a drive down Thunder Road, and see what lies ahead.

Where will you go? What will you look for?

Will you be kind along your journey?

I hope so.

https://youtu.be/XJo6lN6cNm0

#kindness #purposefulkindness #Whatawonderfulworld #hope #peace #love #joy #StreetLights #TheKindnessClub #Grace

#TBT January 16, 2020

#TBT January 16, 2020

It’s floodin’ down in Texas.

I wish I could send this water to Australia. Truly, I do.

As I headed down to the Mitsubishi dealership bright and early this morning (Still trying to make sure everything is roadworthy as I resume my driving today), Bob Dylan popped up in my Spotify playlist. Believe it or not, as I sloshed through the high waters on Bowen road in Arlington, the song High Water came on.
As I listened intently for some further mystic message, because I was really paying attention now, I heard ol’ Bob make reference to Kansas City, 12th and Vine. Hmmm, that sounded familiar.

Sure enough, that corner was made famous from that song about goin’ to Kansas City.

I’m gonna be standing on the corner
12th Street and Vine
With my Kansas City b?aby
And a bottle of Kansas City wine.”

Ok, that song, ‘Kansas City’ was written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller two 19-year-old students in Los Angeles who had never been to Kansas City. So, maybe that isn’t the message I was looking for. Back to Dylan’s High Water. Dylan wrote this song as an ode to Charley Patton.

Ok, now we are getting somewhere! 

So who was Charley Patton and what might he be echoing to us today?

“Charley Patton was arguably the most influential pioneer of the Delta Blues genre. Charley was born in the late 1800s. One site says 1891 but there is no official birth record. Charley Patton has been called the Founder of the Delta Blues. He was born between Bolton and Edwards, Mississippi. Patton was of mixed black, white and native American ancestry. In the early 1900s his family moved to the Dockery plantation. Patton’s travels took him from Louisiana to New York, but he spent most of his time moving from plantation to plantation, entertaining fieldhands at jukehouse dances and country stores. The emotional sway he held over his audiences caused him to be tossed off of more than one plantation, because workers would leave crops unattended to listen to him play.”Although Patton was roughly five feet, five inches tall and only weighed 135 pounds, his gravelly, high-energy singing style made him sound like a man twice his size. An accomplished and inventive guitarist and lyricist, he was a flamboyant showman as well, spinning his guitar, playing it behind his head and slapping it for rhythmic effect.

He also preached in local churches, played for the deacons of New Jerusalem M.B. Church here and recorded religious songs, folk ballads, dance tunes, and pop songs.High Water Everywhere,” a dramatic two-part account of the death and despair wrought by the great 1927 flood, is often regarded as his masterpiece.

His songs offered social commentary and provided propulsive music for dancing. Patton sometimes employed multiple spoken voices to create his own cast of characters. While he was an inspiration to many musicians, including Howlin’ Wolf, Robert Johnson, Tommy Johnson, Willie Brown, Roebuck “Pops” Staples, Bukka White, Honeyboy Edwards, and even Bob Dylan, the individualistic quality of his singing and playing was so inimitable that relatively few blues artists ever attempted to record Patton songs. Patton’s last wife, Bertha Lee, lived with him in Holly Ridge and recorded with him at his final session in New York for Vocalion Records in 1934. Patton died of mitral valve disorder at the age of 43.When he died, he was buried in an unmarked grave. John Fogerty later had a memorial erected to correct the slight.

So here is today’s message, brought to you by Charley Patton…

And who better to deliver the message we need to hear than a man of God, of mixed race, and a man who sings the blues. We are on the precipice. No need to worry about falling because the flood is rising to us. The one thing I know about the blues is this, it is all about what ain’t right in the world and it is usually followed by change, big change. That flood is coming. Here is what each of us must contemplate on this rainy day:

When the flood comes and changes everything, will you adapt and change with it? Or will you cling to the ledge of old, tired idealogy that continues to split us all apart. It is time everyone started realizing,

WE ARE ALL CONNECTED!

The flood is coming, but it doesn’t mean the end. It means it is time to change the way we think about and treat each other. It is time for compassionate and kind leadership. It is high time for us to not just speak of loving each other, but show that love in our actions, in our daily living, in our religion, in our social media posts, in our language, in our laws, in our choices, our policies, our faith, and in our hearts.

If we heed the message, if we join together as God would have us do, the flood will carry us to that brighter day, together. If we stand apart on the precipice, we will just be washed away.

It’s raining.

The blues are playing.

Kindness is the key.

For more information about Charlie Patton, or the Bob Dylan song that I referenced, below are some links you might enjoy.

Charley Patton’s Grave

Trees

“Getting lost in the woods” is a phrase often associated with dark or troubled times in life.

If you are lost in the woods, take a moment. Take a deep long breath. Then look around you. The trees that surround you are not your enemy or your obstacle.

Look close and you will see, God has put those trees around you.
They are there to protect you, to give you sustainability. They help form and define your path.
Those trees are life giving and life saving. They offer you love and joy. Those trees are your friends and family, and safe spaces.

If you ever feel lost in the woods, take a breath, look around and know, you are not alone! Trust me, I’m an Oak…

#kindness #purposefulkindness #Whatawonderfulworld #hope #peace #love #joy #StreetLights #TheKindnessClub #Grace #drivingawaydepression

March 18, 2018

Caught this during yesterday’s travels after the first set of storms blew through. Thank you Lord! Yesterday, as I came across dozens of people trying to get from one place to another, I was reminded and amazed once again that people are generally kind, courteous, and caring for each other; even total strangers.

My last ride last night was a man named Mack. I picked him up at 2:58 a.m. in North Dallas. He was going to Cedar Hill. He was pretty quiet and so was I. It was my last ride after all and I was pretty tired.

Just after we crossed through the downtown area, Mack spoke up and said that this was the best ride he had ever had. Of course, I found this rather surprising since I had not really made any effort to speak with him or to provide any type of extraordinary service.

So I asked him what he meant. He said that this ride was the first time he had just stared out the window and enjoyed the lights of the city. The roads were quiet. Mack travels up and down the highways all the time for work. But when you are driving on a bustling highway, it’s hard to really look around and appreciate the sites. Mack hasn’t lived in Dallas very long, so this was the first time he really got a good look at downtown without having to focus on the road.

It’s great to stop and look around from time to time.
#StreetLights #Kindness #purposefulkindness #WhataWonderfulWorld

March 4, 2018 Hope at Broadway

Today is Sunday. Today is a day to be peaceful, to be joyful, to be loving, and to be hopeful. Today, reach out to God.

And, as always, be kind.

If you need a safe space, a place to connect with God, a place where your thoughts, and your beliefs are welcome, then come to Broadway Baptist Church.

It will change your life!

Broadway Baptist Church “There’s more than one way to be a Baptist!”

Thank you Mindy for sharing this song.

#Kindess #purposefulkindness #WhataWonderfulWorld