Brothers, here's your chance to help
out in writing this month's column by circling the word that best applies: "Have
you EVER had one of those days/weeks/months/years?"
Thanks, and you may be seated.
I'm growing more convinced that many of the issues that we face on a
daily basis; be they tied to a relationship, an employment situation,
advancement, or just plain ol' "Living In America" (like James
Brown once sang) lay beyond '...some black coffee and a hard roll".
It may just rest in our being re-forgotten.
COMING THROUGH--WITH THE HAMMER DOWN!
As I put the keys to the board to craft this month's column, I just
came through one of 'those' weeks. By week's end, I felt like the character
'Norm ' on 'Cheers'. You know, like I spent the week, wearing 'Milk Bone'
brand shorts! Emails, job challenges, family problems, and the usual
of the 'Shame, Blame, and Maintain' Taliban took a toll.
If you've been there, say AMEN somebody!
But the ultimate insult to my intelligence came from hearing from folk
whom I had helped in the past, who maintained the 'illusion' that they
got to their new destination by themselves, with outside help from no
one! On top of that, there were a few folk that I had in my short term
memory whom I had prayed with, cried with, and encouraged who also walked
No wonder Jesus Christ took a good look at the disciples around him after
one of his 'pew rocker' sermons and quipped, if I may paraphrase: "Oh,
and when are YOU going to head for the parking lot?" At least,
among His crew, came the response, again if I may paraphrase: "Where
WE gonna GO?"
Many of today's walkaways don't have the guts to leave a forwarding address;
but they WILL send you a glossy of their new house, new marriage, or new
If you're lucky--you'll hear about their success the same day you get
the news that you are about to be audited by the IRS.
Brothers, sometimes you have to get beyond the present--or past--hurts
in life that can rock you, shock you, or block you, and STILL reach forward
to help and do your best. Yes, even to risk becoming listed among the
But there is something I have noticed about being numbered among this
crew of courageous warriors. I sleep a whole lot better at night, KNOWING that
I did the right thing when everyone else would not only be content to
do wrong; YOU may not get a phone call or thank-you card
when they DO become successful.
DON'T PRACTICE WHAT YOU'VE RECEIVED:
Let me toss in a quick definition.
For one to be 'forgotten' means that a person, or persons have
accepted your gift, contribution, encouragement, or cash, and quickly
forget that you helped them out. Like the proverbial man looking in the
mirror...when he leaves, he forgets about his reflection and appearance.
To be 're-forgotten' means, in my view, that a person, or persons
have come back for more help, you help them again, and not only do they
walk away...they get a severe case of amnesia--as if you never existed,
nor helped them the FIRST time.
Brothers, there are a LOT of us who have been drafted into the
re-forgotten ranks. If you've been there, say AMEN again, somebody! Re-forgotten.
You've been there, but just didn't know what to call it! Nevertheless,
we STILL have to proclaim the truth, do the job, and look for
more opportunities to help those who need it, in order to stretch our
OWN souls. We have to actively counter the 'I Did It My Way' culture
we live in, with the admonition I first heard proclaimed by Pastor Alistar
Beeg out of Cleveland, Ohio: "Do right, because it is right to do
right, whether or not it is the right thing to do!"
A FEW EXAMPLES FROM A FEW SITUATIONS:
We've often heard: 'When life hands you a lemon, make lemonade'. Well,
I want to go a step further. When you have been re-forgotten--and those
times in life are going to take place--you just have to shrug those times
off, stomp on them, walk on them, and rise out of the pit of depression,
a level at a time.
Take the matter of some of our OWN. There have been Africans, Jamaicans,
and other brothers and sisters of color who have come to this country,
not knowing the customs, language, or even their way around. Many a regular
person has gone out of their way to help them out; show them around;
sponsor them when they made it to college, university, or advanced job
What was OUR reward? Just read the Internet. There are a whole
lot of our brothers and sisters who have either made it back home to
the Motherland, or opted to stay in America who DARE to 'lift their noses'
in the air against many African-Americans who took the time to help THEM
'get over'. Then, as the final insult, THEY write to us asking US to
finance their new ventures! Often the re-plea starts out with 'be a brother'!
They have more nerve than a bad tooth!
Want more? OK--let's check out the classroom. Many a black teacher or
administrator will take time out of their already jam-packed schedule
to help, mentor and/or serve as surrogate parent to a child, or children,
who are the product of single, or two-parent homes. Then, the Mom and/or
Dad will 'gang-tackle' them for being 'busybodies'.
"You have no right to correct 'my' child!" These airheads often
say, pounding a finger in your chest. The teacher, administrator, or
mentor feels bewildered as they have to expend MORE energy and resources trying
to 'calm' the 'offended' party down, while the wayward child THEY took
the time to help is the first one to help fire the bricks used to pelt
Oh, I've got more horror stories. The pastor whom you helped grow his
ministry, then turns around and brings in the less-faithful and less-talented
for the best assignments. The sister who spends thousands on a wedding,
then finds that her new husband has a brain, too--and off she troops for
divorce court. The 'study buddy' who 'misplaces' your notes, and THEY
snag the top grade on the exam.
The peers who ridicule YOU for being, or acting 'white' because YOU believe
in good grades, hard work and not playing while in school. The people
whom you have helped 'on your way up' the career ladder or Black Business
Venture Group. WHEN your time comes on the unemployment line, and you
look for help, not only are nowhere to be found; they mouth 'George Who?'
That is--IF they return your phone calls in the first place!
Congratulations! You have just won a ticket among the re-forgotten!
A PRIZE FOR THE RE-FORGOTTEN:
And, here is your prize for those efforts, which I was led to on the
Internet by "Insight For Living" founder, Chuck Swindoll. A
poem that you may want to post in a place where you can see it--for those
times that you WILL come across, my brother. The name of the poem is: Anyway! And,
yes, I do have it posted on my office wall.
We may not ever know who the author was but--from the words penned--it
sure sounds like they understood what it was like to be listed among the
People are often unreasonable, illogical and self centered; Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; Be
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and true enemies;
If you are honest and frank, they may cheat you; Be forthright anyway.
What you spent years building, they may destroy overnight; Build anyway.
The good you do today, they often will forget tomorrow; Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it will never be enough; Give the world
the best you've got anyway.
You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God; It was never between
you and them, Anyway.