Fear Not

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I am on my knees in a Florida hotel room with tears running down my face.  Honestly, I would much rather keep this to myself but I know someone needs to read this.  I feel a little overwhelmed but not with sadness.  Rather, it’s a sobering awareness of GOD’s mindfulness towards me.

The past year and a half was tougher than I have admitted to anyone.  Frankly, there was only so much I could explain with words.  You may know like I do, what it’s like to have limited cash with barely enough money to buy gas for your car and then to lose that car.  You may have an idea of what it is like to face a crisis and feel like you’re quickly running out of options in a world where people are often measured by the contents of their pockets instead of the content of their character.

Although most persons in Orlando are vacationing,  I am not. I’m here on a very important mission that I will tell you more about in future blogs.  Right now, I’m reflecting on today’s devotions.  The words got pass my ears and have reached my soul. My spirit marvels at GOD’s love. “Fear not,” it reads, “for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.’

For anyone who has a dream and you are wondering how you will beat the odds, I am talking to you. For that person who is at odds with a spouse, friend, coworker, business partner or family member and wants to find peace and resolve, I am talking to you.  To that teenager or adult who wants to better understand him or herself or forgive herself, I’m talking to you.  To that educator, construction engineer, student, CEO, administrator, carpenter, doctor, and unnamed persons who want to fully understand and complete their life’s purpose, I am talking to you.  For that person who wants to be loved, valued and respected, I AM TALKING TO YOU.

I’m not trying to give you a panacea like the one found in the “Alice in Wonderland” fairy tale. In most circumstances, clicking your heels will not make things better.  Rather, I am talking about forming a foundation of faith that you build on with your actions.  I can only share my personal story and the rewards of my relationship with CHRIST.  I’m not perfect but HE is.

We all have our own minds and hearts and I respect yours even if we don’t share the same convictions.  My heart is not to offend but to remind you that you are valuable, you are worth it. You can push beyond your ‘pause.’ Face your disappointments, even your fear of failure.  “The fears we don’t face become our limits”, says Robin Sharma. If you can’t fly, run; if you can’t run, walk; if you can’t walk, crawl but by all means keep moving,” Dr. Martin Luther king Jr.

What you do matters. ~ Kirk Johnson

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Meeting Oscar-Winning Actor Sidney Poitier

Sidney Poitier honoured by President Obama

Sidney Poitier honoured by President Obama

My meeting Sir Sidney Poitier was without the extended entourage, fine tailored suits and clamoring reporters we often see.  It was not at the renaming ceremony of the Paradise Island Bridge in The Bahamas, nor was it during his guest of honour  appearance at Oprah’s “Dinner of a Lifetime with Sidney Poitier”  or President Obama’s honoring ceremony.

Rather, It was last weekend on the set of a video shoot for a new production by Regal Shine Films.  We were shooting in a cemetery near historic Nassau in The Bahamas.  However, the internationally acclaimed actor and diplomat was there for a completely different reason.  His limousine quietly drove into the cemetery’s parking lot and after a few minutes, a small group of persons made their way towards us.  It wasn’t until he was within 30 feet that I realized it was Sir Sidney, a few family members and a single bodyguard.  I would also later discover that the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the honourable Fred Mitchell, his driver, a press officer from the government’s Bahamas Information Services and a few others were present.

However, they, like us were not the focus of his attention.  We would later greet him, shake his hands and listen to his personal words of inspiration.  But right then, it was as if we weren’t there.  Understandably, he had a singular focus.  He was there to visit his parents’ place of rest.  He first walked to his father’s gravesite and spent a few minutes in quiet contemplation.  Then he walked the extra 50 yards to visit his mother’s grave and there he sat alone with the woman who gave birth to him 85 years ago.

My emotions were torn between the enthusiasm of meeting the man who inspired my father and whose cousin was  my mother’s neighbor and the sobering sense of loss that he was likely experiencing.  It was not the first time I had met Mr. Poitier but I can’t help but wonder if it was my last.   It made me think about how fortunate I am to still have my parents alive. More importantly, the need for me to fully value them in ways that are clear to their understanding.  Truth is, we can love someone all we want but if they don’t interpret it as love that meets their need, then there’s a shortfall.

In your case, my encouragment may relate to a friend, love interest or coworker, a family member or a complete stranger.  Life doesn’t always give us that “second chance.”  Make every moment count.  What you do matters.

KJW

Parasailing at Sunset

Kirk & Charlene Sunset Parasailing

Kirk & Charlene Sunset Parasailing

At hundreds of feet in the air, our feet dangled.  Then we extended our arms like sea gulls as the fresh ocean breeze gently moved us back and forth.  What’s the most adventurous thing you’ve done? What’s the most romantic thing you’ve experienced?  Can you imagine bringing both together and sharing it with someone you think is awesome?  I did that and what a fantastic experience it was. Today, I treated Charlene  to a surprise parasailing adventure.

About two weeks, I told her I had planned an “experience” for her and that it may include getting wet.  I answered her questions with skillful ambiguity and she accepted.   Even after we arrived at the beach she still did not know why we were there.  No doubt, the collection of jet skies gave her an idea but it was the ideal distraction to the real surprise.   The weather was a cool 70 degrees fahrenheit and the sun was setting.  The perfect time for a romantic soar for two at two hundred and fifty (250) feet.

The team at J. R. Action Water Sports ferried us by jet ski to the launch pad.   Charlene and I slipped into our life vests as the father and son team joked about what we were about to do.  We all laughed about medical insurance.  They were just as friendly as Marcia, who had greeted us near the water’s edge.  We were soon harnessed to our chute and off we went from the platform.

We rose higher and higher until we could see many of the notable landmarks on New Providence and Paradise Island.  Below us were miles of crystal clear ocean and to the west of us, one of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen.   I was in no hurry for it to end and neither was she.   We locked arms in a pose similar to Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Rose (Kate Winslet) “flying” on the bow of the Titanic in the movie of the same name.  It felt great to see her smile.

Parasailing is not for everyone but quality time certainly is.  Today, make the extra effort to make that someone special feel valued and treasured.  The love you give is an investment not only in the person but equally yourself.   You’re worth it.  What you do matters.

~ KJW

When I Grow Up

“I Love My Life”….the popular reggae song played from the boom box connected to my iPad as the group of about eighty, 5th and 6th grade boys swayed to the positive lyrics.  Then, their excitement and anticipation grew as I selected a few of them to show their dancing skills in front of the class.  Each of the four boys showed off their popping, breaking and other popular dance moves as their classmates cheered them on.

As the momentum continued to build, the students eagerly shouted responses to my rallying call.  “CW Sawyer Eagles can you hear me?”  “Yes Sir!” they screamed.   With the room divided into two halves, each tried to top the other.  They seemed as excited about the music and entertainment as the permission to shout as loudly as they wanted.  We laughed, clapped our hands and talked for about 40 minutes.  But what stood out most to me was our discussion about what they wanted to be when they grow up.  Mick wants to be a dancer, Roland a Royal Bahamas Defense Force officer, Wisley a carpenter and Teko, an FBI agent.  Joranden wants to be an astronaut, Shaquille an NBA star and Daron a truck driver.  For others, they want to be a singer, doctor, artist, scientist, fisherman, track star, musician, UFC fighter, teacher, zoo keeper, pilot and even a spy.  Phil Stubbs’ popular Bahamian song, Persevere reinforced the importance of what they had to say.  It took longer than I had expected but gladly I listened as every one of the young men got to express his dream for adulthood.

What about you? What would you like to be when you “grow up”?  Some of us are barely past our teens.  That’s the Justin Bieber, Bodine and TI’s of today.  Others of us have been around long enough to know who John F. Kennedy, R.M. Bailey and Bruce Lee are.  Wherever you are on the time line, the truth is your time won’t last forever.  Carpe diem, “seize the day.”  What you do matters.

KJW

The Other Woman

Affair at the OfficeKaren’s married but she’s kissing her boss. I’m sitting here seeing it for myself but I still can’t believe it.  I feel the anger building inside.  Am I expected to sit here and pretend I don’t know what is happening?  Her coworker Shirlene knows what’s going on and as if on cue, delays Wade’s wife Sophia in the office next door. Sophia doesn’t suspect anything but how long will this deceitful game continue before the walls come crashing down and the truth is exposed?

Today, I am on the set of “The Other Woman” a dramatic and emotionally charged stage play, produced by twins Radel and Ranel of Redemptive Productions.   It is another day of rehearsals and the actors are an impressive bunch.   Graciously, I am one of them as is my fiancée Charlene.  You won’t believe the roles we play but I will share more about that in my future blogs.  Opening night is still weeks away but the country is already buzzing about this “real to life” Bahamian drama inspired by the styling of actor, director Tyler Perry.

How many of us know of similar true stories?   I am talking about the men and women in marriage or committed relationships that decide to go rogue?   Cheating, like most things, is a process.  It begins as a seed in the mind and grows to something more.   Some experts contend that cheating happens when an unfulfilled partner seeks fulfillment elsewhere.  To others, “stepping out” is the act of selfish ingrates who would be unfaithful under the best of circumstances.  The fact is that it happens and often results in deep hurt, anger and resentment.   However, I am not writing to castigate anyone.   But rather, to remind  us of the importance of honouring our commitments; exploring and discovering who we are and our values; openly and honestly talking with our mate or spouse about our desires, struggles and aspirations; resolving conflict in a timely manner and investing the time and effort to understand and meet the needs of our love one.  Faithfulness is a decision and a responsibility.  What you do matters.

KJW

The “Perfect” Storm

Hurrican Sandy 4bHave you experienced a hurricane or tornado?  I have.  In fact, several.  The threat of a hurricane or cyclone strike is as much a way of life for those of us in Florida, China and the Caribbean as the threat of twisters in Kansas, Texas or Oklahoma.  What’s more, social media and news stories share the experience with the world.

Right now I’m having to stay inside as Hurricane Sandy leaves her footprints throughout my community.  Gale force winds rush through every opening it can find and the trees outside move like a disorganized Olympic rowing team.  While most of us know of the destructive power of a storm, earthquake or tsunami, we may not as quickly consider the “little” things we do or say that may damage or potentially destroy our lives or someone else’s.

Poor eating habits, consuming or abusing substances (not all of which are illegal), conversations and associations that undermine good character and integrity, thoughts that move our minds to self-defeating attitudes, condescending remarks to others (even those we say we love), viewing and reading material that blur the line between right and wrong and the list goes on.  A few days go, a mechanic told me that a car is like a human being. What you put in (fuel, oil etc) is what comes out (performance and reliability). Invest your time, talents and resources in building the best you and those around you.  What you do matters.

KJW