They Shot and Killed My Brother…

Police Crime Scene

Police Crime Scene

My younger brother Craig was shot and killed by a group of men during what police described as an attempted robbery.   How could this happen and I’m asking God, “why?”  Why my brother?    He was attacked by thugs who shot him and then shot my father.   My dad survived but my brother did not.  I cried like a baby when I got the news.

Today, more than 10 years later, I still feel the pain.  Even now my eyes are filling with tears as I write this message.  Tucked away in my office, I’m doing the best I can to quickly wipe away the tears but they keep falling.   Each wiped tear is replaced by several others.  God help me.  How do I handle this?  I have so many questions.  They killed my little brother and it hurts inside.  What’s more, the murderers have not yet been apprehended.

It’s my father’s birthday today and so is Craig’s.  He would have been thirty-five years old if he were alive.  One of his favorite songs was Believe by Cher.   For several years following his death, my brother’s birthday was my father’s worst day.   He would become melancholy and withdrawn as he asked God the same question I have, “Why?”   My mom has battled with the same question and her hurt hurts my heart.   She has silently faced the reality that Craig is no longer here.   I know that God is not responsible for my brother’s death, but someone is.  The loss has personally touched my entire family, my brothers, my sisters, my friends and my community.   Despite the sobering loss, I’m thankful that my father is here today and that Craig had time to make amends with God before he died.

I’m not trying to force my beliefs on you but rather to first acknowledge that despite how strong we are, there is a source greater than us and that secondly, I have found that source to be God in Christ Jesus.  What you do matters.

KJW

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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

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

If I Could Turn Back the Hands of Time

Today, my fiance unexpectedly had to travel to an island in The Bahamas.  We had plans for our date night but an emergency came up that needed her immediate attention.  I took her to the airport and even waited for a while after she checked in.  However, our time together was a little strained.  Honestly, my logic fully understood her having to go but my feelings weren’t so cooperative.  It was our date night and after two very busy weeks for us, I was looking forward to us sharing some quality time.

Nonetheless, she was about to leave for her trip and my attitude could’ve been better.  She even gave me a kiss on the cheek as we waited.  We hugged and said our goodbyes just before she left the main terminal but I was still withdrawn.  As she turned to leave, I  was already missing her and knew that my pride had gotten in the way of making the most of our time together.

Life comes with twists and turns, pleasant surprises and disappointments BUT we must DECIDE to make the most of every moment. What’s more, we must talk about what’s going on inside.   It  can help to relieve a tense situation.  It’s said that attitude determines altitude and today my attitude sucked.  Still, I can’t turn back the hands of time.  It’s a lesson I won’t repeat.  The mind is a terrible thing to waste  and so is time spent on negative feelings (smile).  There are some things we can change and others not so much.   I can’t change what I should have done but I’m going to apologize, work to better communicate and to look for the good in a “bad” situation.  What you do Matters.

KJW

When Doves Cry

Today I spoke with Melissa during my weekday talk show.   Her doctor had told her that she had a rare form of cancer and could possibly die in 3 months to a year.  And to think that I thought I had things to stress about!   She had cried constantly for about four months as she tried to wrap her mind around her mortality.  Then, with the help of those around her, Melissa packed her bags and traveled to Texas for treatment.  Despite the days she felt discouraged, she kept her hopes high.

Thankfully, it’s now more than 5 years since that first diagnosis. Melissa fought to stay alive and won!  She credits the treatment, a loving husband, a praying family and the healing hands of GOD for her life today and now reaches out to the community with her story of hope.

We’ve all had reasons to cry.  I certainly have.  Men, it’s ok for us to cry.  Ladies you too.  Crying has a cleansing power and laughter a rejuvenating benefit. Let us all be willing to drop a tear or two but still keep hope alive.  Let us remember that even with the long Winters of the Arctic and constant rainfall in England, a brighter, warmer day does come.  It must!   Expect it, anticipate it and share it with someone who needs a little sunshine.  What you do Matters.

KJW