Who to Blame?

We are always at a crossroad in our life.  Which road we choose, and why, determines our future.riot

At what point do we stop blaming the past on the failures of today? Even the problems of yesterday are just that, yesterday’s problems.  Each day we are faced with new challenges, and new opportunities.  Many times both are intertwined to the point that it is difficult to distinguish between pleasure and pain.  I have put together a list of problems from my past and I will let you tell me at what point in the chain should I no longer blame the actions of others in my past before I start taking responsibility for myself and my wellbeing?

  1. My greatest of great grandfathers ate the forbidden fruit that took our eyes off of God and put them on man and his wants and desires. If only he had not eaten that fruit how many of my other life issues would simply not exist?
  2. Another of those great grandfathers decided to build an ark by trusting in the Lord. If it were not for him being so selfish to save himself and his family I would not be going through the struggles I am facing today.
  3. How about God himself? Who was he to decide that we all needed to become different peoples and segregate us at the Tower of Babel? If he had left us all alone we would not have language barriers and different cultures.
  4. During our trek from Africa, yes our trek as my ancestors followed that same trail as yours, it is reasonable to assume that our ancestors were at some point slaves. Dating back to BC times slavery was so common in Africa that as many as two-thirds of all Africans were under some form of slavery or bondage. Today that number has dwindled down to almost one-third of all Africans are still in slavery or bondage. Yet people are still waving that flag as a sign of hope and remembrance. Unfortunately, they don’t want to hear the truth.
  5. Bringing it back to current times, there was England in the 1700’s. On the 9th of March in the year of our Lord 1730, one of my Great-Grandmothers, Margaret Peggy Lawrence, was convicted of stealing bread in Wem, Shropshire County, England and sentenced with nine other Puritans to fourteen years of servitude in the Colonies. She was put aboard a vessel and sent to what is now Virginia and sold to a tobacco farmer by the name of Tobias Phillips, a black man. She was raped and had two sons by him, John and James Lawrence. When Peggy died during childbirth, her sons had to serve out her remaining service starting at the age of thirteen. I think that Mr. Phillips family might owe me some reparations, possibly even the English crown might just owe me something also?
  6. On the other side of my family were the Cherokee Indians. How about that Trail of Tears? Had it not been for that march I might have been part of the Cherokee casino clan and receiving my monthly stipends from the money made on what once was our reservations. Now I am getting pissed. Somebody definitely owes me something!

Through the years there have been many instances of incest, rape, murder, all types of oppression, racism, and phobias felt and dealt with within my family. Today a lot of this still goes on behind closed doors.  I have felt that sense of racism when I walk through a job fair being the only white person there and the perspective employers taking my resume and sliding it into the trash can when they feel as though I am not watching.  When I am on the college campus and walk up to a table and am told this is for African-American Information Security Professionals but thanks for stopping by as they smile and move on to have a lengthy conversation with the young black gentleman standing next in line.  When I am approached by a member of the LGBT community taking a survey and calling me a bigot because I don’t agree with all of their beliefs.  How about when I go to apply for a job for which you have years of experience but told that you have too much experience and they hire someone twenty years younger than you with zero experience?

I have been beaten by my father and watched him beat my siblings. However, I have grown to love him more than life itself because after having lived my life I understand the pressures that he was under trying to raise six children.  Do I think he was right in what he did?  Of course I don’t, but I forgave him.  I moved past holding my past accountable for my present or my future.  I spent a great deal of time when I was younger blaming all of my STUPID actions on my mother, my father, and anyone else who had a hand in raising me.

I accepted long ago that only I could change my future. I could continue down a long road of failed endeavors, relationships, and dreams.  I could continue the cycle of abuse that was prevalent in my family.  I could continue, like others, to blame my past for my failures.  I could ask for reparations because of my family history as a descendant of both slaves and Indians.

Or I could simply ask God for guidance. I could put my faith in the one person who sacrificed the most so that I could live.  I could rely on mankind to show me some semblance of humanity in a world filled with hate.  This is what I chose to do with my life.  I don’t blame the tobacco farmer with the whip in his hands or my grandmother in his bed against her will.  I do not blame Adam for eating the forbidden fruit, he did, I had no control over that situation.  I do not blame my life on my father’s behavior rather I used that experience as a learning tool so that I would never do to my children the things in which I was exposed.  I made a choice to live my life, to be respectful, to be loving and kind, and to trust that God is with me always.

I use a phrase that is so incorrect, “I know that God is in control!” Well, that is not true.  We are all in control of our own circumstances.  However, God does not leave us when we make bad choices.  He remains steadfast in his love and devotion.  If we do the things that God ask us to then we would all find that our lives would be better off.

Love one another as we love ourselves

Believe in God with all of your heart and all of your soul

Talk to him even when things are going great

Be respectful to your fellow-man

Obey the law and the leaders of your land

Don’t justify your actions or inactions based on someone else’s actions or inactions

Take responsibility for yourself and ALL of your actions

Learn to stand up to your friends as easily as you stand up to your enemies

Control your surroundings even if it means reporting friends and family that are causing harm

Don’t rely on others to clean up your house, your neighborhood, or your life

In the end we will all die. We will all be judged by the Lord our God and I pray that you are judged in a good light.  Although we will never agree on everything, I love you and God loves you.  Carry a light in your heart that burns bright enough for all around you to see.  Light up the world, the mountaintop, and beyond.  Be the lighthouse of hope within your home, your community, and your life.  Don’t rely on others and accept that whatever happens there are always two roads to choose.  One road may be dark and scary but God will hold the light of hope for you.  The other is dark and scary and you know that God would never tread this path.  However, even if you choose this path he will be with you to guide you off of it if you ask him.