Friday, January 22, 2016

Now Is The Time To Say, "I Love You!"

This particular picture has stayed on my mind for the past week. It is one of the last pictures of the three of us together as a family.  There were several years remaining until Ma made her eternal transition,  but there weren't many family pictures afrer this one. 

I am sure we didn't consider that this would be such a final record at the time the photo was taken, and I had no clue about the life struggles that awaited us. Through it all, the picture reminds me of the importance of letting your love for your family be known while it can be heard and appreciated.  

My mother frequently told me with her voice that she loved me. Her voice resonates in my heart and her embrace warms me to my soul, though they have been physically silenced and removed in death.  My father frequently and easily verbally told me that he loved me, hugged and kissed me in public, even in uniform and never shied from expressing his feelings towards me. That too is a tremendous comfort as dementia has stolen his ability to easily express himself, and I must strain to see glimpses of a stream where a river once mightily flowed. 

Why express these sentiments this evening?  Because today, you need to tell your family and friends that you love them. You must build memories because life can rob opportunities that only memories can restore.  I know my father loved me because for 46 years, he told me so. Now that his mind is betraying him, I trust the heart he so readily shared when he was in command of his own faculties.  My mom's voice is totally stilled.  Her love beats in my heart and the hearts of the grandchildren and daughter-in-law she loved so well and so openly.

So open your mouth! Open your arms! Open your heart! Don't wait until tomorrow to say "I love you!" Say it now! You're building up a savings for the future that those who follow you will need to be able to collect!

I love you all my friends. You need not doubt it, because you've read that I said it!

Blessings on you! Now get to loving!

Your friend and Brother, 

Sam Jackson

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Missing Georgia

Georgia is on my mind every day, but especially today, for what would've been my mother's 77th Birthday.  Ma has been gone for almost 20 years, and it seemed she left  much too soon. 

No one has impacted my life as much as this woman. She had an excruciating early childhood, being orphaned along with her sisters and for a time before their rescue, severely abused. As a result, she always struggled in the shadows of her mind with believing that she was loved. 

This nagging doubt, however, didn't stop her from loving me - her "Ponderosa" as she sometimes called me - because like Ben Cartwright's ranch was to him, I was her "Big Spread!"  Her early pain and struggle also didn't make her mean or bitter. She was sweet, courageous, kind, and generous with the love she gave to others. 

She was brilliant, and taught me the art of written and spoken communication from the "Old School ways" that produced many great black leaders of days gone by. 

She possessed unwavering faith that prepared me for the possibility of her early departure - a faith so rigorous that the doctor who tried to save her as she died, was shaken as she tried to save him and asked to attend her funeral.  A faith so deep that she knew beyond a doubt that the God she had trusted and Who sustained her as a small child when her mother departed, could certainly sustain me as a man after her journey Home. 

I know that when I mention Dad, she is pleased, but I  have been remiss in not mentioning the woman who taught me to be a man, and who shaped my spiritual formation while the man in our home was away. 

Ray Charles' "Old, Sweet" and haunting strains remind most people of a great State, but for me, they keep my one true Georgia forever on my mind!