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HELD BACK

Nothing like a good friend and mentor to help snap you out of strange thought patterns. That actually happened to me a few hours before writing this blog.

I have a friend and mentor, Gerald, whom I talk to often about topics like manhood, social issues and life. He actually spoke some pretty powerful and encouraging words. He often reminds me that I’m responsible for pushing forward and having faith to believe that things will come together.

THAT is a hard thing to believe. As a Christian, it is essential that I have faith and believe that God can and will do as He promised. And, it is important that faith accompanies whatever activity that is good and noble and purposed in my life.

And yet, it is a fight! A daily fight!

You have to fight for the time. You have to fight through distractions. You have to fight to focus. You have to fight through aches and pains. You have to fight through moments of just not feeling like it. You have to fight through feelings and emotions that run contrary to what is in your heart.

In me is this yearning desire to write and draw and create and to make a difference in the world. And my friend, Gerald, knows it! The next questions came.

“What’s stopping you!?”

The answer…nothing. Nothing but me. And maybe that’s you. Maybe the reason you’ve not made it to that certain place in life is because you’ve not pushed as hard as you could. Or maybe you don’t believe that what you have to offer…that your gifts and talents…or that your ideas…are simply of no value.

We often stop ourselves before we even bother doing or creating. I run into people all the time who talk big about the “projects” they are “working on” but the projects never materialize. It’s embarrassing…and I refuse to fall into that category.

So…what is holding you back!? And what can you do differently to change that!

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Tribute to Dallas 1All day Friday, I did everything I could to hold back tears as they weld up. 5 police officers the night before were killed in Dallas during a peaceful protest against the shooting of black men by police officers.

I was sitting at home when it happened, expecting the watch a regular 9pm newscast on our local Fox station and then go on about my life and get things done before bed.

A 9pm broadcast turned into multiple hours of a surreal experience that was unfolding before me just 20 minutes away.

The journalist in me scrolled through multiple news sites and reporting agencies on my phone. While many reported the facts, others capitalized on the propaganda and on the fears of others who have opposing opinions about the news of the day…the shooting in Dallas…the shooting of black men by police officers…black lives matter…and injustice as a whole.

It was all too much!

Something continued to stir in me later that Friday as I listened to Gospel music and spent time in continual prayer.

I felt a tug at my heart to do something.

So, I began to draw.

The second that I was finished with my latest comic strip, and posted the strip online, I fell completely apart. I could no longer hold back.

I cried for lost lives…for the state of our country…for the fact that many of us as American citizens claim to get it, but show little or no empathy and are so blind, we refuse to step up and try to understand.

Once I was done…what was emotional turned into something inspirational…a deep call to action that went even further than cartooning.

It was a pull and tug that was hard to describe. It was like I knew what I had to do, knowing that it could cause me trouble, knowing it could generate disdain, knowing that even though my voice was one of many it was still a voice that had not yet cried out in the wilderness.

I had to speak up! I had to write!

It was time for me as a Christian, a writer, a cartoonist, a black man, a man, period, to stand up and speak life and peace into the chaos of our time.

I love writing fiction and I love writing the kind of literary works that get people to think, laugh, love and live. But now, the responsibility sinks in to do much more writing than I actually have.

Not everyone will understand. And that’s okay. I’ll pray for them. For those willing to try too, I applaud them and pray for them. And for those who don’t care, my prayers are for you too.

Silence is no longer an option. Silence hurts people, creates division and builds up a sense of empathy and carelessness because as long as it isn’t me and mine, I’m good with whatever happens.

Silence is the passive man’s voice.

Silence is an affront to those who stood before us and died for us. It is also an affront to the men and women of law enforcement who seek to do more good than harm. We must all choose to be a part of a much larger solution.

But first, before you jump in, you must acknowledge there’s a problem!