People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone.
― Audrey Hepburn
This has been one of my favorite quotes for quite some time. I came across it years ago and it really resonated with me then and so much so now. And, I was reminded of it this weekend after watching the news and then having an edition of “Morning Pop Talk” yesterday. If you don’t know, “Morning Pop Talks: are interesting, informative, entertaining, cleverly funny, and sometimes benign conversations I have with my dad when he calls me in the morning. Here’s how it went down:
Morning Pop Talk
Me: You heard about Greg Anthony? Pop: Nooo!!! Me: He got arrested down here last night for solicitation of a prostitute. Pop: WHAT?!?! (as if he heard but didn’t quite really hear me right) Me: Yeah he was in town to do the Maryland (“Fear of the Turtle”) game and last night he got arrested for soliciting a prostitute. (long long long pause). Pop: Oh! Humph… (me waiting for him to say something interesting as he always does) (continued long and now uncomfortable pause and I now knowing this is really bothering him). Pop: Okay babe. (long pause and me thinking dang Pop is really speechless) Pop: I am shocked. I don’t know what to say. (uncomfortable laugh followed pause) Pop: Okay babe… (pause). Pop: That was out of… Out of more than left field. (pause) Pop: That just tells you what you can’t say about so and so and so… (pause). Have a good hair doing (earlier in the conversation I told him was I going to get my hair done). Be safe. Love! Me: You too Pop. Love you.
I hope Pop is okay. I think I get it. Meaning his pause and endless speechless moments. Pop watched Greg Anthony as a young man doing his thing since his days as a pretty good college basketball player at UNLV (led his team one year to a NCAA championship) and then being drafted by our beloved New York Knicks. And, he made good and did himself well by climbing through the ranks and becoming a respected on-air basketball analyst and now this. Even when some years ago for the first time I saw that he was an analyst I was like “good for him”. And, then I thought “WOW he’s pretty good. He’s so articulate.” (lol you know how some folks go there). Pop is probably thinking why black man who has worked so hard and is respected gets himself in trouble like this and puts a blemish on his integrity and flourishing career. He’s probably thinking about the human aspect of it all and people are just human and will make mistakes because we’ve all been there to some degree or other. But, then hoping he’ll bounce back from this. Shoot Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson (talk about redemption), Tiger Woods ($10+ million short), Marion Jones (EEOC moment), Marv Albert (oops he’s not black) were able to bounce back from all of the drama right? Now I’m not saying total bounce back because Tiger ain’t been quite right since, but they seem to all have attempted to make good on their second chance at life (the jury’s still out on allegedly Bill Cosby)?
Yep that’s what I got from all of those long uncomfortable and disappointed pauses from Pop. After all, we hate to see those split second moment circumstances that happen to bring a person down. Especially from someone who had made us and “Our” community proud.
That Split Second Moment
But, I’m also reminded about the choices that we make in life and how one improper move can have such a huge impact on one’s life. That split second move can change the entire trajectory of a wonderful life and the lives of the people who love, respect and honor us.
I saw a documentary this week called “Evolution of a Criminal“. Three young men in high school decided to rob a bank in a small town. Well of course it didn’t take long for the small town rumor mill to turn fill force (guuurrrlll you heard about Pookie). They were arrested and served time. Well one of the young men, Darius Clarke Monroe (went from honors student to teenage bank robber), made good use of his time and studied while in jail and decided he wanted to do films and went to NYU Film School. He ended up doing a documentary about them making that unfaithful decision to rob the bank and interviewed family members, teachers, prosecutors, victims, etc. regarding their thoughts on that day and what followed immediately and long after. Man, the pain they created as a result of that awful choice. Sent them and some of their loved ones (who took the money knowing where it came from) to jail. So much pain in that community. But, you can tell this one particular young man was really sorry for doing it and was working to change his life around. He even went to ask for forgiveness from the people in the bank who they ultimately traumatized. Talk about turning one’s life around. Redemption!
Taking That Long Uncomfortable Pause
There are those situations where there should always be a long and perhaps uncomfortable pause when you should really be asking yourself “Is it worth it?” Is it worth hurting someone and disappointing and/or losing my family, my children (will I be able to look them in the eye), my significant other, my career, and most of all my self-respect.
Trust I’ve been there. In that split decision moment when after the fact I’ve said “man what was I thinking…” from the minuscule to the absolute heart breaking moments. But, one thing I know is it’s all about the bounce back and how you proceed from that second on after your Ego and life has given you the ultimate gut punch and walk of shame moment. And, you’re humbled with the enormity of life as you await the bold and loving statement of “I forgive you” and “I love you”. Forgiveness not just from those you hurt, but even forgiving yourself. Trust you are deserving of it too. You don’t get to beat yourself up to kingdom come with the long and drawn out self-loathing act. Process it. Learn from it. Forgive yourself. And, get to the business of redeeming yourself. And, on the flip side, process it. Forgive them. And, get on to the business of loving them anyway in their presence or from afar. And, don’t get me wrong because it won’t always be that cut and dry. One particular man Darius went to apologize to could sort of appreciate him doing it, but he requested that Darius never try to see or speak to him again because it caused such pain in his life.
CBS suspended Greg Anthony for the remainder of the season and he has since apologized. But, I hope all will work out for him and that he can heal the wounds he has created for himself, his wife and children, and all others affected directly or indirectly. Because in the end and the beginning, we all deserve a comeback/second (3rd and 4th…) chances and the opportunity to get back to the business of living all in the name of BeDoLove. Now let me call Pop and see how he’s doing for our Sunday Edition of “Morning (well it’s afternoon now) Pop Talk”. –kcb