This epigraph is from the last song on the forthcoming CD Charlene from one of my favorite artists, Tweet. The song's lyrics describe Tweet's realization that singing is part of the reason she was created. She's writes about pouring herself out in song and telling her story so the creator can "get glory." With the acoustic guitar and her voice, the song - like many of her songs - is simply beautiful.
When I downloaded the song on Wednesday, I didn't know how much the lyrics would resonate with me by the time I sat down on Saturday afternoon to write that post. On Wednesday, I was copyediting book chapters at a snail's pace and struggling with the new article I'm trying finish and submit by the end of this month. I was also gathering thoughts for a keynote address that coming in few weeks and mulling around final ideas for a dialogue I planned and would coordinate Friday night. No, I thought as I listened to the song. "I am not created for this. Not this stress. Not this level of insecurity. Not this level of frustration." Nope. Not the kid!
By the time Friday morning came and I began to shift my attention to the dialogue happening that night, the significance of the lyrics began to shift. It was so easy to plan that dialogue. It was if that opportunity enabled me to do everything that I try to do in my classes. So, for clarity purposes, you should know that the dialogue was part of a series of dialogues my church has sponsored taking up matters of race for this year's Black History Month. I was invited to join the planning committee because one of the organizers read my book review of Dr. Richardson's memoir and figured that I could offer some insight about big social issues. When the time came for me to pitch my session, it was easy - Black Women's Mental Health. I mean... I do research rhetorics of healing. Why not translate the criticisms you make into something generative?
And so, I reached out to three colleagues at my institution; a psychologist, a public health researcher who, among other things, studies depression in African Americans, and a social worker and therapist who uses Black feminism as a way to promote healing. I asked the psychologist to present on risk factors that threaten Black women's wellness, the public health research to explain how depression manifests within the lives of Black women, and the social worker/therapist to give an exercise on interventions. My work was to frame the session and to develop the curricula. It came quite easily. There were at least 40 people in attendance and I got a number of follow up messages telling me how much people needed that information.
That's when I knew... I was created to do that. I was created to help people have the information they need that improves their lives. I was created to help people discern quality instruction from its opposite. I was created to teach and to write and to pour out the good news of discernment.
I am fully persuaded that there are no mistakes on my journey thus far.
~I have spoken