The Most Important Things

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Joseph said “There are no endings, only beginnings.” Wow. This man is incredibly resilient. He has an unshakable confidence.

It’s laughable that after all God’s brought me through, I get panic attacks when it rains. Joseph has a never-ending supply of strength. Joseph’s attitude is like “So what’s a little rain?” Joseph is my windmill, he’s a natural source of strength for me. He always knows the right words to say. He gives what he wants to get. I know exactly where to go whenever I need a pep talk. His gratitude for my gestures — no matter how small — rejuvenate me too. Joseph never lets me down. He always encourages me in my career, healing from my injuries — everything.

Even though Joseph is grappling with the loss of his beloved Forest Lake Gardens — a dream he told me God gave him — when everyone told him he couldn’t do it, or it wouldn’t happen — he’s been a mighty Oak for me. This has been one of the hardest times in my life, and although Joseph is juggling a family, a baby, helping friends, and breaking into the t-shirt business, he’s been a lifeline to a virtual stranger. Joseph said he knows God will bless him with something even greater, he also said that something huge is coming for me. He’s one of the few that believe in me the way I do.

To be transparent, at times, my confidence in myself and in my own abilities wavers, and that’s when Joseph steps in. I see him around my neighborhood, and he can sense that I am down, and he stops to talk. Sometimes, I go into a store and he’s there, which is when I need an encouraging word the most. I told Joseph “I’m starting to hit my “Mo” (momentum) with my writing and I am going to help you rebuild. I’m gonna take care of you and your family. He started to say “Oh, but …” I cut him off, “No I mean, I’m gonna be really wealthy, and I’m gonna help y’all out, because you’ve been here for me.” I’m tapping into my strength and discipline as writer because there are people I want to help and Joseph’s family is near the top of my list. I want to become successful so I can help people — especially the people that have really cared for me — people I’ve watched struggle and still do everything they can for others — people like myself. Forest Lake Gardens has been a haven for me. A quick stop to say hi breathes new life in my lungs. Just looking at it when I walk by is aromatherapy to my soul.

Maybe the storm’s sole purpose was to unite us? Maybe the beauty of the storm is that when disaster strikes, it helps us see things we previously lost sight of. We now remember what we really value. We start to wonder what happened to people we love, and we realize we are running around in circles, doing all these things by ourselves, thinking nobody cares, or thinking nobody needs us — some of us think we don’t need them. Then reality sets in and we realize the only thing in life that matters is other people. If we didn’t have each other, we’d never have the beautiful Southern crops, the beautiful flowers, the clothing, that special dish we love so much — or perhaps a certain person’s voice that sounds so melodious we can’t help but sing about them all day long? We shouldn’t think about that stuff when it’s gone, start appreciating people now. Every person matters, we all bring something to the table. If one person were gone, we’d miss that one person, so take time for people today. Don’t be shackled by society’s insecurities. Tell them what you like about them, even if you just met them. If you’ve known them for years, don’t neglect them. If you’re from up North, act like a Southerner — give love freely. If you’re from down here, don’t y’all forget it!

Photo by Fotolia/Maya Khruchancova