“There are people who are kind, and people who are not kind, among all races and cultures. It was a White man who gave me opportunity so I could realize the American dream. Our friendship transcended race, and built a positive connection between the races. We can overcome racism through friendship and positive cross-cultural relationships. “
~ Francis Mandewah ~ Friendship-A True Story of Adventure, Good Will and Endurance
It’s FlashBack Friday ~ A time of the month where you can republish an old post of yours that maybe didn’t get enough attention, or that you’re really proud of, or you think is still relevant etc.
The post I’ve chosen for this month first appeared on ME IN THE MIDDLE on August 16, 2016. To see the original comments to that post you can click on the title ~ Me in the Middle of Summer Reading ~ below to be taken to the original post. I chose this post because of the quote above. It’s from one of my Guest Bloggers, Francis Mandewah, written in his memoir ~ Friendship-A True Story of Adventure, Goodwill and Endurance. I read Francis’ story during the summer of last year (Third Book). He wrote of his journey from the Sierra Leone to the United States. A journey that was aided through his friendship with a white man, Tom Johnson, who he met when he was a 15-year-old teenager.
The recent events in the nearby city of Charlottesville have left me with the need to reflect on the ugliness of racism that was on display the weekend of August 11-13. The repercussions continue to unfold. In his memoir, Francis speaks of this awareness and his experiences of racism since he became a citizen in the USA. He speaks of his love for this Country and his hope to contribute to its healing. Most of all he speaks of the role that this one friend played in helping him to recognize that goodness lives in the hearts of people no matter what their color.
This poem moved me so deeply that I followed up with a Google search and found that Dawna Markova had written a book by the same title. “Why are we here?” is the question she asks both herself and the reader of this wonderful book ~ I WILL NOT DIE AN UNLIVED LIFE ~. It’s written while Dawna is on a retreat to solitude in a cabin far away from the hectic pace of modern life. Her story travels along different paths than mine has and that’s the whole point of her book. We’re here to follow our own passion and dreams.
“Anyone on a spiritual quest, seeking to discover their own deep wisdom, and uncover their “calling” will be enriched and energized in a powerful and gentle way……”
“Like the rest of the natural world, human beings go through seasons. At one point, we are in the full bloom of summer, harvesting, committed, in abundance. Then, naturally there is an autumnal time of falling away, disillusionment, stagnation, a shedding of what has been used up. Then must come the fallowness and dormancy of winter, death, rest. Eventually, as is happening right outside the window of this cabin, there is a great melting into muck and mud, which, if one can persevere, opens naturally into an abundant yellow-green time, when everything is possible and horizons open.”
~ Dawna Markova ~
“In a similar way to A Gift from the Sea, the readers of this book (I Will Not Live An Unlived Life) are invited to accompany me on a journey to come to know more intimately the value and purpose of their lives.”
~ Dawna Markova ~
Ink Sketch and Watercolor by Mary Lou Q
Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s book ~ GIFT FROM THE SEA ~ was shared with me by my mother back in the 90’s. I packed myself a lunch and took a ride to the beach, setting up my chair in front of the ocean. It was a restful day that I needed badly and I hoped to find nuggets of wisdom and truth from this book. At the time it was difficult for me to concentrate on it. I kept thinking ‘How can this wealthy woman whose life is so different than mine even relate to what I’m experiencing?’ It’s only been down through the years and coming across Anne’s various quotes from her book that I’ve decided to read it again. Dawna Markova read it to inspire her book ‘I Will Not Live An Unlived Life’ and I decided to read them both this summer.
The Introduction to the Fiftieth Anniversary Edition of Gift from the Sea (2005) is written by Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s daughter, Reeve Lindbergh:
“I read Gift from the Sea at all Seasons of the Year and of my life. I never once had the sense that my mother’s 1955 book has lost its freshness, or that the wisdom contained within its pages has ceased to apply, whether to my own life or to what I’ve learned , overtime, about hers.”
“Above all, I think, Gift from the Sea offers its readers an unusual kind of freedom. It is hard to recognize, or even to describe, but I think this freedom is the real reason this book continues to be so well loved and so well read after all these years. I am talking about the freedom that comes from choosing to remain open, as my mother did, to life itself, whatever it may bring: Joys, sorrows, triumphs, failures, suffering, comfort and, certainly, always, change.”
Thanks, Mom! I get it! ❤
A Gift from the Sea
Francis Mandewah is one of my Guest Bloggers
I was so inspired by what Francis wrote in his guest blog that I bought his book on Amazon Kindle and I’ve just begun reading it. His story begins with his life as a 15 year old young man in the African country of Sierra Leone and in the heart of the African diamond zone. His story too is a spiritual journey of trust in goodness in the world in spite of the hardships and realities that might come along. It’s his trust in this goodness that makes it possible for Francis to be fully present when God opens a door in his life that leads him to the path of his dreams.
“As I chronicled my trials and tribulations I discovered my voice in between the lines of my story ~ a voice that was filled with faith.”
~ Francis Mandewah ~
“I suppose this dream has been the script for my life, because even as I sit, no matter where I am or what I’m doing, I always feel a tinge of uncertainty, as if I’m eternally looking for a flight itinerary. I have lived a life filled with the adventure of being ushered onto stage and the turmoil of being blindfolded and locked in a cage. Through my travels, my willingness to walk to and through the door, I discovered within myself a will to not just survive, but to thrive, no matter the circumstance.”
Blood Diamond ~ Sierra Leone
“There are people who are kind, and people who are not kind, among all races and cultures. It was a White man who gave me opportunity so I could realize the American dream. Our friendship transcended race, and built a positive connection between the races. We can overcome racism through friendship and positive cross-cultural relationships.