I Don’t Like What I See…

Many people may consider that my position allows me to view life through a very biased lens. It could be assumed that the condition of our world would automatically be condemned by God being the standard of perfection. I realize that I live in a tension that constantly taps into the sovereign nature of my Creator while navigating the spaces of humanity. I have come to the bitter conclusion that this world is absolutely terrible. No, no, no, no! I mean many days it appears that redemption is beyond anyone. The way that people address life, no one is allowed to function and figure out there feelings, emotions, personal trauma, or any other issues without the social commentary of people that live with conjecture and opinion.

Unfortunately, the Oscars provided another opportunity for people to examine in a vacuum the feelings and emotions of one man in response to the normal ebb and flow of comedy. I have witnessed in a short amount of time the opinions of people run wild after West Philly decided to slap Bed-Stuy for comments made about Balitmore on a stage in L.A. Everyone is up in arms and talking about everything from defending honor to toxic masculinity and the like.

I want everyone to stop for a moment. Back off the lack of nuance and examine what has become the norm of our society. People no longer want to offer any human being the space to address the human experience anymore. I mean come on. At some point, a human being needs to feel some emotion. We have tried to place popular human beings in a box to the point of being robotic. We say to ourselves that the response was wrong. We say that we understand the reaction. We say it was comedy and by nature it is offensive. However, we have not said or considered that every person has a moment that takes them beyond their threshold.

I am of the mind that people do not listen enough to one another. Matter of fact, I am convinced that most of the people speaking negatively about the whole situation have never truly listened to Chris Rock or Will Smith. I am further convinced that if we had active listening, we would understand the crossroads that took place on Sunday night. Both of these men have given the world insight into their private lives (that the world does not have a right to have access). They both have dealt with extremely trying issues that have been brought before the world. Everyone has lived with offering opinions. Both of these men have talked openly about their issues (Will on Red Table Talk; Chris in his stand up special, Tambourine).

On Sunday night, Chris decided to do what he normally does, comedy. Whether people like his brand or not, Chris Rock is a comedian that deals social commentary through that lens. Will decided that Chris to it a bridge too far. That bridge may have come at the cost of constantly dealing with the jokes and issues of his marriage. It may have reached that last straw when you are attempting to sell yourself as a person at peace with the decisions and choices you have made about your personal life. It may have been that this was the first time Will finally felt it. I don’t know.

What I do know is that incident reminds me that we live in a world that is not actively trying to create space for people to work out their stuff. I realize that every person has their own personal agency and is responsible for it. Yet, I am also convinced that we continue to do a piss poor job of enhancing and changing the environment. I recognize that I am not responsible for massaging the feelings of others. Yet, I am responsible for how I navigate spaces and observe the room. I am not responsible for what people say to me. Yet, I am responsible for how I react and address my feelings in that space.

In a perfect world, Will would have shook it off and Chris would have keep it moving. However, we now have two black men responding to one another in a setting that is still so white. (Side note: Why do y’all still watch the Oscars again?) People will continue to highlight this moment for awhile. However, my hope would be that reasonable human beings will begin to ask themselves–How can we help the human condition to respond differently? Maybe it is one person’s opinion, but I got a feeling that we have more work to do. Maybe we need to get back to this list…

  1. Listen
  2. Observe
  3. Build Up
  4. Grow

How ’bout it….

Honesty About Keeping My Mind….

For the past several days, I have wrestled with the idea about putting thoughts to paper. When you witness many different situations and circumstances that trigger feelings of hopelessness and sadness, the desire to address those moments become challenging at best. Yet, I have come to a place in my life where I must be honest about who I am and where I am in the movement of this world.

The past few months have been extremely trying. It would be cliche to suggest that I have never felt this way before in my life. However, I would be making light of the totality of my feelings. I can say with clarity that depression is terrible, anxiety is the devil, and self-doubt is a beast. I have watched family members, friends, church parishioners, and others endure some of the most horrific and trying moments imaginable. Then it happened……

I hit the wall….hard…..extremely hard.

I could no longer get up in the morning and shake off the heaviness. I could no longer no longer look in the mirror and fire up. I could not shake the loneliness. I could not dismiss the anger. I could not pass over the disrespect. I just could not. My mind had become weary. My strength was now depleted. Isolation had triggered the thoughts of disappointment. My greatest tool, my mind, was beginning to short circuit.

I broke down in the middle of my room. I was paralyzed by what I was now experiencing. It was not the first time I had ever dealt with a depressive episode. However, I would address it differently for the first time. For years, I have had moments like these that I wish to forget. The truth was that people would see me going through it. The standard thought and message was, “It’s going to be ok. Just shake it off.” “Just let the Lord fix it.” “Everyone has problems.”

For so many years, I had listened to people who swore that they had my best interest at heart tell me to put a bandaid on it so I could make their lives easier. Oh, I was always able to be clutch. I worked under pressure better than most. I always showed up. But who was showing up for me? Better yet, did I know how to show up for myself? No, not in the least.

This time something had to change. This time, I needed to take steps back to begin healing in places that were getting gangrene from emotional and mental trauma. I could no longer lean in on the bad advice of leading while bleeding. I had no more blood to give or lose. I can’t continue to pack the wounds for the moment to continue to lose out on the life God promised. So, I took the step to get a great counselor. I took the step to be honest with myself. I took the step to say that in moments I am not ok.

I decided that the life that I was living was not good enough any more. Life is so much more than superficial achievements, possessions, and expectations. Life is most fulfilling when you are loving people and receiving love. Life is filled when you watch your son smile. Life is knowing that your wife feels safe and protected. Life is when your family has their needs met. Life is friends who pour into your existence because they love you. Life is taking the chance to learn and appreciate the real you.

Now most people that might read this set of thoughts may pick and choose what they gather from it and decide to build a case for why I may not be suited for the “professional” life that I lead. Others may attempt to find ways to demonstrate some type of sympathetic approach to addressing me. None of these reasons or potential outcomes address my purpose for writing on this day. No. I just choose to be an example of how God can rearrange your path to healing and wholeness. I want to testify to the fact that God can still use me in powerful ways even when life is imploding. I am a testament to how God provides grace in my weakness and space for my healing. Do not allow anyone the ability to dictate how you make it to the other side of trial.

In this short period of time, I have discovered that three types of people exist in moments of traumatic experiences.

  1. People who don’t want you to heal properly
  2. People who want you to be whole
  3. People who want you functional enough for them to continue to benefit.

I never worry about people who don’t care about my existence. They have stated their case clearly. I don’t have to worry about the people who rally for my wholeness. They purpose in my life is clear. Those people who are addicted to your production, ability, and skill are the most dangerous. They are willing to do whatever necessary to make sure you are comfortable while you are dying inside. As long as the benefits of your gifts are present, they will place your feelings, emotions, and psyche in hospice. That type of people pleasing environment will never help anyone. So, I decided to change my address from that toxic place to the place that God has destined.

I am nowhere near the end of my healing journey. I will be constantly unlearning the bad and destructive thoughts that dictated my life for so long. Access to my inner space has guard dogs and angels with flaming swords. It’s not personal, People. I’m just getting down to business. I’m getting to know the Charles that God loves. I’m getting to know the Charles that God created. I pray that you begin to do the same searching for yourself. On the other side, we will all become the best versions of what God intended.

Blessings on the Journey…

Sorting Through the Same Old Cycle

Standing with my reason….

Today, I was online for an important conversation on Racism. The Leadership Clinic is hosted by Bishop Gregory Palmer who is the Bishop of the West Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church. The session featured speaker and author Dr. Jermar Tisby. Allow me to say that the conversation had substance and necessity to the current discourse of addressing racism and the attempt to change the environment in putting this horrific ideology down. I have no real criticism of the content, the reason for the discussion, or the validity of the necessity for it. Yet, I found myself in a very awkward but familiar place after things ended.

For 40 years, I have been a Black man in America. Every fiber of my being has experienced the various side effects of living in a world that hates your skin, your possession of gifts, and your uniqueness while attempting to profit from all of the valuable resources that live within. I have watched and waited for people to take a moment to see my reality for just a second. I have invited people into my space to at minimum understand the plight that has been documented for many years by people across the width and breadth of Black culture and experience. I have watched Black men and women of exceptional character and skill be passed over by unexceptional people. I have been a part of conversation where all I heard at the end of the discourse was “be patient”.

Well, I need all the people that claim care, love, and grace for me to give me a moment. I do not feel that I am in a place of being patient or waiting for movement to happen. I have arrived at a point where I am running thin on the simple idea of human beings being caring and considerate of my existence. I have lived through the following phases of life as an African American.

  1. You can be anything you want to be in this world if you work hard…
  2. Content of character will make the difference
  3. Show your preparation (education, degrees, etc)
  4. Show you are better by working twice as hard


What makes it more difficult is that I am currently dealing with in fighting with my mind and heart. My mind says that everything I am saying at this moment will be misunderstood, misinterpreted, misconstrued, and missed in messaging. My heart is barking at me to express the real of this moment. Both aspects agree though that it feels in some ways like a hopeless enterprise.

Why does this bother me so much? Why should I even care if White people or anyone else accepts me for who I am? Why does the thought disturb my soul so bad? Why do I think that more talk will lead to more conversations without real action and investment? Why do I know that white supremacy will always linger because well meaning people are afraid to divest their benefits? Why? I have seen the song and dance before.

I have watched people defend establishments, organizations, entities, and anything else faster than my Black life. I have watched people develop defense arguments in order to call my trauma response an overreaction. I listen to people question my hatred for inequality as an attachment to liberal ideology. Newsflash! Treating people with basic human decency and care is not a conservative or liberal idea. It is a Godly way to treat people!

The need and desire for hope in moments like this is barely in existence. I know when some people read this they will have the desire to jump and try to convince me to feel differently. Don’t move on that impulse. Some will begin to lament the sentiment and come up with some packaged response to sound empathic and otherwise. Don’t bother. Take this most recent lesson that I have been teaching my son.

When CJ makes a mistake or does something wrong, his first and correct movement is to apologize. Recently, I have begun teaching a different approach. “Son, don’t apologize to me. Change your action next time.” I know he will acknowledge the right or wrong that he has done. If his actions don’t change, he will prove that his growth is nonexistent.

Don’t tell me you are sorry. Change your actions…..