I wasn’t looking for charity in 1979, but that’s what my friend offered. I had started my own business so my family could enjoy the good life. Sure, I knew it would be hard and that there would be struggles, but I also believed I could make it all workout – in time. Charlotte was different then … getting to know each other was important in those days. So I wasn’t surprised when a stranger walked into my small office …
“Are we being good ancestors?” Getting that answer right shapes my legacy. If each choice I make reflects a desire to be viewed as a good ancestor then the choices should all be good. The choices won’t be only for today, but choices that will reverberate forever through time, into my children’s children’s lives and beyond. If the children smile and are happy, it will have been a good choice.
I and many of my friends are not happy today. The old Chinese curse comes to mind, “May you live in interesting times.” And there’s no doubt about it; things are about to get very interesting. We need to get on with it, roll up our sleeves, pull on our boots, and go to work. It won’t be easy.
We just returned from an eye-opening trip to Cuba, a trip that until recently was not permitted for citizens like us. Cuba, while just 90 miles off Florida, has been off-limits to U.S. travelers for more than half a century. Now, as I settle back into my daily routine, I am having trouble reconciling my pre-existing prejudices with the realities of life on that small but powerful island.
Mother lived in Charlotte for 20 years before passing away in 2004. She enjoyed spending time with us and celebrating life’s milestones, including weddings and the baptism of all four of her great-grandchildren. She was an important part of our life and we learned from her and her life stories. The world changed more in her lifetime, 1905 – 2004, than during any other time in history. Choices and changes were facts of her life. Some of her early story is told here.
After twenty years of paying rent, it was time to buy a building we could call our own. Upcycling … finding a tired building, that others might tear down, and giving it new life with an even higher purpose would be better for the environment – as well as for my bottom line. My 2002 search took me to an area in Charlotte that today is being branded as Queen’s Park.
Years ago, it was common to ask people where they went to church. Today, the question sounds more like “…do you have a place of worship?” or “…what is your faith tradition?” The question has changed because the choice of answers has changed.
I like coffee meetings; with old friends or someone I am meeting for the first time. These quiet settings are also my choice if we are patching up differences or trying to reach a middle ground from opposite starting points. Like many, I didn’t think it mattered much where we met as long as the conversation was productive.