A Significant Death

(This is for the countless black men who die violently every day, that no one will march or hold a press conference for.)

Last night I had a dream that shook me to my core: It was in the near future, at my own funeral. The house was packed! Tons of people came to grieve and share condolences with my family. However, everyone was talking about how I died, instead of the life I lived. I couldn’t figure out what killed me, but it was apparently sudden, unexpected and tragic. I woke up in a light cold sweat, and an empty feeling in my gut, and this is the reason why:

I don’t want my death to be more significant than the life I live. With the recent deaths of Eric Garner, Mike Brown and Tamir Rice, this is the growing trend for black men in America. Think about it, all of these men are wildly famous because of the way they died. One over cigarettes, another over a misunderstanding, yet another over a toy, and let us not forget the young man who died because he went to buy some Skittles® and a bottle of tea. It is their deaths, more than their lives, that made them significant.

Black men have died violently everyday in America since before America was a nation. Every life matters. However, as a black man in America, I don’t want to go down like that. As a black man in America, I don’t want my sons to go down like that. As a black preacher and teacher in America, I don’t want my parishioners nor my students to go out like that. We must abandon the urges to pursue fame. Countless people are clawing for a piece of the spotlight, whether its being an athlete, a rapper, a singer, or social media star. Instead, let us inspire each other to be great in our own domain, regardless of what we do; because there is a big difference between being popular or famous, and being influential and significant.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said it best : “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michaelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.

© 2014 Team Murph Publishing/DJoaquin Publishing, All Rights Reserved

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