Tuesday, March 01, 2011

(repost with finish) Day 416: Greater than through love and support: Journey with the Cape Fear Heart Walk and Adam Freeman

(sorry, I hit "publish" rather than "save" and it sent....if you are getting this twice, I apologize..but wanted to finish it). 

Tonight I was sworn in again for a second term on the Wilmington Housing Authority as a commissioner. It was a little surreal that is has been 5 years. It is appropriate, however, that I write about this here because the journey that I have been on in the housing authority has been so tied to the journey of my health and wellness and all the changes that have come to me.

Remember, my friend and mentor Windell Daniels that I have written about died, literally in front of me of a massive heart attack the night I became chairman of the Housing Authority..during one of the most tumultuous times the authority has ever faced. But is was his death that brought me into a new life in many ways..it led to my involvement with the Heart Association, the information that I needed, then Ashley then Kristi then to Adam..God..my higher power in, in all of it working through all of these experiences..and here I am..no coincidences, a path that was straight and narrow but felt so much at times like it had no direction, was uphill or was always winding and never had a clear way..but it always was.

Yep, the night in November, 5 years ago (I was filling an term), when I took the oath of office, I knew that I wanted so badly to serve on the housing authority. I had seen "projects" on tv and been dismayed by the conditions. I had heard of the need in the community to get meetings with this "HUD" agency and none were to be found. I was told of what was perceived as corruption and government waste and all sorts of tales by many in the community and read about it as well.  My Mayor, who was trusting in appointing me, loved his city and wanted things to be righted and said so when he made the appointment. I wanted to understand more. I wanted to see this work and work for the better. I can't say I was naive..but what I have learned and seen these last five years has awakened me and allow me to mature in ways that I have never expected and overall am grateful for.

What saddens me more than anything still is the stigma of public housing among so many and lack of and or desire to care or know our residents and families. the ease at which this vital function in making housing affordable for our working men and women and families is referred to with disdain as "entitlements" and looked on as a burden when we drop with ease money on bombs and excesses that don't even come close to the money we spend to help those help themselves with housing. But more than ANYTHING that saddens me are the folks who don't mess around with the simplicity of the mission "to provide safe, affordable, sanitary housing"....c'mon folks..let's not mess that up. it is basic and as a country, as a people, we can do that without all the drama right?

It never ceases to amaze me to be amongst "christians" who will so readily cast judgment of folks...and so readily cast them aside. Or hear the assumptions that are made so quickly and who look on public housing and housing assistance with such disdain. But if nothing else, this experience has taught me to stick to the mission, stick to what my gut is saying and stick to what I truly believe and not worry about what others might think and pray, pray, pray, pray! Ignorance, while become more of a powerful force in our country these days, will not win the day if it cannot win ALL OF OUR ATTENTION. To deny ignorance and bigotry an audience is to give understanding and acceptance an opportunity.  What matters in the end is the needs of those in need and the proper use of funding to see that happens equitable and fairly. I have learned alot and make mistakes...but it is worth every minute.

Frankly I had to come to that "worth every minute". There have been moments..even days when I just wanted to walk away..so angry and disgusted that I just could not imagine another moment. But I digress a little....in this experience..it did become more important than ever to become more focused on "mission" and less concerned about the detractors and those who so jealously would deny this housing opportunity for others.

Wasting time on that is stressful..wasting time on folks with motives who are not about mission is stressful, wasting time on anything that is not about getting the job done for those in need..well that is stress and in my life..stress can equal bad health and it did there for a while..to a point where my weight and my life went spiralling out of control. I had to remember that if was going to be of any use to anybody...I had to get back to loving me..and then could love others.  This also made me want to do more...be healthy enough to do more...interestingly enough....

When some of the darkness of the hard times in this service started to clear and some of the good that this Agency can make happen began to emerge under new leadership, you could see the good that can be effected for so many. Wanting to see that..well that is inspiring. Wanting to be healthy and be a healthy part of that..well, that is inspring. 

The YouthBuild Program, the Family Self Sufficiency Program, the UNCW/WHA Community Campus which I helped to establish, the once decimated communities that are now being refurbished, the new homes being constructed, our families being able to gain housing with assistance throughout the city..even with cuts in some of the funding...the partnerships being formed...the grants and the funding coming in..the staff...God...what an amazing mission driven staff...all of it...so much...so much that can make the difference in so many lives in such dark times....so, whatever machinations are out there or in there for those who "don't get it"..whatever ignorance is abounding for those who deny those in need and the realities of our socio economic conditions, for all the negative forces, the good pushes out and expands and grows...and is powerful.

Don't get me wrong..i am still going to speak my mind and heart. I am still going to fight for what i believe is right..but what is such victory here is that this is a healthier place.

I am so grateful for this life and thank God for it everyday!

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