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A Meaningful Life

A few weeks ago, I had dinner with a friend I had not seen in almost fifteen years. Meeting at the restaurant, we embraced and laughed about the evident white hair we both had now.

"Wisdom", we said almost at the same time.

He has always been instrumental in helping me see life through a different lens.

The dinner was mostly uneventful, as we talked about family and friends, how his wife was doing, our children, our work, and life in the various states we have lived in during our respective careers.

I had worked with him in Cincinnati when I had my cosmetics company and he had been helpful in brand and distribution strategy having worked for P&G. We were overjoyed that our paths had crossed as he was traveling through Denver on his way to California for business.

He had heard I'd moved to Denver and reached out to see if we could catch up.

After we ordered, an older couple, probably in their early 80's were shown to the table directly behind us. The man, older and white sat down and directly faced me. And for most of our meal stared directly at me.

Because he was staring so intently, I thought perhaps I had met him somewhere. Trying to recall if I had, I smiled. He rolled his eyes. At first, I was a bit shocked and then I chuckled to myself. Not wanting to alert my dinner companion, I continued with our conversation.

As our meal arrived, we toasted over the fact that we had meaningful lives and we had fought hard-won battles to get here. We thanked our server and dug in. This upscale restaurant had just the right ambiance. It lacked only one thing.

As I looked around, I noticed a lack of diversity in both the wait staff and the customer base. I was the only black person in the restaurant, and there were at least two Hispanic and one Asian patron. The Asian patron was with a group of what appeared to be colleagues who had come in to celebrate something work-related. She also stared occasionally at me.

And since I said I was the only black diner, you guessed it my dinner companion was a white male. But that's not the point of this post. He's an old friend and he was traveling and staying in a hotel near the airport where I live. So, dinner as he passed through my new hometown, fit perfectly.

As I said, our conversation turned to one of our favorite topics from our past, the value of living a meaningful life, and what that had brought us. As we talked about feeling more engaged and motivated by life these days, despite all the problems in the world, I heard the older guy at the table behind us say, as he looked directly at me, "The problem with the country today is it's so f'ked up. They just let anybody in nowadays, and when we were in charge the country was doing great!"

I almost spilled my wine. I know my dinner companion heard him, but like me, he ignored him.

But we had to address this silence that suddenly came between us.

I said to my friend, "With all of what is going on in the world, the many real problems, like mental health issues, the fallout from a global pandemic, wars in various places, climate change and so much more, it amazes me how small people still think in this country. And how someone's race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and more can make 'his' world a horrible place."

My friend replied, "His smallness is about him and the lack of meaning in his life."

I couldn't agree more. My friend and I decided to enjoy the rest of our dinner. As we left the restaurant amid our, "let's stay in touch hugs, I thought about our conversation.

I have thought about it more since dinner, and about the elderly couple, who both appeared to have significant health issues (she was on a portable ventilator, and he was stooped over with a cane). I have wondered how someone could get to this stage in life, with so many health issues, and the only thing they can think about is someone's race and the impact it has had on how well he or she thinks they have done in their life?

I wondered if people really think about the mind/body connection and the negative and toxic things we think and say, and the impact those words and thoughts have on our physical bodies.

Here are six meaningful life things my friend and I talked about that can help you connect your mind and body and can perhaps have a significant impact on your internal physical world, and the external world you see outside of yourself. In other words, garbage in... garbage out.

  1. Don't underate kindness in this life. Kindness can take many forms and can be shown through words, and action. Be Kind.

  2. Stop holding onto baggage that you think somehow has infringed upon your world.

  3. Stop trying to make people in your own image. Let go of that god or savior complex.

  4. Be inspired that the same sun, moon and stars you see each day, someone in another part of the world can see the exact same sun, moon and stars.

  5. Stop allowing yourself to be led by misinformation, check your bias and change the channel once in a while.

  6. Take a risk and really get to know someone outside of your circle of influence.

Take a chance this week on a life filled with meaning, and not one just filled with what you can get in exchange for what you can give.


The WEBB Advisory Group Presents

The WEBB Center for Social Impact was developed and designed from more than 50 years of lived experience as a Black Woman in America.

Focusing on domestic policy specifically, our institute will provide a global worldview perspective for black and brown women from the diaspora living in America today.  

Using research data, lived experiences, and stories of impact, policymakers and leaders can understand the social impacts various policies have on black and brown children and women, today and tomorrow.  

In response to various incidents in our country's recent history, history mustn't repeat itself.  Therefore, the WEBB Center for Social Impact strives to provide voter information, information on issues for policymakers, information for community activists, and information for anyone who seeks to understand the social impacts of public policy on individuals and communities.


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"Inspired (In Spirit), we live and move and have our being."

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Prayer for the Week

Dear God,

Help us to find meaning and to live meaningful lives. As we encounter a new week may we walk it with courage and confidence that we can choose to see a world filled with your grace, your beauty and your love. Remind us that the diversity and the tapestry of life that we see and live, is your gift to us. Lead us towards building a world that inspires the best in us and through us. Amen.

"Inspiring Humans...Changing Communities."

"And So It Goes..." is a weekly blog post. We welcome the voices of all people. Are you interested in writing for us? Let us know.

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