What did it take to get me here?


This past week I celebrated a birthday.  Wednesday made 36 years I’ve been a fellow inhabitant on this wonderful planet.

I love birthdays!  Birthdays are the one time a year, that each of us get to unapologetically make a whole day all about ME!

Now…while the selfish aspects of celebrating a birthday are quite appealing there’s also other reasons I’m fond of birthdays.  The second reason I’m fond of birthdays is because it also serves as a second New YearA birthday provides an opportunity to reflect on our lives, measure our progress towards accomplishing our ‘written’ goals and recalibrate ourselves accordingly.

The third reason I love a birthday is because it can serve up a great opportunity to just STOP…and reflect.

So this past Wednesday I celebrated ME-day and over the next few days I took time to recalibrate and then to reflect.

During my reflection I came across an interesting thought and question.
“What did it take to get me here?”
…and by ‘here’ I mean the following:

  • 36 years as an inhabitant of this wonderful planet
  • The process of my birth
  • This very point in my life at 36 years of age

I happened to be pondering this very thought at brunch on Saturday when two pregnant women walked passed my table at the restaurant.  Both women seemed rather uncomfortable as they partook in their laborious walk towards the restaurant exit.

After observing these two women, two more distinct thoughts and questions followed:

  • Will the children of these two women ever truly understand the discomfort and pain their births caused their mothers?
  • Will these two children be afforded the blessing of life for 36 years?

A good friend of mine called me Wednesday afternoon to wish me a happy birthday.  His opening remark was a playful comment about my age.
You’re getting old man!” He exclaimed. “You’re staring 40 right in the face!”
We both chuckled a bit.  I had nothing to say.
“No sense in debating the truth.”, I thought.
His next comment held more weight than either of us expected, “Well Linal, you only have two options and I think we’d both agree that aging is the best of the two options.”
“Indeed it is!”, I said.

Indeed it is!

A recent picture of my mother and I. I truly appreciate this woman.

This week I want to leave you with 3 very basic truths to think upon:

  1. Our mothers deserve our sincere gratitude.  They love us despite the physical and emotional pain we cause or have caused them. (Thanks Mom…I love you!)  No human is perfect…that includes moms…so regardless of their mistakes, imperfections or shortcomings…moms deserve to be loved.  If we happen to be fortunate enough to have parents that instilled principles on which we could build our lives, there should be an even deeper level of gratitude.  Frederick Douglass was quoted saying, “It is easier to raise a good child, than to repair a broken man (or woman).”  So thank those good fathers too!
  2. Life is a wonderful gift.  What are you doing to truly capitalize on this gift?  We all should be squeezing every drop out of the towel of life.  Are you?
  3. Age is a blessing.  There are only two options…and aging is by far the best of the two.  Embrace it…and for those of us who are younger…let’s be sure to respect it…in ACTION by how we treat our elders.

I have been so fortunate and blessed!  I was born to loving parents who took the time to instill strong principles in me and made sacrifices to ensure I received the privilege of good education.  For this I am truly grateful.

What are you grateful for?  Take a moment and write it down…(today)…then share the list with your mom.  She’ll care if no one else does…

Love ya ma!

4 thoughts on “What did it take to get me here?

  1. Deborah Swoope says:

    God Bless you Linal!!!!!! And kudos to your Wonderful mom, Mildred. Mildred, I know you are proud…….not so much because of Linal’s accomplishments. But because of the love, adoration and respect he realizes and has for you. I share in your proud moment!

  2. Mike A says:

    Amen brother. Having great parents is like winning the lottery of life! Thanks for sharing the spoils of your riches through this inspirational blog. Happy Birthday!

  3. Omg Linal Your even more amazing than I had previously stated. Finally I have heard it said. We as mother’s love our children and sacrifice so much to in still the very best of values and greatness in our children and work even harder in this day when we are raising young men. Your mom has done a SUPERB, FABULOUS JOB!! She must be a woman of God! I know she is proud of you. I am also glad that you acknowledge her and love her deeply, she deserves that. You are a role model for many. God is Blessing you and I pray many,many blessings for you and your family for eternity. As a mother my self this is exactly what I want from my Daughter and expect GREATNESS. I was working so hard for the same thing for my son and had felt so cheated when his life was cut short by someone who had no purpose for there life. I am glad and it bring me great joy to see another mother work hard and see dream for son come true. that makes my heart smile. So Linal I must say JOB WELL DONE!!! KEEP STRIVING!—-TARA

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