There is a certain satisfaction that comes with the realization that there is power in freedom. The idea that I can make a decision to go ANYWHERE and do just about ANYTHING is not just alluring… it’s liberating! All that is needed is a desire. It can start with the simplest of ideas, like travel or even work for example. The concept of freedom is such a wonderful thing, and yet many of us don’t exercise it to the fullest extent. We react to life as it happens instead of conscientiously choosing where we want our lives to go. When was the last time you chose to exercise your autonomy?
Jackson, Mississippi. A choice. Most of my friends thought I had lost my mind when I made the choice to relocate, albeit temporarily. "Why in the world would you want to move there?" inquiring minds wanted to know. Professionally, it was a really good move, but mostly I did it because I had the freedom to do it. Why wouldn't I choose the opportunity to explore a state famous for it's devilishly-rich mud pies and seductive blues music? Legends like Sam Cooke, Muddy Waters, Bo Diddley and BB King all sprung from these waters. Need more? How about Conway Twitty, Jimmy Buffett, Ike Turner and even Elvis himself. And that's just music. Going deeper into the vault you’ll find Pulitzer Prize winning authors such as William Faulkner and Eudora Welty, just to name a few. But in my humble opinion, I have to admit that my all-time favorite Mississippian has to be none other than Sweetness himself, Walter Payton.
And while exploring the ins and outs of any city can have its romantic allure, it hasn't been all roses. Just as recent as our Presidential election, racism reared its ugly head highlighting the hatred of Mississippi’s student population in lead news story on every station across the country. Bringing it ever so close to home, are the subtle innuendos frequently spewed out during personal encounters experienced during an ordinary work day, and so terribly sad that we are still have reason to mention these atrocities in 2013. Nonetheless, in fewer than 30 days time, I’ll pack it all in and set off for a new set of experiences in my new choice city of Greenville, South Carolina.
As with most things in life, you are compelled to consider the good with the bad. How else are we obliged to receive the other? But the truth is, Jackson Mississippi is in many ways not much different than La Ceiba, Honduras, or even Paris, France for that matter. Good, bad or indifferent, each has deeply etched its own unique position on my lifeline and blessed me with experiences that were a direct result of my own freedom to choose.
I'll confess... its hard not to question whether a choice is the right one. What if I had not chosen Jackson, MS? What if I chosen, Jacksonville, FL? The one thing I am confident of is that the people you meet, and the places you go are meant to teach you something. The trick is to be receptive and open to the possibilities that people are placed in your path for a reason. But its more that just being receptive. My personal belief is that we all share a responsibility to give back and spread love right where we are. That's part of the ebbs and flows of life. That's the bigger picture. And in that I can be confident.
I am truly grateful for the God given right to be the person I choose to be. I can explore all the places I desire and do all of the wonderful things that are available to me. The choices are mine to make. Today, I choose to enjoy the patter of the raindrops as they fall onto the rooftop of my Jackson chateau. Tomorrow, I may choose to drive with Maxamole’ up to the Ross Barnett Reservoir and stroll along the Harbour Walk. Whatever I do…I know it will be the right choice!
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've always imagined.
- Henry David Thoreau