One More Time

Good early morning,

I have gone to bed for the day, but my brain seems to be in overdrive. It is
early morning now . Part of that is due to life’s circumstance, part of it is because of the night’s conversation, and, yet again, part of it is because of my reflecting on the death of Dr. Maya Angelou, one of the more influential voices of this time, or perhaps the last generation. I remember reading many of her pieces in both my second Master’s process and during my doctoral work. One of my best friends, and one who has allowed me to serve as a mentor, posted the following quote on her Facebook timeline earlier today. “Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time” (Angelou).

Poets have the ability to reach inside our souls and reveal the thoughts or words we are too frightened to think much less speak. I am always amazed by the person who says ” I don’t need to read that poem or play or story or novel or . . . often to be followed by the idea that they cannot relate to it or it has no relevance to their life. I must again thank all the professors at Dana, who taught in the humanities program, especially Luella Nielsen and Norman Bansen, for helping me see that relevance. I think of my colleague now, Jerry Wemple, who takes the seemingly ordinary from the annals of his life and history and gives them relevance and beauty. There is beauty in each of our lives, real and profound beauty. Yet too often it goes unnoticed because we get caught up in “the other”.

Is it we get caught up through necessity, through a misguided sense of importance? What must happen for us to reorient our focus? I think that answer varies from person to person. Sometimes that impetus comes from within, but more often than not, I believe it is thrust upon us, either knowingly by others who care for us, or by a sort of crashing together of events or things, perhaps seemingly random, but maybe more determined that meets the eye. The how and why is not really as important as the what we do with that impetus, with that opportunity. What is perhaps more important, once again, is whether or not we can see the value in the event.

This is where the importance of rhetorical strategy and delivery take center stage. Too often the delivery or the circumstance in which the message is given or received can overshadow the significance of the message. There have certainly been times in my life where all the best intentions in the world could not allow the message being either offered or taken in have a “snowball’s chance” because either I spoke ineffectively or listened even more poorly. I have most undoubtedly been the victim of my own limitations this past semester. Amazing to see how one event (perhaps even somewhat salvific in nature) has caused me to reconsider a number of things . . . And that event is in the chance meeting of yet another, not in some profound news or information.

We are provided chances or placed in circumstances on a regular basis where we are offered the chance to make a difference. Too often we allow them to pass, either because we are unaware or because we are too frightened to do something. I have missed chances due to a number of reasons. Somehow, I have been given yet one more time, an opportunity. It might seem a bit of a stretch, but I am reminded of Eninem’s theme song from the movie, 8 Mile. Of course, when I worked for Chrysler in the Detroit area, I had the occasion to drive up and down that road. We have a chance an opportunity. Unfortunately, contrary to the rather specific lyrical line about “failure”, too often we do. But what is failure? Is failure permanent or something passing? If we learn from the past, from those things less than successful, have we still failed? Perhaps that is a topic for another posting.

One of the more profound things I heard last evening (and this has been a regular mantra) was “I try to be fair. I try to see all the sides.” What a wise thing, and an exceedingly complex thing, to do. It is certainly not something most do easily or if at all, and particularly when the issue strikes close. Too often our emotions cloud our vision or our ability to think. Clarity of either vision or voice is a struggle. However, it is amazing how this is the rule rather than the exception in this case. So yet, one more time, there is an opportunity for hope (esperar). I have learned the word in Spanish means both wait and hope. How appropriate. There can be no hope without a process and without hope there would be no reason to wait. Waiting, expecting, believing: each require patience; each can offer hope.

So one more time I will say thanks for teaching me. Thanks for mentoring me; thanks for tutoring me. I am glad to be a student of yours.

Thanks for reading. It’s 4:30 and time to sleep a bit.

Dr. Martin

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