Even though I’m always talking about going places and that is the theme of my blog, I don’t wish to go just anywhere. See, even though I am extremely passionate about travel and getting to the next destination; I am not passionate about going just any ole place!

I have learned to be detailed about where I want to go, who I want to go with, my expectations when I get there, and this specificity has increased the quality of my journey on this flight called life. Leaving my days, weeks, years, life up in the air is no longer an option for me. I’m middle aged now. I don’t have time to waste anymore, so even my prayers are spelled out and very thorough. That’s what I mean when I say I’m not going just anywhere anymore. Even some conversations; I’m not going there but that’s a whole different blog. The point is, I’m very aware that I need to be clear about where I spend my time and energy. And while I do trust God to lead me places and do things for me that even my mind can’t conceive; I realize that I still have a say over my life and how far I’m willing to go.

I’m wired in such a way that the things that bring me joy and happiness may not be your preference. My idea of fun is not necessarily yours. There are climates I enjoy more than others. There are cultures I clash with and others that I feel welcomed and ready to explore. It’s really okay to say I don’t want to go there. Some of you needed to hear that today. It’s really okay. Some places are not ready for you. This made me think about some of the places we went as children. We didn’t have a say about where we went. If our parents said we were going there, that’s where we went. If we would be honest, some of those trips would have never happened and if we could have declined going there we would have. My mom and dad grew up in the era where racism was very much alive and not as masked as it is now. He and my mom would take us for VACATION sometimes to places where we would be the only people of color there. I remember times where the entire pool would empty out when my brothers and I would get in. My dad would very nonchalantly see the hurt in our faces and respond by saying, ” Now you have the whole pool to yourself! Have fun guys!”

It’s funny now when I relive those moments, but as a young African American kid, it was not a good feeling to know you were somewhere and the people there didn’t want you around. Now fast forward to today! 2019 is actually not so different. Only now, people smile in your face and roll their eyes when you walk away because they don’t want you in their community, restaurant or business and sometimes this has nothing to do with your race, gender or religion. It boils down to an energy you feel. You know when you belong and when you’re going places where people make you feel like you’re supposed to be there or not. I know there are those who believe that in this day and time things are so different and yes, maybe we have made some strides, and I hate to get on my Martin Luther King, Malcolm X kick; but for those with brown faces like mine, it’s still a lot of the same old same old!

My son Chris who recently graduated with his Master’s from Stanford University told us about the frightening night he drove into the gated community he stayed at with his roommates and the police pulled him over for nothing and made him sit there for hours. Their only complaint was that he didn’t look like he belonged in the swanky neighborhood in Oakland that he actually did belong in. Then there is my other son Drew who attends Johns Hopkins University who recently got his Master’s too. He’s still in school pursuing his PHD now and he’s told us of multiple incidents where he’s in line with other students for events and when it gets his turn to enter he’s asked for his ID just to be sure he really attends JHU. This crap is ridiculous!

People in 2019 want to decide where you’re allowed to go and how high you can fly based on your background. Nah fam! We aren’t going out like that. Quite frankly, I’m sure these tactics are meant to discourage us to only want to go places where we are allowed. There are some people who have decided they only want you to be places where we’re celebrated and not tolerated. So today, I seriously want to honor those people, especially those of color who are pioneering their way into doors that we haven’t exactly been welcomed into with open arms. I want to give a standing ovation to those of you who in spite of whatever prejudice you faced; you’ve made your way into arenas and fields that your gender, sexuality or race have been shunned and given the cold shoulder. Kudos to you for swimming in the proverbial pool when “they” all got out! May your journey to a better life be guided by your own personal angels that help you along the way. May your fight to get to the next level be received with as little turbulence as possible. May your children and your children’s children have a better future than yours because you pushed past the mean spirited people who tried to disqualify you because of the family you were born into or the zip code you lived in. May favor be poured out in your life in unimaginable ways until you arrive to your dream destination safe and completely whole in-spite of everything that was intended to make you crash and burn. For every single wicked person who tried to terrorize you along the way because of the hate they hold in in their heart; I pray more peace and prosperity over your life! May you repay no one evil for evil, but may the good that dwells in you rise up and carry you to your destiny!

Keep going and don’t stop no matter how hard the journey may get for you. No matter the blockage or discouragement, keep ascending. On the other side of this is the life you dreamed of. I’m so excited for your future. Just make up your mind not to be deterred because of the people who make you feel like you don’t belong in places you actually DO!

Copyright ©️ 2019 Sherry Grant

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