“There is a quiet place, far from the rapid pace where God can soothe my troubled mind; Sheltered by tree and flower, there, in my private hour…Whether a garden small, or rock on mountain tall, new strength and courage; there I find rest! From this quiet place, I go prepare to face a new day with love for all mankind!” – (Take 6: “A Quiet Place”)
One of the issues that is driving many of the global discourse is our complete and utter dependence on oil, both domestic and foreign. The gas stations around the U.S. have put a “premium” on the product we use to refill our near empty, exhausted engines. Let it be noted that we (myself included) do more for my vehicles than I do for myself.
We make certain that we get to the gas station to refill. Yet in this world of 24/7 ,”hot-n-ready” we rarely find a place to refuel us. The President of the United States (POTUS), the Honorable Barack Obama, came into Kalamazoo, MI in June 2010 running on fumes. The public discourse on Healthcare, the war in Iraq, the federal deficit, the BP oil catastrophe, and the list goes on; were heavy on his heart and mind.
I’ve always laughed at television and radio personalities who would describe a particular environment as “so thick you can cut it with a knife” or “so electric you could power Chicago.” Well, for the first time in my life, I found myself wondering what would happen to my hand if I simply raised it into the atmosphere inside the beautiful Western Michigan University (Go Broncos!) University Arena. The atmosphere in Kalamazoo was authentically electric!
As POTUS approached the podium to give the keynote address, I, from my very good seat, (Thanks to Kalamazoo Public Schools’ Dr. Rice and Von Washington, Jr.) saw a tele-prompted message and messenger. He began with the normal pleasantries any orator worth their salt begins with.
Then the magic happened! It was as if I saw the politically weary POTUS go to sleep on stage if only for 20 minutes. President Obama seemed to move away from his notes, and talked with Kalamazoo. For the first time in a long time, he rested. It was as if my uncle Milton had shown up for a family event and we were chatting about life. Ever presidential, POTUS laid down the poilitics of the day, and gave Kalamazoo what we needed. A conversation of HOPE, not founded in a political party or “winged” point of view, but founded in our God-given ability to make choices and be better people one to another.
Now, Kalamazoo would have loved for POTUS to hang around a while, but as Air Force One took off, I prayed that the quiet place theat POTUS found in Kalamazoo, would live on in his heart and mind in the upcoming weeks. AND IT DID!
As I listened to the first speech given back in D.C., I said to my wife Gretta, “POTUS got his Swagger Back!”
I don’t know where you’ve been or where you’re going, but there’s just something about Kalamazoo that will refuel your soul in ways that BP will never know!
For Your reflection: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V94bdQVb0CE
Peace and Blessings,