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My Transition of Victory...copyright 2009 by Dr. Joseph B. Howard, Sr.

My Transition of Victory…

The time is far spent…and my strength ebbs. My cunning and wit wanes occasionally and my endurance experiences periods of cessation.

Over half a century and where have all the seasons gone? My sunset is soon forthcoming and should be anticipated with responsible maturation and acceptance. Sadness is an obvious by-product of this must happen fact of life. Let my words be my epitaph and be a resounding and resilient light house of hope and determination and navigate the souls of my kinsmen. My life though highly flawed, can still be utilized as a roadmap of God’s tender mercies. My highly publicized failures will illuminate my despair and temporal feelings of hopelessness. However they can also be a lighthouse that illuminates safe passage in the storms of life by way of the great, wonderful, and marvelous dispensation of amazing and infinite grace.

My propensity to fall in love with loud, aggressive, and mean-spirited females provides a plethora of life’s learning distinctive. Every man wrestles with his own demon and this was mine. It was battled long, hard, early and often. The storm cloud has passed over and it is now time to rest and enjoy what has been so consistently allusive (Peace). This tumultuous storm would give me on the backend purpose and refilling. I only weathered this spiritual upheaval because my soul finally found a way to anchor itself in Christ Jesus. It is now well with my soul and let the transition begin. I remember walking with my grandfather from elementary school, I remember going to church on Sunday nights with my grandmother and sitting next to her on the bench while she played the organ. I remember sitting on the front porch with my cousin sharing ideas of what we thought life would be like once we left Gary, Indiana. I remember my father’s funeral. I remember my high school graduation. I remember the birth of my first born child, I remember Navy boot camp, I remember going out to sea for the first time, I remember the abuse, and the victory that followed that included being called to preach. I remember being in the delivery room for the birth of my youngest child. I remember the pains of divorce and self-inflicted pain of closing my first ministry. I remember falling in love again and wondering was it ever truly meant for me.

I remember preaching to men in prison and experiencing their joy at conversion and healing. I remember seeing the face of children light up as I taught in the classroom. I remember seeing my grandchildren for the first time and feeling the joy and pride deep within. I remember coming to terms with my life and its purpose. I remember finally coming to the realization of what must be. Some of us were born with burdens and for this we suffered. We suffer where others forgot because it was essential and mandated that we never forget. We remembered what was passed on and must continue to be passed on. We remembered to walk by faith and not by sight (II Corinthians 5:7). We did more than remember; we acted and thereby we suffered the hardships as good soldiers. This was always to be. Once I am gone, it is enough to know my sons will hopefully be difference makers and others who I have crossed in my life’s journey will care and make a difference. This is enough for any man and so it is and always was even before my birth. I was chosen, not to be so grandiose in lifestyle with self bravado, but if one man was blessed by my being then my living was not in vain. Tell the story and live. Live the story and tell.

My life was never simple but the mission was truly not so complicated. Sure, my life’s defeats exacerbated some situations that were already bad but my faith would somehow be the balm of healing after a time. I only had to remember, “Be more than a man, be God’s man”. Never settle for being less than what you were created to be. All that I could ever be and have been was because of the blood that was shed on Calvary. This blood will never lose its power…It is time to embrace the present and release the past.

I have been blessed with experiencing much change as was my maternal grandfather; Oscar Berry Sr. He was born in the 1890’s in Opelika Alabama and died in December of 1969 in Gary, Indiana. He saw Jim Crow at its apex and the birth and initial victories of the civil rights movement. He saw man walk on the moon and the first “horseless buggies” as he called them. He never learned to read or write and yet carried himself with great pride at raising a large family especially during the depression. His twilight years were spent loving his children and grandchildren and enjoying their accomplishments. I have learned much from him and others. Through the Black Power Movement and experiencing my own racial oppression as a Negro, Afro-American, Black, and now African-American I am a better man. This is what I continue to pass on to my sons and grandsons. Know who you are and more importantly who you can become with determination and focus. Let a never say die spirit take root intrinsically and stand and be a positive influence to a more technologically advanced generation but philosophically, and morally inept and bankrupt generation. I leave this legacy to my kindred… “That I shall not die but live and declare the works of the Lord” (Psalms 118:17).

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