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O Captain, My Captain!

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O Cap­tain, My Cap­tain! I fear our jour­ney is now done.  Our ship has weath­ered every storm, the prize we’ve sought is won.

These words were penned in 1865 by Walt Whit­man about the death of a great man, Abra­ham Lin­coln. I evoke those same words about another great man who has left us too soon: Rev­erend Lance Chaney.

I call Rev. Chaney great, not because of the things he accom­plished nor because of the wealth he attained. I call him great because of the lives he changed. You see, he changed my life–drastically and dra­mat­i­cally. I can­not imag­ine where my life would be today if I had not met him so many years ago. I was a young man try­ing to find his way into man­hood. Chaney took me under his wings and guided me through some of the tough­est times in my life.

I also con­sider Pas­tor Chaney great because of how he lived and, ulti­mately, how he died. Here is a man who fought can­cer for at least five years. Time and again he was given the bad news that he would likely not live. But instead of col­laps­ing under the pres­sure as so many would have, Chaney stood tall and con­tin­ued to preach love, faith, belief and most of all faith. He preached to encour­age us to keep fight­ing, all the while know­ing his jour­ney was almost done. What courage! What fortitude!

What is the mea­sure of a man if not where he stands dur­ing times of adver­sity? What is the mea­sure of a man if not how he faces his own mor­tal­ity; a man who can look death in the face and still per­form his duties? Dur­ing his dark­est hours, Chaney did “not wince, nor cry aloud, but under the blud­geon­ing of chance,” his head was unbowed.

Chaney was a great man. He was my friend. He was my leader. He was my cap­tain. In life he taught me lead­er­ship. In death he taught me manhood.

O cap­tain, my cap­tain, I fear our journey’s done. The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voy­age closed and done.

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I Will Prevail

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If ever there was an occasion,

If ever there was a cause,

If ever some­one needed to rise,

I will answer the call.

 

I will not shrink in the moment.

I will not fear the stage;

But, I will run boldly towards

That from which oth­ers run away.

 

Yes. Doubt is still whispering

Yes. The shadow of fear lingers on;

But, I will not allow them to rob me,

Of that for which I was born.

 

I was cre­ated for this moment;

And for this I am well prepared.

So in this I will be victorious,

In this, I will prevail!

B.P. Dixon 5−29−13

 

Posted in: Inspiration

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My Life is Out of Control

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Recently I’ve come to the con­clu­sion that my life is com­pletely out of con­trol. Every time I decide to do some­thing, fate and, per­haps, des­tiny says oth­er­wise. I decide to move to a par­tic­u­lar city: deci­sion over­rid­den. I decide to take a par­tic­u­lar job: deci­sion over­rid­den. Sud­denly, I meet the most amaz­ing woman I’ve ever known and less than six months later we are mar­ried. Eleven months later we have our first child. In the blink of an eye my life has changed. The pace at which it changed is breath­tak­ing and, at times, fright­en­ing; nev­er­the­less, they were won­der­ful and amazing.

Now I have a wife and a child, and together we decided that we were going to move to a par­tic­u­lar city. We both agreed on where we wanted to live and what we wanted to do with our lives, and so it seemed as though my lot in life had finally changed. It seemed as though things were going our way. Deci­sion made: deci­sion over­rid­den. We decide to move: deci­sion over­rid­den. We decide to take dif­fer­ent jobs: deci­sion over­rid­den. Then sud­denly, I real­ized  that I fin­ished a Master’s degree in less than twelve months, got accepted into a PhD pro­gram less than thirty days after grad­u­a­tion, and an amaz­ing door into my future swings open widely. Once again, my life—no, our lives—are mov­ing at a fran­tic pace. The pace is so fast that it is breath­tak­ing and, at times, fright­en­ing; nev­er­the­less, won­der­ful and amazing.

That’s when I real­ized my life is com­pletely out of con­trol. The deci­sions I call myself mak­ing are over­rid­den every sin­gle time. The plans I made for my life have been changed so much that I no longer write them in pen. I’m sure you can imag­ine the frus­tra­tion this causes. I’m sure you’ve been in the same sit­u­a­tion. We make plans for our lives but life has its own plans. I keep think­ing about Ernest Henley’s Invic­tus where he proclaims:

It mat­ters not how straight the gate,

How charged with pun­ish­ments the scroll,

I am the mas­ter of my fate,

I am the cap­tain of my soul.

I hear these words, but for me, they are com­pletely untrue. I am not in charge of my life. My life is not my own. I can accept this now. My wife has accepted this as well. Why? We accept this because every deci­sion that has been over­rid­den in our lives ulti­mately led us to each other. Every job we did not get kept us in the city we needed to be in to find one another. Ulti­mately, every deci­sion that was over­rid­den led us to Ben­jamin 2.0.Every choice that was over­ruled led to us both fin­ish­ing our master’s, Jada’s sec­ond, my accep­tance into a PhD pro­gram, and an oppor­tu­nity that you will hear about soon enough.

Sim­ply put, I can’t imag­ine any of the other deci­sions being bet­ter than the ones that I was ulti­mately forced into. And so, my life is com­pletely out of con­trol: my con­trol. Then I remem­ber a prayer that I said when I was sixteen:

Lord, I know I can make deci­sions, but I can­not always trust that my deci­sions will be the right ones. So I am turn­ing my life over to you because I know that what you have planned for me will always be bet­ter for me because you want only what’s best for me. I trust your will for my life more than I trust my abil­ity to make good deci­sions. So, lead the way.”

Be care­ful what you ask for. I was blessed enough to get it.

 

–BpDixon

Posted in: Inspiration

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Resting in Who You Are

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So often I find myself in the dri­ving gear—always push­ing and try­ing to get to my des­ti­na­tion. Although both drive and pas­sion are nec­es­sary for suc­cess, too often we get caught up in the hus­tle and bus­tle of try­ing to be suc­cess­ful. It’s in these moments that we begin to lose our­selves and begin to stray away from our orig­i­nal pur­pose. It’s in times like these that we begin to work for the sake of work­ing instead of work­ing to ful­fill our pur­pose. I real­ize that I’ve been work­ing just to work—focusing so hard to get ahead that I’ve lost track of what I was orig­i­nally try­ing to accomplish.

I had the chance to speak with a very suc­cess­ful busi­ness­man and com­mu­nity leader today. I was so impressed by him that I asked if he ever con­sid­ered run­ning for office. With all of his con­nec­tions, expe­ri­ence, and pos­i­tive accom­plish­ments I sug­gested that he would be a sure win. He looked at me and said, “I’m well known through­out this state. I have thou­sands of peo­ple who sup­port me. I can raise mil­lions of dol­lars in a few months—but I’m not inter­ested in run­ning for office.”

When I asked why he con­tin­ued, “I won’t run for office because I’m suc­cess­ful. The rea­son I am suc­cess­ful is because I am doing what I am doing what I am gifted to do.” Then he made the most pro­found state­ment: “I’m rest­ing in who I am.”

This is my new motto. I am rest­ing in who I am. I am rest­ing in what I do. The hus­tle and bus­tle of try­ing to make some­thing hap­pen only takes you away from who you are. We shouldn’t try to be suc­cess­ful, we should just try to be the very best that we can be.

This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t work hard. No. We should work extremely hard. But there is a dif­fer­ence between work­ing hard at try­ing to be suc­cess­ful and work­ing hard at being the very that best you can be.

When you rest in who you are all you have to focus on is how to become bet­ter at what you do. When you rest in who you are you don’t have to chase oppor­tu­ni­ties or try to force any­thing to happen—your gift will make room for you. There is peace in rest­ing in who you are because you don’t have to try to be any­thing but what you are nat­u­rally. You still find peace even when you have to push your­self to learn more or to develop your skills more because all that you are doing is becom­ing a bet­ter you. It’s free­dom: free­dom from hav­ing to be any­thing other than what you were meant to be.

I’m done chas­ing suc­cess. From here for­ward I’m rest­ing in who I am. Care to join me?

Posted in: Inspiration

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