Be a Blessing

Men and women of color in the United States were dealt a terrible hand early in our country’s history, and have had to cope with the slow fade of racism in the social, political and commercial fabric of our nation. The recent Martin-Zimmerman case, for instance, highlights the fact that young black men are often treated with suspicion, regardless of their actual intentions.

As a white Anglo-Saxon protestant, I was born into a group of people long judged as and criticized for being aggressive, powerful and arrogant. I suppose you could say that the prejudice I faced growing up related more to privilege than to disadvantage. The suspicion I was under, as strange as it sounds, was that I would do anything within my power to keep what I had (as opposed to taking what wasn’t mine).

Now it might be argued that one class of prejudice is preferable to another, but to my mind, prejudice is prejudice. Hatred and intolerance on the one hand, and jealousy and resentment on the other are the tinder of prejudice. They are inflammatory, and regardless if well-earned, grievous and unjustified.

Having been the occasional target of hatred, intolerance, jealousy and resentment in recent years for my professional success and for my religious beliefs, I have come to better understand the plight of those persecuted by the more stinging shades of prejudice. I’ve learned that facing suspicion makes everything harder, but also that the only way forward is to continue to reveal the truth of who you are, what you represent and what you believe to be right and true. Moreover, I’ve come to realize that those who rally against the truth of you, the truth in you, unwittingly make you stronger.

Frederic Douglass, an amazing man who remained faithful to the call of love and truth throughout his life in the early 1800s, once said in an address delivered in Cork, Ireland in 1845: “Tyrants have ever justified their tyranny by arguing on the inferiority of their victims.” This encapsulates the modus operandi of anyone who has ever treated another with prejudice of any kind. It was as true of those who endorsed slavery at any point in human history as it was in the hearts of those who persecuted others for religious reasons.

So rather than dwelling on or struggling with the accusations, mischaracterizations and flat-out lies about my family, friends, beliefs, habits and me personally, I have sought to continue to focus on the opportunities at hand: the openings for the expression and expansion of excellence, inspiration and refinement. This is the core essence of what I do at home, at work and in the community in which I am honored to live.

As a student of history, I have observed that requiting the crimes of hatred, intolerance, jealousy or resentment with anything less than truth and love is ultimately self-destructive. Though they are frequently issued, these ill spirits must not be received and reciprocated. It doesn’t take a history degree to see that quid pro quo in this sphere of living marks the beginning of the end of dignity and integrity, even in the lives of the well-meaning.

My all-consuming purpose is to be a blessing while I am privileged to live on this unbelievably beautiful and forgiving earth. I would argue that such is your purpose too. You may and in fact should clothe it differently, for no two men or women are truly alike. Your purpose, dear readers, is not to make a living, better yourself or raise a family, rather, it is to manifest the manifold shades of love and truth through your every thought, word and deed.

When you see it this way and relax deeply into the recognition of your true purpose, you quickly see that there is simply no time for anything less. Let there be no distraction – privilege or disadvantage – which keeps you from being who you are and doing what you are here to do.

9 thoughts on “Be a Blessing

  1. Carol

    You’ve set an example, Gregg, of how to handle ill things or attitudes that come your way. Every single day something uplifting is posted on this blog. I read it because it inspires me to be a better person and that’s what grabs my attention. Your quality of character shines through as the caliber of thought that goes into this project is very high. It doesn’t really matter the weirdness people indulge in with their prejudices. I’ve seen enough of them laid to rest in my lifetime that I was sure would never change. So glad that’s so! It gives me hope for this world. Thank you again for the gift of this blog.

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  2. Steve V

    Your words are definitely a turning point for anyone with ears to hear. As there is such a focus to be a blessing along with the conviction that this is really the only way to live the chaff of this world is seen for what it is which is really nothing and acknowledgement and focus is given to the things that really do matter. Your words today are a milepost. Thank you for your unique color of love given in this day.

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  3. Joy

    What I love so much about your blog Gregg is that it gives me a unique opportunity to examine my heart. I appreciate this so much because I’ve been able to detect some fatal flaws within, which if left unchecked will or would have (hopefully I’ve cleared a few) lead to the nullification or watering down of my ability to be a blessing. Your refusal to be a victim or to take an adversarial stance is indeed an inspiration and extends a profound blessing into the world. It does not seem enough to say a mere thank you!

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  4. Chuck Reddick

    Like you Gregg, I too have been faced with much prejudice in my life. Perhaps the most pronounced and obvious one is my chosen profession, the profession of sales. Unfortunately just about everything that one sees and hears in regards to sales depicts salespeople as pushy, greedy, and self serving. So that is what people automatically assume when they discover that one is in sales. It saddens me that it has affected so many who instead of having pride in what is a truly remarkable and necessary profession try to hide what they do behind false titles such as “account executive” or “account representative”. Over the years I have learned that the best way to handle this prejudice is to honor the tenants and essences of professional sales in all that I do, hoping to set an impeccable example to others of the value of what a truly professional sales person offers, thereby inspiring them to honor those same essences.

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  5. Katherine

    For anyone who has been the victim of persecution or knows someone who has, it’s not always easy, but to react in hatred or fear, is not the answer. Those who persecute are bullies and can be motivated by many things: anger, revenge, frustration, boredom, to get a reaction, hunger for power, ego or to make themselves feel bigger. They may even think they are righting wrong and standing up for others. Regardless of the reason, it’s cruel. To react is futile, self-destructive and only provides fuel for the persecutor. It’s better to dwell on how we can live a life of purpose with integrity, empathy, kindness and mercy – living each day to help others and improve the world we live in.

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  6. Lady Leo

    There are no winners in any case that involves prejudice. Strangely they often create a new prejudice. I’m inspired by your post to look at my thoughts and feelings to see where I can let my passion for truth beget behaviors befitting this beautiful world. Thanks Gregg, great post.

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  7. Flow

    I really appreciated the quote below: (I woke this morning with the same current of gratitude flowing through my heart)
    “My all-consuming purpose is to be a blessing while I am privileged to live on this unbelievably beautiful and forgiving earth.”

    Thank you

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  8. Coco

    Well said dear writer! As I was opening my computer this morning to do my usual, CNN , inbox and a couple blogs that I follow, I wondered aloud what gem of wisdom and yes, blessing would Mr. Hake have for me to meditate on today. You see, all that has happened to you and how you have met it, seems to have given you a perspective that is what I term as Heaven sent. I’m sorry for any person that has suffered at the cruel hands of prejudice or targeted hatred but I am so deeply appreciative for the instruction that can come from those experiences. The world has been and still is, rife with hatred. It’s fires are kept burning by people whose default is hate. Our chance to change things is as we deliberately change our personal default to blessing and forgiveness. Thank you for joining the illustrious ranks of those who would NOT be forever ruined. By refusing to adopt the stand that injured you; you are indeed a blessing.

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