"I think we're getting to a place where anything goes and when it comes to morality, no one really has their own values that they follow. People are being tossed and turned any way and going with it. And if you don't know your truth—your own personal truth—I think there will always be chaos.”
In my continued goal of celebrating the stories of women, let me introduce you to Afua. A person bold in personality who I feel graced to have known for almost two years. And if you are a Sidewalk Ghosts podcast follower, you may even recognize her name—the story of her first living breaths is quite remarkable. And today in spending only a short thirty minutes of Zoom time together, she has once again jumped deep into the pool of trust.
“The question to ask is where your constant is turned,” Afua positions. “I think we’re getting to a place where anything goes and when it comes to morality, no one really has their own values that they follow. People are being tossed and turned any way and going with it. And if you don’t know your truth—your own personal truth—I think there will always be chaos. And I think the more that we live in a society where there’s no values, I think we’re in trouble.
So, when you ask why, I think we’ve got to get back to finding that truth. People say we don’t need a God, we don’t need religion. But whether you believe or not; it does give you that compass, doesn’t it? As to do unto others as you would have done to you. But if you throw all of that out, what do you have?”
In all that she does—and in the very way she views the world—Afua lives in union with a God she knows loves her. A God that has the right to be the final judge of all of our thoughts and actions. A conversation point that prompts me to review my spiritual grounding. To again reflect on the God I know, and in that, to process the ultimate of all considerations, who knows the fullest truth when it comes to evaluating the worth of a person. Or more overwhelming, the credentials to pass final judgment on that person.
In my opinion, take it or leave it: It is not our job to be the ultimate judge of others. However, in this living experience we are all sharing, it would be condescending and immature of me to state we have no authority to judge. The reality is that every day we have to make judgment calls. Be free to accept or deny the truths that others lean into, and as we do, hold true to the decisions and opinions that drive the persons we are. And most difficult, to feel correct in the actions and conclusions we live forward regarding others. And in accepting our responsibilities as part of the community human, the question to ask ourselves is this” Am I making judgment calls, or am I appointing myself as executioner?
“‘Sometimes I feel like people are saying, ‘you’re judging me,’ and I’m like, no, I’m not judging you. This is what I believe. Irrespective of what you believe, or how you behave, or who you are. I still have a right to say how I feel. And I feel that sometimes that’s being shut down because it doesn’t correspond with what they want or their behavior’”
Afua grabs the topic:
“‘Sometimes I feel like people are saying, ‘you’re judging me,’ and I’m like, no, I’m not judging you. This is what I believe. Irrespective of what you believe, or how you behave, or who you are. I still have a right to say how I feel. And I feel that sometimes that’s being shut down because it doesn’t correspond with what they want or their behavior—Right?—And sometimes I think it’s the way things are happening right now. It’s easier to just let go. Anything goes. Why have values? Why have a moral standing for something you know blatantly will not serve you or your truth? To say, well, I’ll accommodate and tolerate everything that goes against the grain of what I believe in. And then, to say let’s just go with the flow.”
She talks about being a recent transplant to Florida. “One thing I love about being here in Florida is it’s been enlightening. I mean, people here stand for what they believe in and are able to have a conversation without someone saying they’re horrified by my ideology. You’re having a conversation like we used to, and you can say whatever you want as long as it’s not harming anyone. I’m beginning to feel safe to say, these are my views. My opinions. They’re yours, and we agree to disagree and walk away. It’s fine. See you next week. When that starts breaking down to always having to say yes to you, and you can’t hear what I’m saying, I think that’s a problem. The problem happening now.”
Afua’s words inspire me. So again I ask…why?
“I don’t think people are standing in that truth. Because it’s easier to not rock any boats. Where’s the John the Baptist? Where’s the Joan of Arc? Where’s the Martin Luther King? Why did they do what they did… because no one else would stand up and do it.
Why do I say what I say? I can tell you it’s because I want to continue to expand. I don’t want to be surrounded by people who are doing what everyone else is doing, or around people who do not know why they are doing what they are doing. I want my energy to continue.”
Afua challenges us. “Have we created a society where we don’t allow one another to speak our truth? You know, there’s a narrative that we follow for whatever reason, and we’ve forgotten our soul. Edifying our soul, even if you’re married. But as the individuals we are, are we doing that? I’m not saying go around sleeping with people. I’m saying that you need to edify yourself to arrive at a place where you look at yourself in the mirror and you’re like, Wow! I’m doing all right, or I’m not doing all right—and you need to take the time to find that.”
How do you do that Afua?
She returns to the why.
“Why do we do what we do? I think our surroundings and our environments push us to do certain things that we wouldn’t otherwise do. If you stand for what you believe in, and that’s hard to do—you can feel very much alone. People love community and no one wants to stand alone.”
Afua, you have wowed us with your honesty and energy. Your views on morality, compassion, spirituality, and character are all inspiring. And you’re challenging us to become better listeners in the building of our communities, well, that is a task I hope we can all share.
Talk tomorrow my good friends,