Wednesday, October 11, 2006

What Will Be Your Legacy?

It is my honor to post the insights and thoughts of someone near and dear to my heart. She is my mentor, my therapist and best of all, my sister. I've been trying to get her (and others of you) to post, and finally she obliged my request with a posting that left me stuttering. Therefore, I present to you, the naturally beautiful, deceptively militant and always conscious sista I jokingly refer to as "Sista X." But you can call her Dr. D. Elyse Johnson (that's right, yet another one of those Johnson children). Happy reading, from That Johnson Boy!

by D. Elyse Johnson, Ph.D.

If you have never seen Terisa Griffin in concert, you should pray that she comes to your town real soon. If she is not scheduled for your city, drive to the nearest place where she will be performing. Your life will be forever changed. I had the pleasure of seeing Ms. Griffin perform at "Blues Alley"- that's right, the legendary, internationally renowned Blues Alley in Georgetown (Washington, DC) - on this past Monday, October 9. 2006. Trust me when I say that she brought down the house with her melodious, soulful voice. More importantly, her message of hope and empowerment for people in pain was loud and clear. And, if you were there and didn't get it, I suggest you buy the CD and keep listening until you do get it.

From the moment I stepped out of the parking lot attached to the Shops at Georgetown, the first thing I saw when I looked up was a marquee that read in big bold letters "BLUES ALLEY" on the first line, and "TERISA GRIFFIN" directly underneath it. My eyes started welling up with tears at just that moment. To be honest, I was on the verge of tears all that night. And no, I was not depressed. I was just so darned happy to be a part of this life-changing experience. You see, just like many of you, I had read Terisa's story on the That Johnson Boy Said What? blogspot several months ago so I knew her struggle. My family and I also had the pleasure of celebrating Christmas Day with Teresa several years ago. Therefore, when I saw the marquee, all I could think was: SHE DID IT! SHE REALLY DID IT!

What is "it"? "It" could be those big dreams that some of us have and want to fulfill before we transition to the next life. Terisa had a dream and she brought it to fruition in spite of her struggles and circumstances in life. How many of us keep saying that we are going to pursue our dream, but we also keep giving excuses for why we cannot make it happen? Terisa, in bearing her soul, hence the title of her CD, My Naked Soul, turned her pain and life's lessons into a blessing for others. As she sang and narrated her way through each song, all I could do was nod my head because she hit home in so many ways. We, her audience, laughed, we cried or wanted to, and we nodded our way into the beginning of healing from whatever our past circumstances and experiences, especially those related to matters of the heart. Now, I don't know about you, but that's what I want my dream to be - a blessing to someone else.

Another irony of the "Terisa Experience", which is how I describe what occurred at Blues Alley, is that there were several of us from the same family there who had recently embarked on major empowerment projects - one brother and sister are writing a book and another brother is appearing at venues locally and sharing his spoken word. Little did Terisa know, but she served as a major impetus for us step it up and get our projects out there. When I got back to the job, I placed a copy of Terisa's Blues Alley flier on my wall. Why? Because every time I get ready to complain about life or give excuses for why I can't finish my project, the only thing I have to do is just look up on my wall and remind myself that if Terisa Griffin can do it, I can too! What about you? Do you have a dream? Have you started to pursue it? What will be your legacy? Terisa Griffin's legacy will live on long after she transitions over to the other side. Will yours?


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