Living in a Different Way

A lot of black men die early. And many die from preventable diseases and the sticky consequences of them.

When I read of John Singleton’s death, this came back in an undeniable brightness. I grew up loving his work. I didn’t know how young he was until obituaries began.

Then, I visited the catalog in my mind. The men I’ve loved as an adult who have died, namely my father Mardell Culley and my then father-in-law John McKinney. There’s the list of men I’ve served as a leader, a list of those living who, like Singleton, struggle quietly.

Among the responses to Mr. Singleton’s death, researchers have turned again to the problem of black folk dying, particularly black men. Dr. Clyde Yancy, a cardiologist at NM whose work around social determinants of health I respect, grow from, and learn from is a consistent care provider around these issues.

Dr. Yancy says bluntly, “I want this message to be explicitly clear: Check your blood pressure. That’s a hard stop. That’s the takeaway; and especially if you’re an African American man, check it today.”

That is within reach. Drop-in clinics, CVS, Target, your doctor, your cousin’s doctor, your family friend who is a nurse, your ex’s distant friend from third grade. Check your blood pressure.

Speaking about the rates of disease in the black community and after stating the men he has lost, Dr. Yancy sums it up, “It’s just unacceptable. We can live life a different way.”

It’s true. We can. And we can struggle while making noise for the health of our beautiful selves and the health of those we love.

Read the full, brief piece here.

Already Better

“When I got to your stage of having a whole night’s sleep several times,” Sasha told me, “I did just one thing. I paid absolutely no attention to ‘it’ whatsoever. I pretended it wasn’t there. I decided I’m not going to give up another second of my life to this ridiculous problem. You are still paying too much attention to it just by having this conversation with me. You’re already better.”

Sasha talking to Kate about years of paying attention to not having enough sleep. The quote says so much about sleeping, dreaming, and living after sleeping and dreaming. Read the rest here at the Guardian.

My Blog: Things You Don’t See

One of the earliest things I learned when I started working as a chaplain is that things I don’t see can sicken me, take away my strength, and cause me harm. There are more pathogens in the world than I’ll ever see.

On one hand, that’s enough to send a non-medical person nuts. Everywhere you look and everywhere you touch, you’re wondering, “What’s on this?” You change your habits. You watch your six-year-old and test him by secretly counting how long he washes his hands. You do this to everyone in the bathroom, too. Until the results depress you.

On the other hand, this unseen presence makes the human body that much more remarkable. We walk around well, and that’s miraculous! And we also need to care for ourselves as much as possible in appreciation for ourselves. How will you appreciate yourself today, amazing sustained miracle that you are!