Thursday, April 19, 2018

The Man

I came across this story one day as I was just perusing the internet. It impacted me so much I had to share it-
A man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin; it was a cold January morning. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that 1,100 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. Three minutes went by, and a middle-aged man noticed there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace, and stopped for a few seconds, and then hurried up to meet his schedule. A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman threw the money in the till and without stopping and continued to walk.
A few minutes later, someone leaned against the wall to listen to him, but the man looked at his watch and started to walk again. Clearly, he was late for work. The one who paid the most attention was a 3-year-old boy. His mother tagged him along, hurried, but the kid stopped to look at the violinist. Finally, the mother pushed hard, and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. All the parents, without exception, forced them to move on.
In the 45 minutes, the musician played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32. When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed it. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition. 
No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the most talented musicians in the world. He had just played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, on a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100.
This is a real story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste, and priorities of people. The outlines were: in a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour: How do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize the talent in an unexpected context? One of the possible conclusions from this experience could be: "If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing the best music ever written, how many other things are we missing?"
This could have been Jesus and you ‘just’ missed Him because you gauged His message by His presentation… Have you stopped to listen to Jesus lately? “HE IS EVERYWHERE!”

PJ Payne

Thursday, April 12, 2018

It Works!

How can one handle situations or 'state of affairs' that you KNOW won't change... basically there is no sign of change in the forecast - not in your work sector... Well, someone or something has to give!
It never ceases to amaze me the things people will do. It never ceases to amaze me, the things you must go through when you try your very best to right a wrong that's imparted unto you. You're shown blatant unfairness as well as partiality; singled out. You try to focus on thoughts that are fresh and anew; especially in an atmosphere that has proven to be so unaptly suited for you. The air that surrounds you is so thick; you can cut it with a knife (so to speak).  What do you do when your work setting disputes work ethics? Run?

In the world today, a working environment has so many 'states of mind’. You don't know what you will face from one morning to the next; even what you would find from one 'face’ to the next... See, the humility you so suitably possess is sometimes tried or offset by others people's outward appearance of senility. Their inadequacies, lack of innate abilities, disrespect, and just downright stupidity tries your patience.  I know that may sound harsh, but it is what it is.

Although you may be suffering at the expense of your colleagues' absurdities, you handle adversity and what you're facing daily with poise and dignity. BUT, the human side allows frustration and it can beset you quickly! You look to whence cometh your help aggressively, as you 'need help Lord,' to endure, to secure, to procure, and to retain modesty and meekness. 
You’ve tried at best, to be calm and collect in certain situations, but their unscrupulous behavior is a reality, staring you in the face. You can’t get around the ‘mess’ as it encompasses and infiltrates your space. So…what do you do to regain composure and keep the little couth you still possess? 
You just keep your head up, breathe deep, and ride the waves till the end of your voyage.  Daily you may be tossed to and fro, but hold tight as He moves at His own pace. In Him, you will find that refuge and solace, as He Works It Out! 
Trust Him. It Works!

PJ Payne

Thursday, April 5, 2018

What Are Friends For?

Did you know that people use the word ‘Friend’ so common and conventionally until it has lost some of its significance and true meaning?
Friend- a person who you like and enjoy being with; a person who helps or supports someone or something, such as a cause or charity; someone who is on your side; a person whom one knows, likes, and trusts; an acquaintance; a person whom one is an ally in a struggle or a cause; a comrade.
Hmmm, so, basically instead of a friend, they can be considered an acquaintance?

On the other hand - a Best Friend is a person's closest friend. A person for which you have an even stronger liking and trust. And contrary to popular belief, your best friend doesn't have to be someone of the same sex. A best friend also doesn't have to be with you 24/7 or think and act just like you. Truly, a best friend can be the exact opposite of you. This CAN lead to fights and difficulties getting along, but somehow you still just love them to death anyway. 

Your best friend... is the one person who could not speak to you for any amount of time but you still think of them just the same. Someone who, despite all the changes a person goes through in their life will stick by you and always accept you for who you are. A person who will always tell you what you NEED to hear, even if it’s not necessarily what you WANT to hear. A person who can make you laugh even on your bad days, and who makes all the problems in life seem easy to overcome, as long as you have them by your side. A best friend can be many things, your inspiration, your hero; best friends help each other to become better people by using honest, constructive criticism that sometimes hurts to hear, but is all for the best in the end. Best friends are the ones that bring up touchy topics with you, even if it will risk you being angry w/ them because they care more about your well-being. Your best friend is the one who you could tick-off so badly, but in your time of need, they'll will still be there for you. A best friend is someone who you have shared good AND bad memories with, but you just can't help but cherish each of them.
A TRUE best friend is hard to come by, difficult to leave, and impossible to forget.

I used to gripe about
My very best friend
And didn’t realize
My distinction she depended

Thought she was a mimic
Thought she was a mime
Didn’t put it together, then
What she needed was my time

I was that distinguishing part
Representative of her deficiency
Believe it or not, I gave her hope
Added flavor, imparting proficiency

She wouldn’t let on, though
How important to her I was
And wouldn’t give me the benefit
Of bestowing unequivocal love

I began to doubt our friendship
Had qualms about the treatment
I was receiving all but kinship
My importance, I wasn’t believing

So…I became defensive
I began to question the commitment
Was what we had all these years
fake…only a figment?

Later I found a deeper sense
As we went through some things
Some folks just can’t accept their flaws
No matter the pain it brings

See, my friend is one side of me
And I am who she admired
Didn’t really see the big picture then
Time apart was what was required

The frustrations we went thru
Were really admirations
If we had let all the trivial things go
We could accept self-gratification

I love and respect my best friend
Trials bring out the best in us all
It has taught us lessons no book can teach
God first and seek “His” higher call

That’s what Friends are for…

copyright 2015 PJ Payne

Thursday, March 22, 2018


Situation: An awesome occasion has transpired! Beautifully executed, from start to finish. There have been raving reviews. But, you're literally hiding behind the scene and don't want to be noticed because you think your importance is insignificant. You don't NEED to be seen! You're letting others 'show' your work, even taking the credit - and they do it with pride, while in the shadows or behind the curtain you lurk... unassumingly, unselfishly, unnoticed.
Is it that you think so little of your contribution and addition that you don't want visibility in any form?
You say you don't NEED a stamp, don't NEED a pat on the back, don't NEED to be pointed out, as a matter of fact. 

Well, the reason YOU explained, is that you're just exuding the love in the things you love to do and you do it 'just because'. Anyway, HE gets the glory when you're through and that satisfaction, in itself, is enough for you.
But are there other factors involved; other reasons you don’t want acknowledgment … maybe self-esteem, self-worth, confidence, or a physical imperfection? Maybe you've never really had anyone to encourage you to pursue your talent. So many questions and possible answers as to why you want to be anonymous. Yet, you smile and go on… So unpretentious, so humble, so modest. What a BIG heart you have!
But, unbeknownst to you, you ARE seen from afar and admired by many. Some of whom, like yourself, are not accredited their accomplishments. Your 'worth' does not go as unnoticed as you may think! 

Summation: Humility is not exploited, but anointed! You ARE acknowledged. There are rewards that await you for what you do. Maybe not by any physical means of your own, but be aware! That there is an "All Seeing Eye Watching You" and sees…

PJ Payne

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Let's Move

As we grow and mature into the adults we have become, we can’t help but remember the ‘bridge that carried us over.' Mine was my mom with all the moral lessons she instilled in her kids along the way... spiritually and ethically. She was a woman of many words, and I especially remember when she used to say, "Don't worry about what's going on now or the past. It will come back full circle." Never would I have dreamt that shoes, furnishings, toys, cars, music, styles of clothing, jewelry, even hairdos would evolve. We see this all the time in our children's choices, trends on TV, and social media. The change may be that a style has a different name or different hue in color, but in essence, it’s the same. Somebody just revamped an old style! And we always want to be in style, right? Even as children.
Don’t you just hate it though! Think of all of the older styles of clothing that have made a comeback... a complete circle. Makes you think you should have kept that paisley blouse, hoop earrings, or clog shoes you use to stylishly flaunt. But of course fabrics, colors and cut have changes. And ‘new age’ folks CAN tell the difference, so “Nah, it wouldn’t work!”
Have you ever asked yourself, what will styles be like in twenty years? Who knows? But what we do have are the memories. Unless, medical issues arise, memories won't leave and sometimes we can vividly go back. They are etched and fixed! 
So, reflecting back on life, it seems times really have not completely changed. And memories make you want to return to those young carefree childhood days, but unfortunately, you have to progress with progression.
So cherish the memories. But until retro returns and comes back around, let's move forward.

PJ Payne

Thursday, March 1, 2018

What's the Fuss?

Isn't He amazing! God gives us just what we need, in His time, which is when we need it. Sometimes we don't even realize that we need it because we think we can work our own magic. We're running around hustling and bustling, trying to figure things out; shedding tears; blood pressure rising... we get in a frenzy when our backs are against the wall. Stuff happens!! So when we can't find immediate answers, those humanistic instincts kick in. 
"How soon we forget whose child we are". As Christians, we say we know God, but do we really?? We throw up our hands in despair; we throw temper tantrums like little kids who can't have their way; we get all worked up because 'we' can't work out the problem; we personalize failure and give up! But guess what? That's really what He really wants us to do... let Him. "Who's your Daddy"? Who will take care of you? Who's got your back? Who will catch you when you fall?

Just when we think it's all over, we've run the race, we've lost the battle, He is standing on the sidelines watching and waiting and then... HE INTERCEDES!
He guides us as He touches us; clears the path of obstacles so we can see.  He takes the reins to lead us out of confusion. He helps us to think clearly, so as to not draw our own conclusions.
And then, only then do we grasp who truly has the answers. The only magic touch is the 'Touch of the Master'! He guides us across the finish line. And when we let Him guide us through the path He wants us to take, we will realize we're in for the race of a lifetime. Consequently, we wonder "what was all the fuss?"

PJ Payne

Thursday, February 8, 2018

In Me, Of Me

As a poet and writer, there is always something that inspires me to put on paper what's in my head. The bulk of my inspiration has come by seeing and listening to the works of some of our most renown Black Poets, namely Phyllis Wheatley, Langston Hughes and Maya Angelou. This is Black History Month, so I think it nothing short of appropriate to honor unparralleled writers and authors. 
I truly believe most writers write through inspirations and experiences. Our heritage and experiences are the stepping stones for us as black poets to articulate our movement; convey our thoughts, and construe them in print. No matter what race, color or creed, we all express ourselves… each in his/her own way; each in his/her own time. BUT writing is timeless.
I say that because in my research, I found that as a people, we may have been down in time of slavery, even the depression, but we were not out!! A prime example is Phillis Wheatley; a young girl in the late 1700’s who was sold into slavery, after being kidnapped. She was bought as a personal servant for the wife of John Wheatley, thereby customarily taking on the Wheatley name. Considered to have quick intelligence, she was taught to read and encouraged in literary pursuits…thus world-wide acknowledgement of her works. Phillis Wheatley holds the esteemed honor of being the First Published African American Poet.
I desired to know more about Phillis Wheatley, also spelled Phyllis Wheatly, because as a child, I attended a school named in her honor, as are many. And as an adult, I began writing when my kids were little; reflecting on those who were before me and during my era... their styles, techniques, etc. 
I've spent countless hours alone with a Cup 'o Joe, my Bible or journal and my inspiration-Thee. My thoughts utter via pen, whatever creeps into mind at that time...
I Write

Sometimes I feel 
as though I have 
so much to say and 
if I didn't have a outlet
I'd burst wide open...
so, I Write 

My brain goes much faster 
than even my fingers 
can wrap around a pen, 
or type on a keyboard, 
or even my body can move 
to a position, to a point whereas 
I can regurgitate 
what is stirring inside
so... I Write

PJ Payne