Live long enough and someone will have a complaint about you. Interact with enough people and they will find your flaws. That is the price you pay for being an imperfect human being.
Even those with the best of intentions fall short of God's glory. Not even the man with the noblest of hearts can please everyone all the time.
So what is an imperfect human being to do? Stop associating with people? Give up on the human race? To do so would mean a life of devastatingly loneliness. A life like this would render us useless, even to ourselves.
I don't care whose name you put out in the universe: once a name is called the responses that come back are mixed. Some of our greatest heroes and heroines have been both loved and hated simultaneously by the very people whom they have tried to save or for whom they have tried to make life better.
I don't know what it is about us as imperfect humans that is so desperate to seek pure perfection from imperfect humans. And yet even when we do find a near perfect man in our midst we still search for the flaws in him. Amazing. As much as we seek perfection from our fellowman, none of us possess it.
My parents live outside of New York State and I travel maybe twice a year to visit them. My mother is a passionate, expressive and aggressive woman. My dad is quiet and reserved, a politician in his own head. This means he has a campaign for every cause and a solution for everything intellectually. I thoroughly enjoy talking to him, but even more, I love listening to him. Why? These conversations with him always turn into a classroom session for me. He forces me to think and see things from a different perspective. Through his guidance I am forced to look at life without the restraints of my own tunnel vision. I am forced to be selfless.
This past summer I viewed The Undershepherd (2012) at the American Black Film Festival. I briefly mentioned how talented Isaiah Washington was and made a comment about his disappearance since the Grey's Anatomy incident, which had forever changed his career. Little did I know that I would have not only the chance to meet Washington but the honor of working with the legendary actor.
I am not one to base my relationships with someone on other people's past interactions or impressions. I want to see it for myself. I am of the mind that human relationships are like fingerprints, very unique.
Washington is everything I could have imagined and more. He is grand, royal, he possesses a bigger than life personality and yet he is very cool at the same time. He is outspoken yet charming and clearly conveys his views on work, life and his identity.
I get a sense that this Grey's Anatomy incident may have taken him off the Hollywood scene publicly, but intellectually it opened the door for him get inside his own head. Writing his book must have been therapeutic. It became that thing that he needed to not only find his roots but to return to his childhood, his familial roots, to do the thing that so many of us don't have the time to do -- think!
We think because it is our job. We think because if we don't it will cost us our lives or the lives of those around us. But we don't think about LIFE.
We question "God" in times of death, tragedy, pain or when something earth-shattering goes wrong. But when otherwise do we actually take the time to investigate the true meaning of life? Why does man only take this opportunity when he is on his death bed, when it is his last chance to find answers?
Washington seemed to have gone through this during his "silence" from Hollywood. His absence made a void in "mainstream movies," but not from movie making. It was not a break from life but not from what really mattered to him, his family. And he continues to work in what seems to me like some pretty great projects such as Bello, They Die By Dawn and of course The Undershepherd. Not to mention his philanthropic work for Africa and Her people.
Today I was inspired to write this piece on Mr. Washington because it made perfect sense to me. I heard a sermon on what Jah's forgiveness does for us and immediately thought of him.
Not that he needs my forgiveness because personally he did nothing to me that requires me to forgive him in the slightest. But it brought to mind why we are no longer graced with his presence in "mainstream films," the one error he made publicly by saying the wrong thing to the wrong people. I am sure that wasn't where it all began, but I am sure that it was the thing that sealed his fate in Hollywood. Only for the moment I hope.
I was not there so I can't confirm or deny anything. But I do know it is said "Jah is a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger... Pardoning error and transgression and sin." To this extent I show mercy to my brother whom I see is the extension of God who will grant me mercy. And God knows that for all my sins I need his mercy and forgiveness.
So again I am compelled to say that Isaiah Washington is a brilliant actor, gifted artist, great entertainer and intellectually stimulating conversationalist. These are the things I will remember about him.
We may differ in many areas. In business, in approach, in thinking, in dealing with people. But the one certain thing we have in common is that we are all imperfect people in need of forgiveness for our transgressions.
For better insight into his soul, read A Man From Another Land by Isaiah Washington.
Stay plugged in with the stories on black life and culture that matter. Learn more