Last month, I lost a good friend to pancreatic cancer at the age of 49. It’s so crazy that you never really know the impact of someone on your life until you no longer have access to them. Just last Labor Day we were hanging out dancing at the House Music Festival here in DC and thanking God for the mobility of our limbs. My girl was a house head, straight outta Chi-town, and loved to dance and party as much as I did. She was always the friend down to hang out and enjoy life in so many capacities; concerts, fine dining, art festivals, and anything adventurous. We had been friends so long, the origins of our friendship and the actual timeline became blurry. It took me reminiscing about all of our adventures and conversations over the years to realize that I have known her for over 20 years. We supported each other through major life transitions, career changes, educational and entrepreneurial pursuits, health challenges, relationship drama, milestone birthdays and most of all the evolution of our faith.
I will forever remember how we shared the historic moment of enduring frostbite to experience the inauguration of President Obama. She was the friend that always motivated me, always had an encouraging word no matter what she was going through and was one of the most accomplished people I knew. She did a full 20 years in 2 branches of the military, earned her Doctorate, and was a professor at a couple of different online universities! My friend was a leader in every sense of the word, and always an example to me to continue striving to reach my goals. She set her goals high and exceeded every one of them.
After my heart attacks a few years ago, I went through a deep depression because I thought that my life was nearing the end, but Nita wouldn’t let me stay there. She would come and take me to lunch and encourage me to get back to my old confident self, stop living in fear of dying and share my gifts with the world. The Bible talks about how iron sharpens iron and Dr. JC was that iron for me.
I choose to take this lesson from her well lived life; Go for it all! Leave nothing in you at the end. As cliche as it sounds, tomorrow is not promised to us. We had so many conversations about achieving our creative and entrepreneurial pursuits and of course we both thought we had so much time. I remember looking around her apartment at all of her possessions and thinking how none of that means anything when measuring the value of her life. Her time wasn’t as long as she expected but within those 49 years, she transformed her life and left a lasting legacy of leadership.
After witnessing all of the loss in 2020, I have become obsessed with what my legacy will be. I don’t have any children but what I do have is endless stories and learning experiences to share. I have spiritual gifts and wisdom that I have amassed in my 53 years of living that I know are meant to be shared with whomever might benefit. My goal is to add value to everyone I connect with because I believe everything in this life is part of a divine assignment.
I believe we should pursue life with the passion and curiosity of an eager child. Make meaningful connections and most of all develop the part of you that goes with you when you leave this earth; your soul. Make a habit of intentionally building up your peers and even strangers with your words and deeds. The way you make others feel, the value you add to their lives is your legacy. All the spiritual gifts and talents that we possess were meant to be shared for the building up of humanity.
To paraphrase Chadwick Boseman, I want to die empty by pouring out every talent God gave me before leaving this earth. I want to be like my friend, Dr. Juanita Catchings, who was the iron sharpening many other’s irons. Rest In Eternal Peace and Power my friend, it was an honor to be your friend and I know we will meet again.
In the spirit of obedience to the Holy Spirit’s prompting, I am officially relaunching Wani’s World Blog today and will be releasing my first book, “Memoirs of a Former Bitter Bitch” on December 11th 2020. Look out for a weekly blog post every #WisdomWednesday.
Get out and enjoy life, pursue a spiritual relationship and Be Abundantly Blessed! Peace, Wani.