And the best is yet to come!
Full transparency. For most of us, there were tears of joy and the anguish of a wrenching of grief in 2022.
There were connections, real and virtually, with voices, faces and spirits of enduring past friends, relatives, colleagues and those we simply neglected even in our midst. Then there were physical, spiritual, and mental health issues – anxiety, fear, disappointment and heartbreaking farewells.
The truth is, living in this moment under any circumstance is a blessing. So many souls entered the year 2022 but did not make it to the finish. Obviously, everyone capable of reading this column, whether entering, exiting or in the eye of the storm, has the precious gift of hope.
There is too much for which I am grateful to waste any time on lamentation or shortcomings. I will employ the spirit of the gospel anthem, “I Won’t Complain” to trace events in the life of myself and loved ones. It is not an attempt to sound disillusioned or detached, but rather an intentional commitment to exclusively accentuate the positive!
Think about it. God is good to us beyond measure. How do we like it when a friend always comes with a complaining spirit or with a handout asking for something. No matter how generous or empathetic we feel, we occasionally want those kinds of individuals to simply greet us, wish us well, express gratitude for our relationship. I believe Jesus enjoys the same wish with His children.
Sometimes we need to speak about the goodness of the Lord with no apologies for not including those things that cause us consternation, no mention of unanswered prayers, no references to challenges faced, no talk of blessings deferred.
What God has done in our lives right here, right now, is more than enough; more than we deserve. His grace and mercy abound. He is worthy of all praise and honor!
So let me start with saying that my most gratifying experience of 2022 was undoubtedly the birth of my first grandchild, Jace Vernon Harris. He was born to my daughter Bridget and son-in-love Paris at 12:30 p.m. on October 10 in Chicago. Holding him in my arms brings unbridled joy, and when I look into his eyes, I feel the wonder of God Almighty! What a blessing.
There is nothing that will compare, but there were many other events and activities in which I was involved during 2022 that brought excitement and satisfaction.
In February, the cast and crew of our play, THE PRICE OF PROGRESS: THE INDIANA AVENUE/IUPUI STORY, fought through a treacherous winter trek from Indy to the stage of Indiana University Northwest for the Gary premiere of this entertaining and informative production. Complying with COVID restrictions, we enjoyed a restricted but enthusiastic capacity audience.
In April at the Historic Madam C.J. Walker Legacy Center in Nap was the setting for the 50th Anniversary Reunion of the iconic IU Soul Revue, the brainchild of musical genius Dr. Portia K. Maultsby, launched on the Bloomington campus.
It was a coming together of dancers, singers, musicians, technicians and emcees from the early 70s. For me, it was an incredible opportunity to revive the male singing group THE LOVEMEN for a show-stopping, one night only performance.
On invitation from the Phoenix Theater, I collaborated with ingenious playwrights Latrice P. Young and Rain Wilson to write and produce DEMOCRACY HYPOCRISY: THE RED, WHITE, AND BLUES OF FREEDOM performed the weekend between Juneteenth and Independence Day.
On request of the Herron School of Arts, I wrote and produced the historical play, DECONSTRUCTION OF RECONSTRUCTION with Tijideen Rowley directing.
In 2022, I was blessed to publish my fourth book entitled, GOD SAID TELL YOU. My first book signings were during the Pentecostal Churches of the Apostolic Faith International Convocation in Palm Springs, CA, and the National Association of Black Journalists in Las Vegas. The book is a collection of scripture, prose, essays, quotations and anecdotes for spiritual uplift and encouragement.
My latest play A NOISE IN THE ATTIC was a highlight of OnyxFest 2022, the twelfth and most successful year of the state’s only theater festival for Black playwrights.
In 2022, I experienced my first full year on the Heartland Film Festival Board and as president of the Indianapolis Association of Black Journalists. And I was blessed to stage a free performance of my updated play, BEING BLACK at the Glen Theatre in G.I.
Finally, a highlight of not only the year for me but of my entire professional career was being selected to receive the Indiana University Media School 2022 Distinguished Alumni Award. It was a totally unexpected, humbling honor for which I was unaware that I was even being considered. The presentation at President’s Hall in Bloomington was one of those unforgettable moments of a lifetime.
The experience was sweetened by the presence of beloved family members, including wife Joyce and sister Jeanette, lifetime friends like Roosevelt Haywood III and Mark Powers, treasured alumni like Clarence Boone, Louise Goggans and Trustee Donna Spears, as well as respected IU colleagues like Leah McRath and IUPUI Vice Chancellor Amy Conrad Warner.
Whatever didn’t happen in 2022, I remain faithful that the Lord is still working out every need, and I claim the victory on those prayers within God’s perfect timing. As promised, I am using this space only to express gratitude for what God did in my life this year.
I encourage all of you to make your list and take it to the throne in humble submission, gratitude and appreciation of your blessings, His grace and His mercy. Thank You Jesus!
CIRCLE CITY CONNECTION by Vernon A. Williams is a series of essays on myriad topics that include social issues, human interest, entertainment and profiles of difference-makers who are forging change in a constantly evolving society. Williams is a 40-year veteran journalist based in Indianapolis, IN – commonly referred to as The Circle City. Send comments or questions to: [email protected]