Washington Media Pioneers saw a” Dream Deferred” as a “test” for #HealingAmerica. It would require an alternative vision of America’s future. Stephanie called on a few friends in the profession to “be the ones we’ve waited for. Photo (c) 1991 Marvin T. Jones & Associates.
By Stephanie A. Walker Stradford and Eric Stradford, U.S. Marine Corps, Retired
AMWS, February 23, 2016, Atlanta – Stephanie A. Walker Stradford, Chair, Board of Directors, Youth Achievers USA Institute, awakened from a peaceful night sleep in her own bed to report from her own perspective, her status and experience with a recent medical diagnosis.
“I’m blessed,” she declared. “Praising God for the test-i-mony.” The “assumption of power” clause in her corporate by-laws, legally invoked prior to XI DAVINCI ROBOTIC surgery, has been rescinded. Now, whatever you’ve heard about “cancer,” chances are you won’t see it or even believe in it until (a) it makes you feel different, or (b) somebody you trust says you have it. It’s like one in 2.1 billion Christians on Earth explaining Jesus to a dead guy. You’ve got to hear the story more than once.
Since, trust is so hard to come by, many historically disadvantaged Americans rely on their faith that “this too shall pass.” With ObamaCare firmly entrenched into laws of the land, more and more cancer patients are confronting bad news with proactive Psalms. It seems, the more believers share their personal story, fewer unbelievers walk around feeling hopeless about their circumstances.
On the 6 am prayer call, Stephanie shared in morning meditation with believers and bedazzled that which only they could appreciate. Pastor Kenneth E. Marcus, Senior Pastor, Cathedral of Turner Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church, Marietta, GA convenes the Lenten Season morning devotions as daily, proactive treatment for healing sick folk. (6:00 am EST Mon – Sat. 1-712-432-3900 - Access Code: 586149#)
For Stephanie, a late evening call from “her pastor” could have been Dr. Marcus, or it might have been The Reverend William “Rick” Henley, Senior Pastor of the Beulah Baptist Church, Philadelphia, PA. Stephanie’s 102 year old grandmother, Laurena Puriefoy Walker and her husband Deacon J. D. Walker, invested spiritual value in Henley’s West Philadelphia congregation since 1926. The investment continues to net returns for Stephanie as one of their own.
At one point, friends like Janice Rubin, Philadelphia High School for Girls, trekked Jewish Prayers from somewhere between California and Miami Beach, FL just to make sure both Old and New Testament beliefs were still in sync. And, of course there’s the YouthUSA Corporate Village, bound by the alternate reality, “I believe I can achieve whatever I believe I can achieve.”
One might perceive a Facebook text from Penelope “Penny” Vails-Williams to be her late brother, Stellar Gospel Recording Artist Reverend Dr. Donald Vails “channeling” positive energy to a sick friend. In Texas, Pastor Evangelist Linda Holliday, wife of Matlock Actor Kene Holliday texted reports from the “War Room” that prayer changes things—fervent, effectual prayer of few righteous friends changes things big-time. Geographically miles apart, but in the same War Room, if you believe in a strong offensive strategy, The Reverend Dr. Cecelia Williams Bryant is “in pursuit of the authentic MANIFESTATION of the power of GOD in the earth realm.” Fellow NBC Media Pioneer, Reverend Aisha Karima weighed in from Washington, DC, “still prayin.” Rev. Dr. Debyii Sababu-Thomas, no stranger to barefoot benedictions, brought closure with a pinch of emotion, “We love you.”
Dr. Joel Freeman, co-author, Return To Glory, Powerful Stirring of the Black Race, is almost always a heartbeat from the healing. Our mutual friend John Phillip Sousa, IV, great grandson of the renowned conductor of the U.S. Marine Band reminds believers of the importance of a cadence. Whether you get it from a drumline or an EKG, where words fail, music speaks.
Depending on that which you choose to believe, Stephanie’s “cancer” is a perception of reality with an undetermined outcome. Dr. Jeffrey S. Cohen is awaiting lab reports as a follow-up to Friday afternoon’s surgical procedure. For the Thomas type of believer, the evidence may be more complex than you are ready, willing and able to receive. The prescription may be even tougher to swallow.
The testimony usually starts with a test. Stephanie’s “test-i-mony” started with a diagnosis or professional medical opinion of Dr. C. Gregory Nesmith, Atlanta Gastroenterology. He took pictures—digital images, printed some copies, and suggested surgery to remove a malignant polyp in a section of her colon. The surgery was delayed due to back-to-back abnormal EKG tests.
Along the way Stephanie’s Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Stanley Dysart, injected prayer along with a double shot of Cortizone. Chiropractor Dr. Patricia Cohen, no relation to Jeffrey, applied a holistic hug. After consultations, examinations and more tests with primary care physician Dr. Suzanne Starke, and Cardiologist Dr. Ayushi Ahuja, Stephanie’s “test-i-mony” had rallied a whole village of medical professionals, engaging them in an evolving story about faith and works.
The patient met with her surgical team to pray for them individually and collectively. She took a praise pill to relax herself, and quietly headed for the operating room. Dr. Cohen’s team powered up the XI DAVINCI at Northside Hospital, Cherokee, GA for a ROBOTIC LAPAROSCOPIC LEFT COLECTOMY WITH SPLENIC FLECTURE MOBILIZATION. “Can I watch?” asked the official care partner. “No. They won’t let us do that,” Dr. Cohen replied.
At that moment, all of a 400 year historically disadvantaged gulf of mistrust came down to the pronoun, “they.” There was little comfort from healers and holy rollers that met a cadence set some two thousand years ago. John 11:4 - But when Jesus heard about it he said, “The purpose of his illness is not death, but for the glory of God. I, the Son of God, will receive glory from this situation.”
In John 11:43 - Jesus shouted a prescription for raising dead folk, “Lazarus, come out!” Then later in John 14:13 - Jesus empowered believers for generations to come with promise and provision for making things happen. “You can ask him for anything, using my name, and I will do it, for this will bring praise to the Father because of what I, the Son, will do for you.”
Dr. Sharon Davis Williams, a close friend and prayer partner shared a word about “Fervent” at a private birthday brunch just days before Stephanie’s surgery. Her text messages during the hospital stay ministered healing through the simple word, “walk.” Dr. Williams was headed out for a long walk as part of her own healing process. As new “walking partners,” Stephanie saw that maybe this sister gets it.
Stephanie dumped part of her prayer list on Sharon as a demonstration of how the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution might work in a “more perfect union.” In a memo on “Heavy Lifting,” Stephanie shared with Dr. Williams the Money-n-the-Bank goals of some fifty YouthUSA Beneficiaries of diverse beliefs. Collectively, they share a corporate statement of faith, “I believe I can achieve whatever I believe I can achieve. Individually, they represent substance of hope for #HealingAmerica.
Some of the people in this “test-i-mony” or, if you prefer, “cancer” watch things happen. They are 49% of the folks you meet. Another 49% are still wondering what’s happening. They are waiting on the lab to confirm that the best is yet to come. Then there’s the 2%, those on the prayer team, the medical team, the ministries of learning and earning. They MAKE THINGS HAPPEN.
Stephanie’s beloved “Two Percenters” are uniquely endowed to write the vision for an “IN GOD WE TRUST” constituency. But, to achieve that which they individually and collectively believe, they’ll need more trust than most political candidates and religious leaders have been ready, willing and able to invest.
Tuesday, February 23, 2016
Whose report will you believe?