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"I had dreams that my name was in lights."

- Atiba



.. about my dad …

Moving toward the light

Not sure if the red dirt that can be found along many backroads of the Alabama South or if it was abundant opportunities in the Midwest during the 1970s, or even whether the golden beaches along the coast of California took the most root, but when Atiba arrived back in the South byway of Georgia after more than twenty years had passed, everyone could easily see that his true nature was fully defined not only by the heels of self-confidence that helped carry him away, but by the highest power that only a spiritual faith can provide.

Revelation in plain view

As if I hadn’t met him before, I recall truly seeing Atiba for the first time on two occasions.  I don’t mean in the physical sense for I’ve known him all my life, but more so in the sense of meeting his soul.  One time, in particular, that I recall is vivid in memory – the day I needed my dad the most.  I hung my head on his shoulder because the fever seemed to destroy my mobility.  From the car to the steps of the hospital, Atiba held my back firmly while he kneaded my emotions with words and the strength of his embrace.  His long stride and the sway of his walk remained focused on efforts to settle my thoughts.  Soon my every breath connected with his and the ill feelings seemed to move in the distance as my entire being found rest upon his soul.  It was then that I came to know his grace.  After a week-long hospital stay, I became well again and quickly consumed myself with what matters most to little girls, dolls and friends.

The next time I witnessed the aspiration of my father’s soul. It was on a warm day in Michigan over one weekend. I was a teenager enjoying time away from school.  Atiba arrived at the home I lived with my mother around noon with arms held tight full of surprise. He eagerly asserted his approach in the path from the front entrance to our living room. There was no doubt about his abundant excitement as he struggled to hold the load of books that he carried. After clearer observation, I could glean the scope and diversity of the books he held. Then, I realized that standing before me was a dimension of Atiba that I hadn’t met before. Certainly prior to that day, I had seen my dad take immense pride in learning new professional skills and creative expressions. He often had a book or magazine by his chair when I was growing up. In fact, many times he recited long poems, and acted out scenes from varied scripts. As an actor and director of thought provoking plays, I saw Atiba direct others to use theater and dance to bring human consciousness to the forefront for a deeper purpose. From an early age, I recall Atiba working very hard to encourage others to use knowledge as an extension of self-worth for community building and greater awareness. This time, however, was different. I saw my dad unafraid of where he was and where he wanted to go intellectually. In plain view, for the first time, I saw my dad expose his biggest challenge of not knowing how to read at the level his mind drove him. I witnessed the pleasure in his eyes for the work required for him to gain the level of intellectual articulation he desired. Most people never knew that my dad had achieved only a 4th grade education. In fact, I had not known. Though at that time Atiba lacked an expanded vocabulary, never did he allow that fact to stall his desire to live life purposefully. Atiba had longed to reflect the depth of his thoughts, which have always been wide and far reaching. That day, I met his aspirational soul -eager to finally create the path to not only absorb knowledge, but to continue his journey of pulling his most inner-self forward.

Living within a higher Power

Today, Atiba lives consciously and beholden to greater purpose -attesting that his life has always been in pursuit of more than any stories that might have been told along the peripheral.  Getting to know Atiba; he is calm within the grace of God and warmed by the love he receives.  Up close it’s apparent that Atiba is at peace with the past, focused even more on that which binds his soul – the blessings offered by each day.