There comes a time in every man or woman’s life when they can, should or must evaluate the value of their lives. The worth of our understanding, the years of knowledge and the satisfaction of accomplishment allows us To come to a point when the need to redirect ourselves towards our greater need becomes necessary.
It is a shallow existence that does not allow the legacy of all of these desires to cease to exist when we leave this mortal coil. Many of us find ourselves at a point in our lives when we can choose to retire to a life of leisure, content with the knowledge that we have worked hard and have a claim to personal time to enjoy those luxuries that a life of commitment has brought. Rest, golf, precious family moments are these not things that we deserve? Is it too much to want such valued expressions of self-worth. Surely, these small and important human desires of reward for a life well lived should and can be accommodated …..but, is that all there is.
The need to give back, the God-like nature to help others, the need to impart knowledge to those in darkness and many other factors compel us to, at one time or other look towards the charitable giving of our time, monies or knowledge to others.
My father was a Pentecostal minister, my mother a missionary and my sister a bishop. These choices should have been an indicator to me of this greater purpose. These examples of dedication to service and self-sacrifice led me to believe their worth. And yet, the first chance I had, I grabbed my guitar and walked out the door to seek my fortune like many other prodigal sons.
As I reflect back on my life, I chose to become a musician. To that end I have traveled the world many times over. I have performed in small after-hour joints and to crowds of 200 thousand. I have been in the presence of musical royalty and have left my names in the ledger of history. To the honor of my parents- my name, reputation and marriage have been left untainted after all these years. For all of these things I am grateful. And yet, is that all there is?
My wife Robin has always kicked me out of the house. I don’t mean this in a bad way. What I mean is that whenever I finish a tour, or am home for a long length of time she challenges me with…”have you nothing better to do with your life”. She once recommended that I go to Puerto Rico, to check out the music scene while visiting my relatives. With the advent of MTV Latino I thought that was a good idea. While there I helped establish the National Rock Movement Of Puerto Rico. Another time she suggested I join the National Academy Of Recording Arts and Sciences better known as -“The Grammys” Organization. I not only joined it, I became their first Latino Governor, National Vice-Chairman of the board of Trustees and finally President of the New York chapter. In 2006 I was asked to give master classes on guitar at a local university, Stevens Institute of Technology. Soon after that I was asked to teach full-time for their College Of Arts And Letters. With the blessings of my wife and daughter I embarked into a new field of expression, in a new pursuit of the passion that drives me further and further…education.
I am presently still doing recordings, I await another gold CD for my work with Alicia Keys on “The Elements of Freedom” as well as looking forward to the release of her New upcoming CD…..but I find my greater worth, in education. I teach advanced guitar technique at Stevens, I am the Director of their music performance dept., as well as continuing my research as the Director of the Sound Synthesis Research Center.
I think I have found the value of my worth, it is in the service of others. It seems my parents were right. There seems to be some greater value to what you can give back than to what you can take.
So to all my friends and fans, enjoy yourselves, love one another and remember to ask yourselves ” yes,…. But is that all there is”?