So after having a very close encounter with meningitis I was hospitalized the last week of June into the the 2nd week of July. I have been in recovery for the majority of the summer and I'm finally feeling like my old self again. I played my first show with the band this past friday August 1st and it was an absolute success. Going back to my illness though I have to say that after being sick and unable to tend to myself I am very grateful for my wife and my extended family that helped me through this tough time. Without them I wouldn't have been able to make it through. After reading about the affect meningitis had on other people I became very scared and very grateful for being alive. Meningitis has killed many people and left many others handicapped or severely disabled. All this has left me with such a grateful heart; even more so than before. So my message to all of you that read these things I post is be grateful for every second you have alive. Be grateful for the ability to use every part of your body with ease. I was unable to urinate for a while and let me tell you it SUCKED! I had a catheter for 2 weeks and it was the worst experience ever. Let's all stop complaining and start saying "thank you" to God for everything we have. Let's just stop complaining and start living each day with excellence. Love you all and I hope you all will love each other.
So I've been doing a lot of thinking these last couple of weeks because of so much that has been happening in my life and in the lives of my family. I truly am at a loss for words. I am so perplexed and completely elated by the complexity of God's plan and purpose. The things that I grew frustrated at was his instrument of choice in molding me into the man that he wanted me to be. YES it's completely a cliche to even say that but it's the only thing I could really say to express what's going on in my life now. I am completely frustrated at the record industry and consumers alike. There are soooooo many people that complain that there's no good music out there, people complain about the suffering that people endure in foreign countries, people complain about their jobs, and the bills that they have to pay because they chose to buy a really expensive item that isn't really necssary. But the fact is that: there is good music out there being written and performed every day. Independent artist like myself write songs almost everyday beacuse they want the world and all the people in it to have a voice. To be able to express the frustrations of the heart. Not just a good hook to sell records for a few minutes and then fall completely out of the picture as quickly as they appeared. There are ways that people can help but they choose not to... I'm tired of the comlaining and I'm tired of everyone sitting around doing nothing. Im going after "it"! will you join me? because the fact is that the things we will be honored for and remembered by is not really what we gain or acquire but how we serve others with the gifts that we have. Let's work at this together.
Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice. Like Slavery and Apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. YOU can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.” -Nelson Mandela
Such powerful words from a very humble, strong, and great man. It's so funny how we idolize these men from a distance, we read about them in our history books, and even pay homage to them when a day of memorial comes around. But when it comes time to living by their creed, or following their example, or even coming close to thinking like them we fall horribly short! WHY IS IT SO HARD TO JUST SAY: "SCREW THIS WORLD, SCREW SOCIETY SCREW EVERYONE THAT CLAIMS THAT THE IMPOSSIBLE IS UNATTAINABLE!!!!!"? why can't we just move forward with things that are complicated Things that are "above" us? Everyone seems like they just want to carry on with the status quo like if nothing is wrong. Like if millions of children all over the world aren't being violated, taken as slaves, murdered, raped, orphaned by monsters and governments that would use them to fill the lining of their pockets and self preservation!!! I am so sick and fed up with the monsters that live around us... I refuse to be subject to or influenced by their evil acts. I refuse to let the world around me tell me that I can't do something about it. If history has taught us anything, it has taught us that monsters and great injustices can be undone, broken, destroyed, obliterated by the strength and will of ONE man/woman i.e: Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Martin Luther, Rosa Parks, Abraham Lincoln, FDR, David son of Jesse, Jesus, Ghandi, etc... Do you need more examples!? I DON'T NEED ANYMORE EXAMPLES. This post is not just a post... IT'S AN ALARM! IT'S A CALL TO THE PEOPLE THAT WILL FORM THE GENERATION THAT WILL BRING ABOUT AN END TO POVERTY, INJUSTICE, SEX SLAVERY, ECONOMIC SLAVERY, AND EVERY INJUSTICE KNOWN TO MAN. We can't do them all at once but we can't take out their foundations one at a time. It only takes one person to rise, then another to support, then another to support that one, and so on and so forth. Will we be the next generation that our children will speak about? Where will the next Nelson Mandela come from? Who will be the next Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.? Who will stand with me? Holla back if you think it's you email@example.com www.heartsunitedfund.org #OVERCOMERS #EVILISDONE #INJUSTICEISNOMORE #WHOSNEXT?
Sometimes when we are approaching the threshold of a new thing in our lives we grow anxious or aprehensive about going past the threshold and through the door. It's like the people of Israel when they were about to cross the Jordan to get into the promised land. The scripture says that the Jordan swelled up and became fierce and the people became scared and even afraid to approach let alone cross the river. Think about this for a moment... all of their lives for hundreds of years all they ever heard growing up is that one day they would be led to the promised land and there they would prosper and become great. For centuries, generations came and went and no one ever witnessed the actual promised land until that moment. Could you imagine the suspense? could you picture the hearts of the all the people palpatating? Their breaths frozen in the moment, people remembering the stories their forefathers had spoken to them. Some in disbelief because they never actually thought they'd see it but there they stood at the cusp of what many of us hope to see in our life times... The beginning of something NEW. As I approach the day of the fund raiser I find myself battling anxiety and aprehension. Sometime wondering; is this really it? Should I just give up and let someone else do it? Should I forfeit what God created me to do and let someone else do it because it seems so difficult and impossible? My answer is an infatic and a resounding NO. I will not allow this "moment" to take the best of me. I refuse to let fear and aprehension hold me back from doing what God has created me to do. I will take a hold of this moment and trust that God has equipped me enough to do exactly what needs to be done and like the people of Israel I will cross the "Jordan" and take a hold of all of God's promises. I hope that you will all do the same.
That is the question? I think it's a little more than just that. I think the better question is: To serve or not to serve? Think about it... What is it that actually "separates us from the animals" besides an opposable thumb? It's our ability to extend ourselves to people who technically aren't our responsibility. I believe with all my heart that we have all been placed on the earth for a specific purpose. That we weren't put here just to be "up" on the latest trends, or spend our money on extravagant vacations, or buy every new gadget that it thrown out onto the market. Not that there's anything wrong with the previous things but if we spend our entire lives only looking forward to the next trend, or the next gadget, or the next "thing" then we'll miss out on one of the greatest experiences of any person's life. That experience is the experience of giving. Giving of yourself, not just money, but giving of your time to the service of someone other than "you". That for me, is the ultimate measure of humanity. When we take and make personal the example of Jesus and many great figures from humanities history; and choose to serve just as they did that's when things begin to change. That's when we as a people begin to grow and prosper... Unfortunately this type of prosperity isn't as coveted as it once was. The prosperity of the human spirit has been replaced with the shallow and reprehensible prosperity of the individual "wallet". People are more concerned with monetary gain that they are willing to completely disregard the suffering around them as long as their comfort is secure and their cash flow intact. I refuse to live this way, I am committed to using every fiber of my being and every ounce of talent to serving others around me. Help me to do that by supporting my art by purchasing my music, coming out to shows, spreading the word about what I'm doing with my charity and my music. Help me bring aid and education to under privileged communities. Thanks for reading
As we close 2013 and walk into 2014 I'd like to leave you all with a few thoughts: 1. Never waste time on regrets or failed goals they will only hold you back from creating new ones and conquering the things that lie ahead. 2. Don't let yourself hang onto an idea that isn't panning out because sometimes the very ideas we have are giving us a clue as to where we have to go and what we have to do. So pay attention to the responses that life gives you they speak volumes. 3. Always, ALWAYS, A..LLL...WW...AAA...YYYY...SSSS! take advantage of every opportunity you get to love and serve your family. As the seasons of our lives progress we all get older and as we get older we get closer to the moments that will be our last on earth. As we get closer to those try not to have any regrets with regard to family. Remember always that with money you can always make more of it, jobs will come and go even if it takes a while, friends and girlfriends you can always make new ones, but time you will never get back inlcuding the time we get to spend with our family. Happy new year I love you all and God bless us always.
Sincerely, Tony Max
Why is it so difficult for us to take the examples of the people around us and use their mistakes as our teachers. Instead of having to make those mistakes ourselves? I don't know if we will ever get away from this type of cycle but I'm getting so tired of seeing it play out in the lives of the people around me. It's so painful and difficult to accept. You try your hardest to advise your family in the way that they should go, you give them the formula to success, and you tell them about the things that they will approach that must be avoided. With the hope that they will follow the instructions and come out on top. Unfortunately that isn't reality. The reality is that they won't listen to you and they'll choose to do what will be detrimental to their future and gamble their youth. Throughout history that gamble has been made by the richest of the rich and the poorest of the poor and more often than not the gambler has lost. Lost the beauty of their childhood, the strength of their youth, and the potential of their adult life. The greatest pain I have is that my loved ones will not learn the lessons that I've learned in this life. Not learn that to serve someone is better than to be served by someone, not learn that to love someone means to say no to your desires and give room for theirs to grow and come to fruition. I miss the carefree days of my childhood but I am excited about the potential of my current days and the days that lie ahead. I hope that my children will learn from my errors and accept the formula I will share so that they can be greater men and women than their mother or I.
So today is a day of reflection for me... Actually if I am honest I have been reflecting for the last three years taking count of all my successes and failures. Fortunately, God's love and grace has stopped from going into a deep depression because the failures definitely out weigh the successes. But you know what I have just come to realize? That no matter how much I fail, no matter how bad things get, no matter what is falling apart around me I can always count on two things: 1. My God- He's always there, he's never left and he never will. His love sustains me, his grace covers me and gives me room to be imperfect while still expecting excellence. This fact about my God is such an encouragement for me and is a source of Joy for me on a daily basis. 2. My wife- She's always faithful! yes she does have "Girl" moments where, as a guy, I just want to jump off of a building to avoid hearing another syllable come out from the mouth of this angelic creature that is, in that moment, driving me to drink hahahaha. The fact is, I love my wife and she constantly serves as an encouragement and a support for me. She believes in me, my gifts, and my potential even when I don't believe in myself. As a man this is so important. To know that the woman I serve, love, care for, protect, and share my life with BELIEVES in me then it doesn't matter what is going on around me or what isn't working out I can go home and know that I am going into my refuge! A place where nothing can harm me because in my family, we look out for each other. I love that so much and it's something I pray that God would help me continue to maintain and keep me from ever betraying the love of my Gorgeous wife. There is something that I always tell my wife and I'll share it with you all... I'm going to the grave with you girl! It may sound morbid lol but it's not... I'm just reminding her of the promise I made to her 8 years ago on July 23rd, 2005... 'til death do us part.
Ok so this summer has been jam packed with so many different situations, highs, lows, nothing, everything, and just a big jambalaya of emotions. As a husband, father, son, brother, friend, and an artist I am faced with so many situations where I need to decide what it is, exactly, that I am going to do with the rest of my life. Am I going to continue to invest my time in my craft and try to make something out of what I have been given? or will I abandon ship and focus on something more lucrative that will give my family and I a definite future and impact us in a more positive way? The answers to these questions don't arrive easily because to abandon ship means to say that I never had an ability to do this and the message I give to my kids is when the situation gets rough just give up on your dreams and go for a sure thing... I don't want to teach my kids that. I want them to believe that with God all things are possible if you persevere and put in the work. When preparation meets opportunity that equals success... It's something that I heard Will Smith say and from the looks of things he is right. I won't give up on my dreams not just because I believe that I have a legitimate voice in the world of music... but because the one's closest to me believe that I do to. Sometimes all we need is someone to believe just a little bit with us in order to make a mountain move. I think the time has come for this decrepit mountain to get the heck out of my way and let my family take what rightfully belongs to us. The success that we need in order to help others that are struggling even more than we are. The times are dark, the days are grim, people are more faithless now than ever, love has become a four letter word with dollar signs attached to it, and lovers have become selfish and forgotten what it truly means to love and to be loved. So I believe that the time for Tony Max is now!
This is a call to all my Latino and African American brothers and sisters. I'm trying to find out when we, as a people and as a community, are going to stand up and stop letting our communities be taken from us because we are complacent and choose not to become involved in politics? I had a disturbing conversation on Sunday morning with a fellow Dominican. I told the gentleman, in jest, that it looked like our neighborhood was changing and his response to me was: "yes but it’s a good change because our neighborhood is getting "better." I always get very annoyed when I hear that but out of curiosity I asked him why and responded that Latinos and "blacks" always make a mess of things and cause trouble. Why is it that if white people move into a neighborhood it's getting better but if a neighborhood is filled with Latinos and African Americans it's a "bad" neighborhood? The man I was talking to went on to say that the Spanish and black folks always destroy and pollute but the "whites" build, clean, and make business better. Unfortunately, I can understand his reasoning. Let's face it folks our reputation is not great. We’ve allowed ourselves to be viewed as bacteria or a "corrosive substance", an element that is to be avoided, a sickness that people are trying to find a treatment for, a disease, and a plague that people avoid at all costs. I don't really know exactly when we went from law changing, dictator removing, and freedom fighting people. To complacent, free loading, lazy, unmotivated, and individuals who seek no better future. But one thing I do know is that we need to change. We need to start altering the way people look at us, tell our children to be great, teach our children that they are great, equip them emotionally and mentally for the future that they can grasp and make for themselves. Teach them that in God they can do all things. African American and Latino men need to educate their sons on how to love, how to serve, how to work, and how to think effectively. It's time to stop living a life filled with drama and start living our lives conscious of the effects of our actions and recognize that everything we do is under a "microscope" but welcome that challenge by doing everything excellently. If we as a people can educate our sons and daughters then our world, lives, communities, our schools, and our neighborhoods will reap the benefits of our hard work and commitment to excellence. This is a roll call for all minorities (majorities) to stand up and be accounted for let's stand and make a noise that will resound through the halls of our society's future. This is a roll call... I hope we can all answer it!