One is empty but two is where abundance is found. I’ve written about this copiously in the past; humans are meant to be with others and we do best when we are in community of neighbors. What is true on the macro level is truer yet when it comes to the individual. Cursed is the one who never finds companionship but blessed forever is the one who finds a union with another soul. This might seem outdated in a time where hookups are ubiquitous and where instant gratification seems to keep trumping sustained relationships, but those who are married will tell you nothing compares to the love that is found between two who share of each other through matrimony.
This is something that Professor Michael Eric Dyson and Minister Marcia Dyson know well—I have been a fan of both for quite some time as I used to watch them debate politics and discuss social trends on TV not too long ago. What I found fascinating about the Dysons is that both are such dynamic personalities who are no shrinking violets when it comes to matters of social justice. I was first made aware of Professor Michael Dyson almost two years ago when my friend Denise Calloway shared his book with me. A week later I was eating dinner with the same friend at a local restaurant in DC and in came Professor Dyson. Denise jumped to say hello to Professor Dyson as if she just saw the reincarnation of John Lennon.
But to my surprise, he actually came over to the table we were seating at and spoke to both of us at length. I did not detect a hint of hubris or elitism about Professor Dyson; instead I met a man who was utterly humble and gracious to his fans. First impressions were validated over the years as I realized that Professor Dyson truly cared about the very notions of justice he was always seeking. Let’s leave aside other pretenders who make a show of concern as they escape to their chalets in Harlem and the Hamptons—we will discuss charlatans another day. Professor Dyson is apart from those who leverage the pains of the people for self-enrichment; though he is by no means living a meager life, Professor Dyson is found frequently in the trenches fighting the good fight when the camera lights are nowhere to be found. Wish I could say this of others who make a TV out of injustice hunting.
Professor Dyson does not use injustice as a partisan cudgel; he Tavis Smiley and Professor Cornel West initiated a “Poverty Tour” during the Obama years and fearlessly spoke truth to power as they castigated Obama on frequent occasion for not doing enough to address the pernicious social disease of poverty and the hopelessness that comes with it. It takes courage to speak against “the first black president”; while endless so called “black leaders” were cheering on Obama, Professor Dyson kept holding POTUS’s feet to the fire and kept insisting that more be done for those who are the least among us. I actually arrived late to the party as I held on to my partisan loyalty for far too long and even once criticized Professor Dyson, Tavis Smiley and Professor West for daring to mildly criticize Barack Obama. I realize now that being a situational moralist when it comes to the pursuit of justice and letting ideology dictate our ethics is vacuous—let me take this occasion to actually apologize to Professor Dyson, Tavis Smiley and Professor West for my myopic criticism of their poverty tour.
But let me take a pause here in and acknowledge a significant presence in Professor Dyson’s life and someone who is just as accomplished and eloquent in her pursuits. Who I am alluding to is Minister Marcia Dyson who is equally yolked to the noble goal of an inclusive nation that takes care of all regardless of background and who speaks with passion about social justice. Marcia Dyson is fierce when it comes to her beliefs but applies the tender touch of a woman to those whom she disagrees with. If only more of us were like this; to believe in ideas, to debate with vigor but in the end extend grace to our most ardent detractors. In the years I have observed Marcia Dyson, I have yet to see her delve into the muck of attacking someone personally and using ad hominem to level others. Instead, Marcia Dyson engages in dialogue and keeps civility above all.
For a long time, I thought the ideal mate in a marriage was someone who is the opposite of us. I figured if someone is outgoing, perhaps she is best to find someone who is a bit more introverted. Likewise if a guy is a neat freak, perhaps it would serve well if he found a woman who was a bit less meticulous. Come to find out, life has no perfect answer nor is there such a thing as a perfect match. We live life through trial and error and in time we find perfected love by fire laden trials. I say this because Michael Eric Dyson and Marcia Dyson both seem to be type A personalities who are able to captivate a room when they enter a public space. Yet somehow they have found the understanding and patience to understand each other and to love each other apart from their public personalities. I have seen both of them argue with each other vigorously on TV; yet even through the debate you can see that love is the foundation of their marriage.
Professor Michael Dyson married Minister Marcia Dyson in 1992; sometimes the best things in life are found the second time around. There is a lesson in this too for Professor Dyson found his rock when he took a chance on love after his first marriage failed. Let me say here that I do not know the Dysons outside of the research that I conducted to write this article, the times I remember watching them on TV and the few times that Minster Marcia Dyson has engaged with me on Twitter about social trends. So I write this not as some sort of biographer but more as an observer. But I have observed enough married people over the years to understand that love can’t be faked and neither can marriage last more than 20 years based on a pretense.
While I don’t necessarily agree on everything with either Michael Eric or Marcia Dyson when it comes to political and social issues of the day, I have and continue to admire their tenacity and the fact that neither one is divisive when it comes to their beliefs even though we live in an utterly divisive time. But this is beyond just politics and social issues for this is an ode and a nod to their union and the fact that these two like minded intellectuals have found the space and capacity to love one another despite their out-sized personalities and the occasional political clash.
Let me add one last thing, it can be easy to mistake my stance against those who continue to acquire much at the cost of society as some type of wealthy envy or class warfare. Let me make this perfectly clear, or as crooked politicians say as a linguistic crutch, let me be clear, I do not in any way harbor any ill feelings towards those who have found fame and fortunes as long as they don’t do so on the backs of the masses. There is nothing wrong with finding abundance as long as it is done with a modicum of fairness. Even if some who are rich and famous decide to hoard their blessings for themselves, again that is their right. The only time I speak against those who have amassed much is when they keep amassing more by crippling the hopes and lives of others as they take. So when I occasionally write articles about the well known, it’s because I observe in them humility in spite of their prosperity.
The blessing is found when one meets the second and abundance is uncovered when we choose to take a chance on love. What the Dysons have found is a symbiosis between two vibrant and dynamic souls; they give each other the allowance to be themselves and to pursue their individual goals yet sustain their union through cohesion and understanding that marriage comes before passion—they have found synergy through matrimony. There is a lesson that can be found in the Dysons for all of us; we don’t have to give up our dreams and our hopes in order to find love. Love can coexist with passion when we find the one who understands us best.
The first is the preparation, the second the blessing. Where first departed, second stayed and added to one to form trinity.
If you liked this article and appreciate the foundation the Dysons have built together as they pursue justice individually, share this article on social media using #DysonSynergy
Check out one of my favorite books I read about Martin Luther King written by Professor Michael Eric Dyson titled “April 4, 1968: Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Death and How it Changed America” by clicking HERE or on the picture below.
Speaking of social justice and love, I bet the title will grab you at first but those who stay beyond the shock value of the title and actually hear the content of the message contained below in the video are profoundly moved by the message of the video below.
One last ode to LOVE
Originality and Love
We live in an age of instant gratification
Of feelings gained and attained instantaneously
Sans sacrifice and hard work
Technology has nullified love
The matters of the heart
Replaced by quickies and hookups
Affection downloaded by apps
Shopping for soulmates through swipes
How can we find quality relationship
When we are lost in quantity’s chase
The eyes more important than the heart
Superficial conquests masked as romance
What is missing in the process
As we search for love and the such
Is the originality humanity had once
Love that is worked for not given
Love is not about looks and lust
It’s about feeling and mutual trust
Love is hard work and greater rewards
It’s an investment based on interdependence
So what does it benefit you ladies
If a man gives you a big rock
If that same man is burying his stones
In another woman’s treasures
What is the better
Roses bought without a thought
Or a daisy plucked freely inspired by the moment
A ring made out of diamond
That signifies money and status
Or a ring made out of string
That is attached to the heart
Likewise for men what do we gain
By looking at curves and cosmetics
Skin deep always loses eventually to gravity
And the same way we chase looks
Thinking we can trade up
To attain a newer model
Will be the same way we are abandoned
When that model finds another financial pro-driver
It is best to reflect and find love
With originality instead of chasing quantity
Not too long ago
A friend from the past
Asked his girl to marry him
Then married her the same day
This is the originality that matters
Love that is thought out
Instead of love that is sought after
Love imitated is love mitigated
But love dashed with imagination
The type that restores innocence
Love that is patient and kind
Love that refuses to leave
Is the love that loves back
~ Excerpt from Serendipity’s Trace, a book of our common struggles and connective hopes. Click HERE to check out Serendipity’s Trace or find it on Amazon by searching for Teodrose Fikre.
Originally from Ethiopia with roots to Atse Tewodros II, Lij Teodrose is a former community organizer whose writing was incorporated into Barack Obama's South Carolina primary victory speech in 2008. He pivoted away from politics and decided to stand for collective justice after experiencing the reality of the forgotten masses. His writing defies conventional wisdom and challenges readers to look outside the constraints of labels and ideologies that serve to splinter the people. Lij Teodrose uses his pen to give a voice to the voiceless and to speak truth to power.
Latest posts by Lij Teodrose Fikremariam (see all)
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