Catholic News writer, Renee Smith, sat down with first-time author, Jameke Brown who recently completed the deeply reflective book –A Life Worth Living
Who or what makes life worth living? Some say it’s family, their friends, their children or their career.
At 30 years old, Jameke Michael Brown says it’s God. Full stop. No second thoughts.
Reaching this point of conviction did not happen overnight. In fact, there was a time he doubted God.
Jameke was raised in Arima, Trinidad, in an extended household with his mom, grandparents and uncles. From the age of three, his father was physically out of the picture, living in the US but still in contact.
He attended Arima Boys’ RC and then St Mary’s College and for a long time Brown lived what we could call “a regular life” with an ordinary routine; going to school, back home, chores, hanging out with friends, but in 2007 his life flipped upside down. He had received news of his dad’s murder followed by the death of his beloved grandmother in 2008.
Both tragedies left him in deep-seated pain which he masked, using certain vices as distractions.
In 2010, he attended a Life in the Spirit seminar where the Holy Spirit touched him. He felt “joy, hope, peace and love in a way he has never felt before”.
“In that moment I knew this was a life worth living and it stayed with me ever since,” Brown said.
He told the Catholic News his book, A Life Worth Living is hinged on those tragedies and how he was able to find healing in Christ.
“I had not written about my loss before and in doing so, I had to relive the moments of finding out I lost my dad and then my grandmother who was terminally ill with cancer. The entire thing [writing journey] was a flurry of emotions, from sorrow to joy.”
Brown had initially found solace in journalling but often asked himself “Jameke, what you really doing? This writing thing really making sense?” which led to his journalling being on and off for some time.
“There was a point where I told God, I am just going to write and pour out my emotions into these pages and hopefully find healing. Through the writing, thankfully, healing came.”
He added that he was constantly guided by the Holy Spirit, using Bible scriptures which helped propel the writing process.
“I started writing what the scriptures were saying to me. While writing I felt He [God] started prompting me, saying, ‘Jameke this would not only please God but others as well’. This moment caused me to start putting real effort and prayer into writing a book.”
However, A Life Worth Living was not in Brown’s vision until 2017 after he went through some other life challenges which almost resulted in his losing hope and a sense of self.
“I cried out to God and not in a casual way. I called out to Him saying ‘Lord, You are my Father, I have no one else! You are my Father and my Friend. Show me that You are there!’ I had to aggressively do that and depend on Him as my Heavenly Father.
Investing in the book for the last three years, he also drew inspiration from authors like CS Lewis. One of his major concerns was whether he had written enough for it to be even called a book and was pleased when he finally came to place where what was written “was enough”.
Although Brown has always been open to sharing his testimony with others, he hopes that putting his words to paper will touch someone so they maintain an intimate relationship with God.
“If my book helped to touch the life of one person, I would be satisfied,” Brown commented.
Life worth living during a pandemic
To persons who have considered giving up as the world goes through a pandemic, Jameke says it is important to ask ourselves why God has allowed COVID-19.
“Is there any benefit to what is happening around us? Perhaps. Maybe God is trying to point each one of us to particular direction during this time. If I reflect on my own time during this COVID period…it was definitely tough and difficult. However, I started to look for opportunities within the inconveniences and ‘moments of suffering’”.
His book is targeted to young adults, 20 –30 years but also feels it can be a great teaching moment for any age.
There are seven chapters in A Life Worth Living with Chapter One titled, ‘Suffering’. It begins, “Why does God allow suffering?”
“I started the book with suffering because God had to bring me though those low moments. I think we should all view suffering not as an end in itself but as a tool of transformation for us to be the people we are meant to be.”
Noteworthy, is the third chapter called ‘Perspective’ (the longest chapter) where Brown reminds readers “our perspective is an eternal one not temporal”.
‘Purpose’ ends the book challenging readers to find their purpose in Christ.
“Knowing Him and making Him known is key. How do we do that with our lives? Our purpose transcends our day-to-day routines and careers for instance.”
Speaking on the book’s launch, due to the COVID-19 restrictions it has been solely social media-driven via his Instagram account @catholicfire_
To date he has sold close to 300 books. It is also available in paperback via Amazon and coming soon to Kindle.
Next steps for Jameke? While monitoring sales of A Life Worth Living, he continues as a Purchasing Manager at Massy Motors Ltd and is discerning his vocation as an aspirant for the Archdiocese of Port of Spain.