I was in the midst of reading an Op-Ed piece in The New York Times regarding The Seed Public Charter School in Baltimore. This is the second of its kind and interestingly enough, I volunteered at the first one in DC when I was an Americorps volunteer. In the middle of reading it I was overcome with emotion–it was gratitude, mixed with sorry and a sense of urgency.
Having lived in Baltimore during my graduate school years ( I just graduated, it wasn’t a long time ago), I know the need that is in the city and the possibilities that are there as well. So, I was struck at the idea of only 80 slots being available for the numerous amount of children who all deserve a good education in that city. Thomas Friedman, who wrote the piece, illustrated the desperation of parents, some of who could not read and write themselves, wanting the best for their children. I was overcome with that emotion I described earlier because I have witnessed that desperation and but for the grace of God… I am here, graduated with a professional degree.
I proceeded to send the piece to my email and made the attempt to email everyone in my address book– friends, former friends and acquaintances about this new found epiphany of inner gratitude and that I was sorry for the things that I did in my life that I might have caused harm to them and so forth. Then, I stopped myself because I came to the realization that the forgiveness doesn’t lie within those people, the forgiveness lies within myself. The relationship that I must nurture is the relationship with me, and in so doing will nurture the relationship with God. For me, my relationship with myself is not separate from my relationship with God…in acknowledging Her, I am acknowledging myself. So, the power of forgiveness lies within me.
So, how does this connect with the Op-Ed piece? Well, I understand the power of opportunity, my life has been a complex one and could have ended up in various ways. However, I am here on the verge of something great within me. I say this not out of arrogance but with the utmost humility. I have been afraid of this gift, afraid that I was not worthy of it because of my background, just like the ones of the some of the kids described in the Op-Ed piece. I acknowledge now that I am worthy, not in spite of or because of my background but because, just because– I am worthy.