Even at the ripe old age of 55, I’ve not yet accomplished all that I hope to accomplish in life. I still have obstacles that I wish overcome and goals that I aim to attain; a mountain of education to climb; a valley of physical improvements to traverse; an ocean of spiritual maturity to cross, and although I’ve reached a chronological age somewhere past “middle”, I keep pushing; pressing my way through; forging my way on, because I know for a fact that it is never too late. I know this because I have a role model who has shown me that it is possible; that all things are possible if you just believe; believe in God and believe in yourself.
The following essay is written by “MY INSPIRATION” and Mom.
“It has been said that, ‘Freedom is an attitude of mind and heart that frees the soul to soar.’ A caged bird may be limited in where it can fly and what it can see, but it has the spirit to soar freely as it sings its sweet song. In its spirit, all physical limitations are overcome and its true nature springs forth untethered by constraints.
I graduated from T.V. McCoo High School in Eufaula, Alabama. This school was formerly known as Van Buren High School. The year was 1958; four years after “Brown versus The Board of Education”. The Supreme Court decision was popularly known as “Separate but Equal”. The System’s solution was a new, “Separate but Equal”, black high school. The school was built and completed in the middle of my Senior year. We had been set free! For me, this was a year of great revelation.
My class was the first graduating class from a school named after a black doctor. I was voted Miss Senior and rode in the town’s parade. I also performed an oration, (even though I was frightened to death). In the spring of that year, I graduated from a new high school but not without personal setbacks. My maternal grandmother’s demise was right around that time. In spite of this tragedy, this new God given opportunity had set me free. I truly believed that this new environment was going to set my spirit free to soar beyond boundaries and appearances; to step out on faith and do what God had created me to do.
My vision would one day be realized but not without trials. First, I had to have faith and believe that; “Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And all of us….seeing the Glory of The Lord…is being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.” -2 Corinthians 3:17-18. Due to financial conditions, I was unable to begin my academic flight immediately; there were detours along the way.
Within the unfolding story of my life, I created a family. So from the first flowering blossom to the last; from one side of the room to the other; from one end of the country to the opposite end, there was always God’s presence, teaching me and guiding me in the care of my family. My children grew up and created families of their own. This created the freedom for me to soar. “Finally” I thought, “I can sing and soar freely; exploring the limits of the skies of my ambitions.
For a moment, I imagined that I was a time traveler; traveling back through the centuries until I was side-by-side with Michelangelo as he turned a block of stone into something magnificent; chipping away– never giving up until a masterpiece emerged. My aspiration was to get a college education and that’s was what I was going to do, regardless of how long it took.
Upon entering college, I realized how woefully unprepared I was. I was lacking the proper educational tools, and background to compete with the younger generation. I was a generation behind; “Separate but Equal” had failed me. But like Michelangelo, I did not give up. I worked on my own stone. I worked to create something magnificent to me; my masterpiece, for God had given me the ability to create. It was not a Michelangelo, but something as simple as helping a child to learn his multiplication tables was equally awesome.
So, after many, many years and despite my lack of the proper tools; like knowing how to use a card catalogue, or how to operate a computer; I received a degree in Professional Studies and a Master’s in Education. I taught school for twenty years and have been retired for ten. I am free! I did as the caged bird had done; I broke free and I soared. I no longer allow doubts and obstructions to keep my blessings from me.
To my children and grandchildren I say, “Soar as high as you can soar. Chip away at your stone, just as Michelangelo chipped away at his; create something magnificent and then sing your sweet song.” The sky is the limit.