Reflections on My Birthday – Saved by the Grace of God

It was the  1963, a year where my life would change completely.  Sitting in my music and arts class, I was learning about classical music and its origin. My teacher was fantastic. She drew me  into the world of the classics, and I fell in love with Beethoven and Handel.  She had just played the Moonlight Sonata when the news came on that fateful November day. John F. Kennedy had been shot!

The skies in Augusta, Georgia darkened; you  would have thought it was evening but it was not yet 2 PM.

1966,  as the call for integration rang loud in Augusta, Georgia, the cup  with the challenge stopped and  rested on my head. I will not say I was not afraid. The ugly head of hatred roared up against me and  fear of the unknown caused my heart to beat rapidly everyday for the first six weeks of school. Lonely and living without any acceptance of me as a person, one teacher reached out to me and opened my eyes to the world of Literature and my Pastor, John Paul Murphy, opened my eyes to the reality written in the Bible. Amazed by what I  had read, I received the strength to keep going, saved by the grace of God.

1967, It happened.  As the first Black American to graduate from George P. Butler High School, I took my Diploma in my hands and my  name was recorded in the history of the journals of Butler High, but that was only the beginning.

The way I have chosen has not always been easy. The cup that I drink from can sometime taste bittersweet.  I have made some dreadful mistakes, fallen flat on my face, and swallowed in the pits of doubt and despair, but I have discovered that is what life is all about.  People who are perfect may have everything but their lives are boring.  They hide behind a facade that makes them stiff, rigid and unbending, and sooner or later they  break.  I know; I tried to be one of those perfect people, and it did not work. The reality of the Bible is that God loves imperfect people.

Today I am very thankful that God is gracious and merciful. He allowed me to find him, as I laid there in my darkest pit, and the light of his grace shone upon me as I experienced his forgiveness.  Now I live, saved by the grace of God.

As I awoke at 2 AM this morning, I looked back and smiled.  God is faithful, you know. Today, I am living the dream, my dream,  moving in his divine purpose for my life.  The path is full of stumbling blocks and obstacles that I have to overcome, but I am never alone. I am still drinking out of the cup which challenges me to be all that I can be; the cup that dares me to reach out to people and love them.  Every morning I wake up to this reality, and I  make a conscious decision to reach out and touch others regardless of their birth, nationality, race or human condition.

I say all of this to express my joy that I have reached a new year.  I am one year older  today, and as Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote, moving towards the light of his countenance.

If it had not been for his saving grace, I would not be here today. I know that, and He does too.

I am excited about what my new year will bring, and I sincerely hope that you will stay with me and continue to accompany me as I moved forward to  conquer my new frontier.


Pat Garcia

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  1. What history has been recorded since you were born, Pat! Wow! I wonder what wonders lie ahead. Blessings and a delightful, carefree birthday to you, my friend. Ciao!

    • My Dear Jeanne,
      Thank you for your blessing. I receive it as a wonderful gift from God.
      Have a great week.

  2. A very happy birthday to you!
    May you continue to have much to smile about.

    • Hi,
      Thank you. I have learned so far that a silver lining is always hidden behind the dark clouds of life. The test of our courage is learning to hang in there until the clouds passed by. That is scary but the joy after the darkness bring smiles that brighten up not only our lives but the lives of others.

      Have a great week in School.

  3. Happy, happy Birthday, Patricia! What a joy it is to celebrate with you all that He has made you for and has planned for you yet! :)

    • My Dear Debbie,
      Thank you and may you have a great week.

  4. Catharine

    Really beautiful thoughts, Pat ;) More power to you!

    • My Dear Catharine,

      Thank you. I am thankful that God has renewed my mind. It is refreshing to wake up and look back and then look ahead and to realize you have been blessed.
      Take care of yourself and I hope you are taking it slowly as you deal with the loss of your father. You are in my prayers.

  5. Ann Biller

    I am so glad that you are living your dream and moving on toward your divine purpose in God’s plan for your life. I enjoy seeing what God has done to improve your work as an author and musician. I can’t wait until HE allows me to be at one of your concerts and read one of your PUBLISHED books. The time will come! Your life is a witness to many and I know God will bless you in the year ahead. May He Bless you richly in the years ahead.

    • My Dear Sister,

      What can I say? Thank you only expresses the minimal of what you and Garry mean to me. You are my sister and it is so reassuring to know that you are walking along beside me.
      I love you.

  6. That is wonderful that you were a part of history by walking across stage to accept your high school diploma! Your writing is beautiful. I like the way you describe August on “that day.” You feel like you’re there.
    I always found the late 1950s and ’60s intriguing. I believe there is more to be discovered. In my own research of the 1920s, it is amazing what people thought and concealed at the time.
    Happy birthday! ~ Rebecca

    • Hi Rebecca,

      Thank you for your good wishes. You’re so right. There is so much more to be discovered about those times.
      Have a blessed week.

  7. Laurie Smith

    Happy Birthday Patricia.

  8. What a wonderful testimony Patricia! May God bless and keep you in this new year and many more to come ;)

  9. You have been tagged in the blogathon and you can pick up the information if you choose at
    God bless you!!!!

    • Hi,

      Thank you so much for tagging me. I have accepted it but will not be able to pass it along wuickly due to just coming off of vacation and the tasks that I have to complete are over running in my inbox. I hope you understand. I will do it as soon as I can.

      God bless you and once again thanks.


      • I understand Patricia, God bless you!

      • Hi,
        Thank you so much. I am swamped in mails, not to include tasks that I have given my word to do or to complete. I watch over the words that I say, because my word is my bond of integrity.

        Love you and God bless.


  10. Happy belated birthday!

  11. Such a beautiful story, Patti. Like so many, in fact most, you have been through a lot. What a lovely post on your birthday. God is so full of mercy and grace. I often think how grateful I am because of Whose I am, not because of who I am. I grew up in the same turbulent time period as you, only I lived in New York. I remember the times well and am thankful for how far we have come as a nation and as individuals, all by the grace and love and mercy of our Great God! I did not know Him in a real and personal way during this time. It was not until I became a mother, that I began to seek Him with all my heart. Then, a miracle–on August 12, 1973 I invited Him into my heart and life. That was my second birthday, a day I will never forget… We all have a long way to go, but with His help, our journeys will help others to know Him, too! Sending late birthday wishes and lots of love, Bette

    • My Dear Bette,

      Thank you so much for your birthday wishes. My spirit rejoiced within because you are a fellow traveler who relates to what I wrote. Thank you once again and have a blessed weekend.

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