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!
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.