I got caught in the rain on my run today. I was soaked, it was the kind of storm where I was hoping a car would stop and offer to give me a ride home but no one did so all I could do was keep running. When I got home I took a hot shower and got dressed to drive to Septima Clark Academy to tutor Kelvin as part of my “field experience” hours for graduate school. It was still raining when I left the house and I thought about calling the school to cancel my appointment. But I couldn’t do it, so I got in my car and drove through the wind and the rain. Have I mentioned before that I don’t even want to be a teacher?
Kelvin was quiet and unresponsive and barely looked me in the eye when I arrived. Once we got going, he started to warm up and I felt like my time was worthwhile. We finished early and the guidance counselor told me there was an assembly going on and did I want to walk over with her? She said the Charleston Symphony Orchestra was playing in the gym and Jonathan Green was speaking to the students. You have to imagine where I was at this moment, this is a sad looking school, a public school for troubled kids out in the middle of nowhere and Jonathan Green is one of the Lowcountry’s most famous artists and he was here, at this school? We rushed to the assembly (gymnasium).
Jonathan Green had just started taking questions from the crowd of high schoolers, teachers and some parents, the counselor and I had missed most of the program and all of the music. Here is where the story gets good…Jonathan Green was talking about his painting called, Seeking.
He explained that there is a coming of age ritual from the Gullah culture where a child of about 12 years old goes out into the woods to await a spiritual calling, they are “Seeking.” He answered a few more questions and then he looked at me, I swear, people standing next to me and looked at me as if to say, “who are you?” and he told me three things: he said we must discover our passion, we must make it happen and our lives will be richer. It was like I was stuck by lightning, he was looking right at me and tears filled up my eyes and a knot formed in my throat. I am going to make it happen.