Wednesday, October 01, 2008

I think an angel just walked into my office. A messenger from God.

Let me start at the beginning. I woke up this morning after falling asleep on my couch again, even though my bed was nice and inviting with new sheets and unobstructed by piles of clothing. I was glad to wake up early so that I would have time to thoroughly prepare for my day. I took a moment to look out the window and marvel at the newness of the day, observing the lateness in the sun's rising and the chill in the air. Fall is here. I turned on NPR and laid out and ironed my clothes for the day, rather than grabbing them off the hanger and rushing to put them on. I even picked out what accessories I'd wear and laid them to the side, settling on a vintage pair of earrings my mother gave me. They fit my style perfectly. I showered, did my hair, dressed and prepared food to take to work. I left the house feeling very well put together.

I walked into the building smiling and greeting everyone as they milled about attending to their tasks. Listening to my heels click down the hall, I sensed that it would be a good and productive day. I opened up the office and got right down to work.

After a couple of hours, this older gentleman walked into the office. A slender, older white guy- probably late 60's. He told me that he used to live across the street many many years ago, and used to go here when the building was still a school. This intrigued me, because many times I have walked these halls wondering just what it was like when it was full of students. He had a meeting with someone in the building, but was a week early (much to my amusement), so decided to stop in and see what the League was up to. I began to talk to him about what it is we do, the programs we're currently offering, etc. I didn't know what he really wanted, but I was glad that he expressed interest in the organization that I work for.

We began talking and I found out that he moved back to town after living in New Jersey. He explained how he worked in social services for years, doing everything from administrative work, to directing, and eventually becoming an independent consultant. Indeed a man after my own heart. He was very personable, yet non-intrusive, and something about this man allowed me to talk to him as if he was maybe one of my grandparents' friends. Someone who I didn't necessarily know, but who was not a total stranger. Turns out we have a lot in common. We were both first-generation college students, studied Sociology, worked in social service, and have similar values.

This older white man and young black woman sat down and barriers of race, class, status, and age fell away and we became two like-minded individuals. Individuals walking along the same continuum at different points. He marveled at how my eyes lit up as I talked about my goals and aspirations, and my love for what I do. I sat silent and observant as he discussed his experiences, perspectives, and his own personal journey. A conversation that started formally shifted to talk in a native language that only the likes of us recognize. A mother tongue conceived by and passed down directly from our Creator. We understood and identified with each other in a manner in which most people from completely different walks of life do not. It was a spiritual and humbling experience. Moments such as this one confirm the purpose and destiny that I aspire to fulfill, and for that I am most grateful.