“Invest in the human soul. Who knows, it might be a diamond in the rough.”
Mary McLeod Bethune
This was the lesson that I was taught as a child. Perhaps it was not stated in those exact words, but the message was clear. There are no disposable people. You don’t give up on another. Every person has come to this world with a purpose, every person’s life has meaning, and if you invest in the human soul, there is no telling what will happen.
I remember coming home after taking an exam that I believed would dictate the course of my future success. I had just graduated from college and was “figuring out” my next step. As I sat in that cold classroom, looking down at the exam booklet on one side and the answer sheet with all those bubbles- a,b,c,d- on the other, I thought to myself, what the hell am I doing. I could not breath. Without thinking about the repercussions, I got up in the middle of the exam and left the room without finishing it. I had never done anything like that before in my life. We were always taught to finish what we start and while doing so, give it our all. Since I was living with my parents at the time and they were essentially supporting me, going home meant having to see the disappointment in their faces as I told them what I chose to do that Saturday afternoon. So I sat in my car for about the length of the exam and just cried. Feeling like a failure, not knowing what to do next, thinking I was going to be “that” daughter. The one that they never really talked about because they would not know what to say. Eventually, I started the engine and drove home for what seemed like an eternity. It was still early as these kinds of exams start at an ungodly hour. My mother was still in bed. I went into her room, sat on the floor in the corner, and let the tears flow once again as I begged her for forgiveness knowing that I let her down. What she said next, has left an impression on my life like no other. She said to me “my baby girl, there is nothing that you can do in this life that would cause me to love you any less. While the love I have for you is so immense, can you even imagine the unconditional love of God. You, my daughter, will be more than ok as long as you remember that.”
Something in both of us changed that day. She reminded me who I was. She reminded me to keep my head up and not let my beautiful tiara, that invisible crown, fall. She reminded me that there within me, resides so much potential because of the loving God who created me. And with those words, she reminded herself as well. A morning that could have gone either way. It could have left me feeling hopeless, instead she saw the diamond in the rough, told me that I was loved unconditionally and gave me hope. While I did eventually move out of my parent’s home and made a life for myself, I even took that exam again, everything that I have done from that day since, everything that I do, say, touch, has reminded me that the most important thing I can ever do is to invest in the many human souls that cross my path and remind them of their incredible potential. Especially if they are vulnerable and cannot see a way out, that is my opportunity to let them know that they are loved unconditionally.
*Inspiring hope and empowering generations!