Personal Essay

My roots go deep and broad like the oak. They ground me, strengthen me, feed me. Like an umbilical cord they bond me to those who came before; to my ancestors, my tribe, my clan, my Lord. They lead me to the womb of my being.

Dark, ephemeral, shrouded in the mists of time the ancient forest of my being lies waiting for my return. Soaring on the broad and beautiful back of my friend Owl, gifted with the wisdom and truth of ages past, I search. We dive and then the screech of recognition. The veil between worlds parts and my heart leaps at the sight of Home. The canopy of primordial yew and oak enlivened by the Tree of Life and the gifts of all who have glimpsed Her beauty greets me. The chatter of forest creatures housed in Her roots and branches reaches my ears like a long-lost song. I drink of the dew on Her leaves. I wrap myself in the comfort of Her bark. I am at peace. I am at home. I am at one. I AM ME!

I am compassionate, humble, loving, stubborn, an empath. I AM ME.

I was working in the testing center of a community college when a young man came in to take a placement test hoping to test out of having to take English 101. He had taken the test multiple times and failed to achieve his goal. He was near the end of what should have been his last semester and was desperate to try one more time to pass the test. At the time the school had implemented a $2 retake fee for anything after the second attempt. After hearing this, the young man was in a panic and crying, stating he didn’t have the money and really needed to take the test. In my compassion, I went through my pockets and told him I would pay for his test. I did not tell him it was the last $2 I had. I simply gave him the money for his test and moved on. He went to the cashier to pay. Every single one of my coworkers believed I had been duped and he was either buying alcohol or drugs (not sure what drugs $2 will get you). I told them I didn’t care. They were shocked when he came back to test! I could not stay in the room while he tested so I waited in the lobby. When he came out, he was grinning from ear to ear and jumping for joy that he had finally passed. He practically leapt into my arms enveloping me in a bear hug that seemed to last forever! I couldn’t help but be taken in by his joy. It only takes a few moments of compassion to give another person hope.

Compassion. I was raised to meet people where they are at the time I meet them. My mother instilled this into me from a very early age. This teaching along with my deep connection, my grounding to God and faith are the threads with which the tapestry of my humanity is woven. Compassion.

Hopes and dreams flit around me like fireflies. We play an endless game of catch and release that changes daily depending on my mood, desires, and energy level. And yet, there are those constants, those faithful fireflies that stay by my side on this journey through the forests of my life. These are my fervent prayers for peace and love and hope in an all too often peaceless, loveless, hopeless world surrounding me with their light. A light that illumines my path, my soul, my place in this sacred story of being.

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