I wrote this piece as my high school graduation speech (yeah Link School grads, 2010!! All three of us!). Each of us wrote a piece with the theme “I was, but now I am….” as a way to highlight the personal growth and transformation that had occurred for each of us over the course of the year. It was a beautiful graduation ceremony that we planned ourselves. Picture this: the ceremony is held on the Link lawn overlooking the valley and the town of Buena Vista, CO; the Collegiate Peaks and Five Fingers rise, primal and mothering, behind us; twinkling strings of patio lights illuminate the May evening; our family and friends from all over town, the state, the country smile at the three of us, water sparkling in more than a few eyes; the three of us grads hold hands in our pine green graduation robes, and walk to the indie hit “New Slang” by The Shins instead of the traditional “Pomp and Circumstance”; we’re barefoot, and very happy, proud of how far we’ve come together.
I Was, But Now I Am
I tried to love the imperfect self. Make it better. Sell it to the world: Myself– New and Improved! You’ll love it! Inherently flawed and perpetually “almost there”. Like an old automobile, I souped myself up. New parts, new brands, new oil, new coats of paint. I worked fast but couldn’t cover the rust. I was working with used parts, broken parts.
I was searching.
Then my automobile self wrecked; glare on the windshield, excesses, the vehicle itself a danger. Loving hands came to my side and chiseled off my shoddy pieces. These hands took my hands and showed me how to free my trapped body. The grime caked off like false skin. A new layer underneath, light, clean. The hands were rough but precise; the false pieces that didn’t fall away, I was holding in frozen claws, clutching the dead weight with desperate ignorance. What I held got heavier, biting my grip, forcing me to let go.
Writhing from the mess, an arm appears. Then a leg.
Foreign junk trails behind the path of this newborn like the remnants of a metal shell.
I was encumbered.
Now I am free.
Light emitting light. The dawn breaks with confidence and I am there to watch it, both from above and below, in a place I never left and can never leave.
I am found.
I have been secured by hands bigger than my own. I walk strong. I walk on.
Oh Amazing Grace, I was blind but now I see.