When OPPORTUNITY presented itself as my OneWord for 2019, I resisted receiving it. In my mind, although I didn’t fully admit this to myself, OPPORTUNITY was a euphemism for “challenge”. I thought it would mean, the year would be filled with challenges that I would have to see as “opportunities”.
It would not turn out to be that way at all. Yes, there were some challenges as is normal for being a human on this planet. But all in all, 2019 has brought OPPORTUNITY after OPPORTUNITY that I could not have anticipated, no matter how great my imagination.
In this first quarter of the year, an OPPORTUNITY came for me to participate in a pilgrimage to Montgomery, Alabama. On this trip, we visited numerous sites connected to America’s very troubled history around race and racism.
The trip included stops at The Legacy Museum and The National Memorial for Peace and Justice (aka The Lynching Memorial). Both are projects of Bryan Stevenson and the Equal Justice Initiative. The aim is to force a remembering and a reckoning of the atrocities committed in this country to black people by largely white people.
During this trip, I also had the OPPORTUNITY to walk across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, the brutal site of Bloody Sunday during the Civil Rights Era. It was both painful and inspiring to hear a firsthand account of that awful day.
This entire trip was eye-opening and, as a black woman, also anger-inducing. Yet it also filled me with a great deal of pride at being black. You can see pictures from my trip over on Facebook (it’s a public post so you can see it even if you don’t have a Facebook account).
The trip planted a seed that would lead to another unexpected OPPORTUNITY. This time to co-facilitate a small group training around anti-racism. This work is through the lens of faith and spirituality, specifically the Episcopal tradition.
Sacred Ground is part of The Episcopal Church’s commitment to becoming The Beloved Community, by taking an honest look at this country’s history with race.
It offers a comprehensive look at the Native American, Latina, Asian and Black experience in America. It invites us to think about how our faith invites us not to look away or spiritually by-pass but rather to look head-on and respond.
We piloted the first group over the summer and are in the process of leading two other groups through this work. It has been a beautiful, often hard experience and it is also been deeply fulfilling.
This brings me to another OPPORTUNITY that I took advantage of this year. I’ve been attending an Episcopal Church for five years now. Talk about an unexpected journey.
If I had known what I would go through, I might never have walked into Christ Episcopal Church back in 2014. I would spend three years having my faith unravel in every way possible. The deconstruction of the foundation on which I had built my ENTIRE life was very, very, very painful.
During that time, The Episcopal Church provided a safe place for me to land as I processed it all. Over the last couple of years, my faith has been reconstructed on, in my opinion, a much stronger foundation. My gratitude is immense for the people who walked with me during those five years.
In May of this year, I decided to become a confirmed member of The Episcopal Church. It’s a big change from the Christian traditions I have been a part of in the past. But The Episcopal Church helped me reimagine my connection to the Divine and breathed new life into my spirituality.
EXPLORING NEW PATHS
At the beginning of the summer, I started to accept that I had lost my mojo around my business. I was living somewhere that I did not love, which slowly robbed me of my joy and creativity.
There were other factors at play and eventually I realized I no longer had that thing needed to make my business sustainable. And my bank account was telling me I had to do something. So, I began to explore other OPPORTUNITIES out there.
Over the summer I interviewed at a few places and made it to the top tier in several of them. One of those would have meant a drastic location change but ultimately, I landed on an OPPORTUNITY here in Charlotte to do work that I love.
In September, I said yes to the OPPORTUNITY of becoming a Development Coach for AvidXchange. AvidXchange is a software company that has chosen to invest in their people by providing coaching at the individual contributor level, not simply the senior leadership level.
It’s a brand-new program and there is potential for me to be a part of shaping what this program will become. It’s both exciting and also filled with uncertainty but I know a thing or two about navigating uncertainty
FUTURE LOOKS BRIGHT
My business has not disappeared. It is still around and continues its evolution. I’m not giving up on my work; I love it too much. My goal is to spend 2020 looking at how to expand it even further. I’m in the process of revamping my website and I have ideas brewing for a few workshops I can offer.
I’m a teacher at my core and I hope to utilize my business to offer more teaching OPPORTUNITIES, locally and online. I also hope to be back to blogging regularly. I’m not making any promises at this point, but I am hopeful.
2019 has definitely been a year of OPPORTUNITY. I’ve been choosing a OneWord since 2011 and this year really lived into its word. I have my OneWord for 2020. Stay tuned, I’ll reveal it along with my 2020 Vision Board in my next blog post.
Thanks for sticking with me through this post. It’s been a minute since I’ve blogged and evidently, I had a lot to say