The month of July has been a grueling month of challenges, blessings, and everything else in between. When I began the journey of starting a school, I never would have imagined that certain events would happen that would make this one of the most challenging seasons of my life. As you may imagine, I am very much a planner and things that fall outside of my internal timeline are not always welcome. 🙁
So what’s going on? I will get straight to the point!
Today is the 1 month mark of the passing away of my beloved grandmother Jacquline Heath. My grandmother was the bread and butter of our family. She continually provided for the needs of the family and offered occasional moments of challenge when she felt we had “lost” our way. But because I only knew her as grandmother, I did not realize the extent of how many lives she touched as a friend, colleague, disciple and soror.
Now, please don’t jump to conclusions about my relationship with my grandmother, we had a genuinely good connection and bond unbreakable. The reason that I did not understand the degree of her generosity was because she never talked about it….she just did it. There were so many people that showed up to her memorial service that knew her and were blessed by her in some way. Though I am temporarily sad because I will not see her again, my heart is also joyful because she truly lived her life for the Glory of God! Hallelujah!
In this moment of sadness I find joy because I know that starting this school is an opportunity for me to continue this legacy of faith, generosity, and the arts that has been passed down through the generations. Before she passed away, I wrote her a letter about the school I was starting.
To reiterate what I said before, one of the major motivators for starting this school is the values that you have passed down. For me, the best way to honor your legacy and our family is to not only pass down this message to my children, but to also share it with others. It is why I continue to commit so much time to the initiative. What my hope is that through this project you feel honored and encouraged.
One of the classic statements that my grandmother used to make was, “You are thinking about yourself too much.” Ain’t it true!!!! In many ways, it is easy for me to make this school about myself. Recently, I have been getting a lot of congratulations for opening a school. In my heart, I don’t know why everyone is recognizing me…..I haven’t done anything, school has not started. This school is not and should not about me, it’s about the children.
It was not until our move to Kansas City, Missouri that I began to see where this (school) was needed. I cannot run away or not do everything that I can to help improve and restore our dying communities. Each time that I drive through an urban neighborhood, my heart breaks. Our communities have changed from being people who could do so much, to people who need so much. I loved hearing your stories of how there used to be so many black business owners in the community: catalyst, innovators, leaders. What an inspiration! The skills that are needed to be successful are embedded in our DNA, we just need to be able to see it and what better place is there to start than with our children.
So today, I write this blog with joy knowing that my grandmother was excited about what I was doing. I have been given a gift, an opportunity to “think about others” and to make an IMPACT in Kansas City for the glory of God. I hope that after reading this post that you are not left feeling sad for this loss, but empowered by the grace of God to pass down a legacy of faith, generosity, and the blessing of the arts.