The Diversity Panel

Flash back to September of 1994. Mr. Pulke knocked on our classroom door, “Can I have a word with Zina?” He asked my teacher, as he briefly interrupted the class.

Sure I had done something wrong, I squirmed in my chair. When a vice-principal came to visit, it usually wasn’t for a good cause. Of course my teacher agreed. Reluctantly, I got out of my desk-chair and approached him at the door. Slowly, I stepped into the hallway to meet him outside. What have I done now?

He leaned forward to reach me at eye level, in his nice distinguished suit. Oh no, I’m in trouble, here it comes. To my surprise, he asked if I would serve on the Multicultural/Multiracial council at school that year, in a kind and gentle tone. It was a diversity panel being implemented for the first time. I wasn’t expecting that. Why would he choose me? I didn’t feel worthy.

“Uhh, yeah, of course Mr. Pulke, thank you!” Excited, I replied.

Following several after-school meetings, a large assembly would be held in our gym with the principals, teachers, students, and the board. The whole school would be there. Unfortunately, I never fulfilled my duty on the council that year; nor did I make it to the assembly.

My accident happened in October of 1994, around a month after we began. I failed them. I’ve held onto guilt for a lot of years. I let down my parents, siblings, the council, and friends. How could I get hurt?

The years have gone by. I’ve learned to make peace. I can’t explain how. It took God’s grace to release me.

Grace tells me everything will be alright. I’m forgiven. I’m free.

Accidents happen. We can’t reverse them. If I could I would. “There are some things that just happen, beyond reasoning, beyond intellect, beyond resolution. Things like calamities, destructions, hurricanes, and disasters. The Bible says rain will fall on the just and unjust. Some stuff just happens to you. Stop trying to rationalize everything.” – Bishop T.D. Jakes, from “Beyond the Blame”

It’s obvious I don’t accept walking with difficulty, it’s something I have to work at constantly. The Bible says “Faith is the realization of what is hoped for, and evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1) If I work hard enough, maybe one day I’ll have my dream.

Have you ever been touched by grace? Has it released you from any pain? Feel free to share with me in the notes.

I wasn’t able to fulfill my duty on the diversity council at school that year. But at thirty-four, God has given me a diversity panel of students of my own.

It’s interesting how that worked out.


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