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I sat on his black leather couch and was so immersed in his stories that I could barely utter a word. Every story he told had a personal meaning for me, a message from deep in the recesses of fate. “It’s not what George School does with or for you as a person of color that makes you feel pride or shame in yourself; it’s the pride or shame you come to GS with, that colors your experience here.” These words empowered me to see my own experiences, as a minority and as a human, as my own self-created reality over which I do have control: If I view myself as worthy, as belonging, as valuable, then my experiences will reflect that; but if I view myself as unworthy, as less-than, as worthless, then I will be treated as such. Some Native American cultures believe in the Hollow Bone, the open space from the tip of your head to the seat of your soul that allows Spirit to speak through you. When Nate told me these stories, it was like an angel telling me that I was in the right place. He had said exactly what I needed to hear in that moment. Nate moved me to near speechlessness again when he sat beside me at a meeting, sensing that I had something to say but was insecure about saying it, and whispered, “Say it, say it, go ahead and say it.” Never before had my professional voice been so valued. I keep those whispers of encouragement in my heart every time I start to feel unsure of my own voice.
PostScript (March, 2013): Nate, you were an angel when I needed one, and you are an angel to me now, continuing to hear my voice and give it value the way no one else ever had. I am so deeply thankful that you helped get me through the three hardest years of my life. And I am so grateful that I called you and told you I loved you. I know you knew that. :)
With love, loyalty and gratitude always …