I’m not sure I can take credit for it, though I know it was me who said it first.
The redemptive quality we seek comes not only from doing good, but from doing good in the face of evil.
That is how I felt when I walked the halls of my high school two weeks ago to offer the Inspired Scribble creative writing scholarship, and it’s exactly how I feel whenever I find myself on South Mountain again.
The content of both of those experiences involve basketball, heartache, painful confusion, and my tiresome efforts of trying to do good while I was there. However, I am learning that sometimes the best things can happen when you walk away for a while. If you keep walking, you’ll never come back, and that tends to be the case for most people who have a bitter taste in their mouth at the end of a given journey. But it is the coming back to despite it all, that defines redemption. And it is your redemption that allows you to rename the experience into new context.
I didn’t go back for the same reasons that made me leave. I went back for the same reasons I gave myself to stay while I was there; the same reasons that told me it was worthwhile when everything inside of me told me it wasn’t. For me, that reason was writing. For both high school and college. Despite the ever-creeping evil, it was the good that revealed itself more than anything. I’m not sure we should ever walk away from a good thing. Especially if it takes place in the same space that tried to destroy you.
The truth is, it made you. And now you have a story to tell to the many faces who tried not to acknowledge your presents.