Water was above my ankles. I felt like Noah from the bible only I did not have an ark to save me. What next; I thought, as my feet tread the stream, while I walked to the next part of the Northcott building. The roof was leaking on two sides of the structure. If I had money like we had rain, I would be just fine…but there were no funds in the budget for a new roof. Program cuts were beating our budget down like a hammer on nails. The smell in the air was a telling sign that more rain would be on its’ way. I cranked up the fan as I sat at my desk to seek refuge from the two million dollar Head Start program cut, the payroll that just cleared my personal checking account, and a grieving building that had already eradicated the bank; and I needed to map out a plan ASAP for the roof. I turned the page on my Daily Word – already feeling resolve that this too shall pass. After all, I am Mac Weddle, Executive Director for Northcott, and this has been my purpose for the last 40 years.
It wasn’t even ten o’clock am, and I was regretting my wardrobe decision. The perspiration penetrating from my skin had changed my starched and ironed white button-down shirt into a layer of Elmer’s glue. Working on my next steps, I jumped up to go and check on the five roof furnaces. The one in the gym had already danced its last dance, and now the one in the lobby had decided to sing its final song – I’ve seen houses sell for less than the total cost for the repairs, but like they say, God is good.
Before I could complete my destination, I encountered a young man with a curly afro, in a white wife beater and tattoo sleeves on both arms. I was blinded by his gold toothed grin that outshined the gold chain dangling from his neck. He was about to trip over the untied laces on his Timberland boots, but he maneuvered his balance well. Our eyes connected, and I instantly read his mind. He handed me the red folder tucked under his arm, which confirmed that my clairvoyance was correct. He was fresh out of the prison system having learned carpentry during his incarceration and he wanted to get enrolled in our Fresh Start program for felons. The visual of him cramming his six foot two inch frame into the child size desk as I handed him the application to complete, showed me his perseverance and brought a much needed smile to my face.
She sat on the damp floor with her back against the tan brick wall staring deep into the void – her eyes questioning her reality.
Pepperoni Pizza fogged the air, confirming what my stomach had already forewarned. Voices ringing through the halls, then a clap of thunder just before the kids surged into the building for the afternoon recreation activities – attempting to take cover from the weeping sky. That’s when I noticed her. She sat on the damp floor with her back against the tan brick wall staring deep into the void – her eyes questioning her reality. I moved in closer. My attention drawn to the small sphere protruding from her drenched bomber jacket. I went down on one knee, oblivious to the moisture that was being absorbed by my suite pant leg. I touched her finger-tips – attempting to engross if only a small portion of her agony. Her words did not match my emotions. Her silent truth was fear – but her expression was pride, and her age showed her lack of wisdom.
Ignoring my water-stained trousers, I power-walked back to my office for a meeting with an investor. Defeat was on my heels, but faith spoke loudly in my ears, while simultaneously creating a path of endurance. For fifty-six years, the veins of Northcott Neighborhood House have been the lifelines that connects courage to vision and vision to solutions. I needed a breakthrough and I refused to let obstacles waiver my determination. The Word tells us to write the vision and make it plain. So in the voice of Moses, “So it is written – so it will be done!
Thank you Mr. Mac Weddle for stepping up to the podium – Your truths will bless your purpose!
If you want to step up to the podium, Sister Speak Milwaukee will write your uncut creative non-fiction testimony. The article of your story will be featured in the Milwaukee Community Journal news paper and website.
Just email your raw story in 100 words or less to [email protected] If your story is chosen, you will be contacted to set-up an interview with Sister Speak Milwaukee to formalize all of the story details.
Sister Speak Milwaukee is excited to support healing in the community through storytelling!