Insight from Blight

Around a year ago I drove by my old elementary school in Detroit’s inner city. Back in the day, it was one of the best schools in the city. It’s where I learned to read, write, add and spell. The teachers were stern but dedicated, and they helped shape and challenge my young mind.

Today the school is closed. Not only is it closed. The building is in horrible disrepair with broken windows, unkempt grounds and a naked flagpole signifying neglect and loss of interest.

A few months ago, my husband and I drove by my alma mater where I spent four years of my young adult life and received my degree. The school recently merged with another university and my old campus that at one time bustled with life now stood cold and vacant. It was pretty depressing, and I’m glad we didn’t stop for a lingering look.

Both schools are situated along busy interstates. I didn’t step foot on either campus, but viewed them from the safety of the car as we slowed our speed to get a better look. The elementary school is located in a bleak, unsafe, crime-ridden area of Detroit. The college stands by itself on a quiet, lonely corner. Ironically, life swirls at a fast pace around the two lifeless campuses.

I’m usually pretty good about handling change. In fact sometimes I like to implement change just for the sake of change itself. But when it meddles with my nostalgic memories, I tend to put up an emotional resistance.

I suppose I could sit by the schools and mourn over what once was and is no more. But, just because someone has permanently locked the doors and boarded the windows, nothing can stifle the investment of learning, counsel and guidance I received over the accumulated ten years I spent at those two institutions.The campuses may have died, but the experiences and knowledge I received will remain for the rest of my life.While nostalgia draws me back, reality keeps me grounded. I can live and thrive in my reality. I can’t thrive in nostalgia.

Change is inevitable, whether we like it or not. However, we don’t have to change with the change. We will witness transitions in our families, friendships, employment, municipalities, states, federal government and laws, many of them unraveling the moral fiber to which we cling. It can be unsettling, to say the least.

When everything around us is shaken, we can remain unshaken by not staring at the moral blight and nostalgia of what once was. Instead, let’s focus on the truth of our convictions and create change from a reality of morality.

God knows the world needs it.

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