This I Believe

Karin - Marlborough, Massachusetts
Entered on September 18, 2007

I believe in my lucky acorn. I found it just yesterday. The timing was excellent because yesterday was the day of my final exam to finish my master’s degree in theology.

Before heading out the door to go school in Boston, I pulled out my favorite pair of boots. I noticed the soles were in such bad shape that the parts of the heels were completely worn away. Inside the heel of the right boot was a tiny acorn that had somehow jammed itself into one of the exposed compartments. As I was attempting to pull it out, it occurred to me that the acorn may be the one thing preventing the heel from completely falling apart. I also thought there was something sort of heartwarming about walking around with an acorn hidden away in my shoe. It was little piece of nature that might keep me from falling apart that day as well.

I’m not sure why I was nervous. The exam was going to be more of a discussion than a test of what I had learned during my three years in school. I had done all the hard work, and for all practical purposes, I was done. I had my masters and I was walking away with a 3.9 GPA from a great university. This was a major personal victory for me. Both my parents came from poor immigrant families and both had dropped out of school very early to earn money. They wanted their children to be highly educated but they had no idea how to guide us. Despite this, I went to college, although admittedly, it was less than prestigious. But what could I expect? I had probably set the record for low SAT scores. I simply did not know how to prepare. Nor did my parents know how to help me.

So, given my history, I never felt particularly smart. It wasn’t until I was in my late thirties, and having had years of success in my career as a marketing and technical writer that I began to think that maybe I was a bit brighter and more capable than I had given myself credit for. Then I started to wonder: what would have happened had I known this before? What might I have done with my life? Would I have pursued my passions instead of just a paycheck?

So at age 40, I did just that. I quit my job, followed my heart, and went to back to school to study theology. It has been the best three years of my life and I am sad to see it end. But, today I feel that I am exactly the person I want to be. The person I was meant to be.

My exam went exceedingly well. On the drive home from school, I smiled thinking about how proud my mother would be when I called her later with the news. I also thought about how proud my father would be if he were alive today. I wriggled my right boot a little and laughed. “I am one lucky acorn,” I thought. “One lucky acorn.”