I tried to find the holiday spirit but kept running into endless brick walls. Life kept saying “no” about money matters when I desperately needed to hear “yes.” Last year, I arrived in Ghana the day after Christmas and experienced my dream vacation that included a music festival called Afrocello. This year, I barely leave home except to shop briefly for food and essential goods, then quickly return. 

Afrocello Music Festival in Accra, Ghana

Then, I received a text. A student I met last year in New York City by happenstance informed me that she has just been accepted to medical school and thanked me for my help.

I remember that day well. I took a mental health getaway weekend to hook up with one of my squad and watched my jazz idol, Pat Methany work his magic at Sony Hall.  The next day, we took an adventurous bus ride and landed in front of the campus of our beloved alma mater, Columbia University. There, we met a young woman who had beautiful, ebony skin, giving directions to a fellow student in Greek. We were intrigued.  Where did this Black woman learn to speak Greek?

Sony Hall, NYC, wiaiting for Pat Methany to begin
Columbia University Alumni Office

She shared her international travel experiences and dreams of becoming a physician. I advised her that I was a physician and strongly encouraged her to apply to med school. We sporadically kept in touch for the rest of the year.

My late mother and I shared a beautiful holiday tradition of watching the classic movie; It’s a Wonderful Life, featuring James Stewart and Donna Reed.  The character, George Baily, wanted to end his life until he sees what life would look like without him, and it wasn’t pretty.

A simple text message showed me that small acts of kindness could yield unexpected blessings. At a moment when I felt defeated, the Universe revealed a victory. You CAN have a wonderful life once you remember your purpose.