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One Step at a Time

Updated on September 5, 2020

I used to watch Quantum Leap with my mom

whenever it came on TV

There was once an episode where

Sam had to talk this young man

into getting on a bus that would

take him off to college.


The boy didn’t want to go;

he was afraid and didn’t think

much of himself. He said,

“I’m just one person, the world

won’t be any different if I don’t

get on that bus.”


As a child, I thought that

Quantum Leap had hit a dry spell.

A whole episode on trying to get a boy on a bus

is a sure sign of writer’s block.

But that’s when I noticed

something about this boy.


It could have been the special effects,

it could have been the camera angle

or it could have been his soul igniting

with hope, passion, and the future.


I am reminded of this scene

when I start to feel doubt.

It helps me to remember

that the future holds

more of me than I do,

for I am still discovering myself.


Questions form in my mind

because this country is so impenetrable.

How hard am I gonna

have to become in order to break through

this thick-shelled, self-indulgent world?


But then I remember that it

really doesn’t matter right now.

Why? Because the boy got on the bus.

He was young, afraid, uneducated,

sheltered, poor, and black, yet

MLK Jr. got on that bus, alone.


It took him eight foot steps

to get from his mother’s arms

to the front of the bus where

he then tried to take a seat.


Then another eight strides to get to the back.

You could see in his eyes that

he was indeed learning.

Taking notes of the many wrongs,

gaining inspiration to make them right.


When he sat down and looked back at his mother,

there were tears in both their eyes,

he smiled. I remember that moment so vividly

that it traps my breath in my chest.

I sat there, legs folded, with tears falling.


My mom asked me what was wrong,

I went and cuddled up in her lap.

We sat there and cried for a while.

The power that pain holds

is all that you need to change the world.


We can’t see just how chaotic

it has all become, because

we are standing in the eye of the storm.

We are centered in this state of emergency,

but I am not ready yet.


I’m learning, I’m growing,

I am becoming stronger.


One day my doubts will have

transformed into truths and

my fears into bravery.


My pen will teach instead of

relentlessly playing my confidant,

because I just got on my bus and

took my first sixteen steps.


MLK

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    • Petra Vlah profile image

      Petra Vlah 

      11 years ago from Los Angeles

      This is beautiful and most powerful. I am so glad the little boy did get on the bus; it is ok to cry at times and you are right "the pain that holds is all we need to change the world" BRILLIANT

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