It doesn’t matter how you stumble, but how you rebound is important. It doesn’t matter where you come from, but where you are going is important.
This is the story of Rev. Ernesto Alvarez’s life. I met him at a forum for community collaboration at the Rainier Vista Boys and Girls Club on April 30.
When Rev. Alvarez led us in prayer, my mind wandered off for a second. Who was the most inspiring person among the forum attendees? How could I identify him or her among the 70 attendees? Then I heard the reverend say:
“I was in jail. I was selling drugs,” Rev. Alvarez said. He revealed that he had been a drug trafficker at the U.S.-Mexican border. When he realized that he was going to ruin his life and lose his marriage, he changed himself and answered God’s call.
The reverend started a small congregation in Burien. Today, his wife is smiling at his side. She is proud of him.
This is what I admire about America. We are not afraid to share our mistakes because America teaches us to give sinners a second chance. There is no shame in sharing your experiences and letting people use them as life lessons.
Yet in my own cultural upbringing and native land, we only want to show our perfect self, and we never have the courage to admit our past misdeeds to our friends, for fear of losing face.
America teaches us the significance of rehabilitation and redemption. ♦