The Skeptics Have No Names

Valencia Church-Williams

I am not always right.

As a matter of fact, I am more often wrong than not. I write really bad poetry sometimes, persist with ideas that are clichéd, and engage in a myriad of other unflattering flaws of character. But, I refuse to let the aforementioned stop me or deter me from my dreams. Many people, faced with facts desist in their delusions, but not I! I will proudly persist in the wrong direction, waving the flag of creativity and innovation. I will not to allow other people’s fear of flying to keep me grounded.

Why, the astute observer might ask? Because fear of ridicule costs us much and in the end, the skeptics have no names! They will not be remembered for deriding my aims and immortalizing my sins. They will not become beloved for telling us NO. They will not be remembered for saying we went too far, or too fast, or that we did too much, because for all their derision they do not do enough. They spend more time critiquing our creations and not enough time creating their own. You must decide today if their scorn is strong enough to create a spectator out of you—You who were born to be witnesses and prophets, gods and kings. You were created to be creative and active participants.

We need not internalize their cynicism and allow their thorns to take root in the soil of our creativity. Understand yourself compassionately. We all spill soup. Handle yourself carefully. You are precious cargo, most fragile. Hear yourself critically. Sometimes, we really are wrong. See the world clearly. You have become the buddha once you see and accept things for how they are as opposed to how we would like them to be. These are the tasks of our lives. We are not required to accept or employ the unsolicited feedback of others.

I often think of a parable from the wisdom book that is the Bible. There was a woman, charged with sexual impropriety. It is written that she was brought up on charges and sentenced to stoning. But, when her accusers brought her before Jesus the Christ, she became immortalized not for her misdeeds, but for her role in demonstrating the compassion of the Christ. We have never known the names of her lovers or accusers, but so prolific was she in loving them that even the Messiah had to stop and pay attention!

It is written that Jesus stooped and began to write in the dust. I like to imagine that he wrote the names and sins of her accusers in the sand. Perhaps this is why shortly thereafter they began to scatter. Like dust, they blew away. Two centuries later, they remain unknown, unnamed and all that is left is compassion.   We remember HER–flaws and all, but those skeptics have no names.

You do not have to BE right, you just need to keep writing/dancing/singing/believing/giving the world whatever gifts you bring. As for me, you can remember my bad poetry or my better prose. You can remember my flubs and my failures. You can remember that the camera was not always kind and that I was not always in step or on key. I just want you to remember me.

Do you not want the same?

I hope that as you read, you feel my heart reaching out to you across the vastness of space and time and that my intention and love both meet and greet you. Be well.

Valencia Church-Williams

Program Coordinator, Professional Developer, Instructional Coach, Reading Specialist, Children's Librarian

Valencia is a scholar-practitioner with 20+ years of experience as a performance artist and 16+ years as a literacy educator. She completed doctoral course work at North Central University, studying leadership and special education program administration. She also earned credentials as a reading specialist and children's librarian from East Carolina University. Her research interests include learning disabilities in reading, metalinguistics, teacher preparation, professional learning communities, and special education teacher quality.