Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Labyrinths - Envelope # 12

I arrived at Grace Cathedral, crushed with disappointment.  We have been spending the last few months of our lives dedicated to navigating the San Francisco Public School lottery process.  After our second round draft submission and lots of painful waiting; we received our letter from the school district.  I didn't make it past the first paragraph;

"The San Francisco Unified School District regrets that we are unable to offer your child an assignment to any of your Amended Choice requests because the school you requested are at maximum capacity for the 2012-13 school year.  Please note that since you did not register at the previously assigned school, your child will not have an assignment for School Year 2012-2013."
I could not fathom how we had spent months of research, touring, blogging, debating and consideration to wind up with Nothing. We had "coded in" over 15 schools.  My daughter's assignment school scores a 3 out of 10. Far from our home and not in the best neighborhood; I could not stomach the thought of stunting her future by enrolling her. Now we have lost that school too!  We will continue to work the system, but clearly the system is broken. I feel broken.
I continued to walk the Cathedral numbed...  But I went about my business... framing, shooting, compensating for the lack of light.  The beauty of the church seeped in and soothed my nerves.  I actually missed this calming force.  I breathed.  I thought.  I prayed.

At first I really didn't know what to make of the labyrinths. I had never actually seen one in person.
I expected a maze... maybe in a garden. There were 2.  Not as large or 3-dimensional as I imagined.  The path was non-branching. It ended in the center. There were no choices, just one way.
At the end of all my shooting, I put down my tripod and camera bag, to walk the labyrinth. Slowly as I walked through the turns, I was able to find peace within.  My mind quieted. I felt lifted. Public school lotteries seemed galaxies away. As I came to the end of the labyrinths, I exhaled the weight of the world off my shoulders.