Throwing My Loop…
By: Michael Johnson
revelator – (rev-uh-lay-ter) Word origin: Late Latin
Noun – revelator – one who reveals the truth.
What is it that makes us
rise? What causes us - sometimes rather suddenly – to change
our ways for the better, and to succeed where we failed
before? I've been searching for answers to that question for
many years, and I've found a few. When I ask successful
people how they achieved their goals in life, one of the
most common responses I hear involves a story of “righteous
indignation.” There's no counting how many tales I've heard
about a particular person's eventual success being caused by
a cruel remark earlier in their lives. As in when their
teacher said, “You're just not college material,” or
something like, “You are never going to amount to anything.”
After hearing that, a fire begins to burn in the person's
soul, and he or she simply will not be denied until they
prove that teacher wrong. And there are other
reasons... one being that sometimes we encounter a
When those who have changed their ways are asked to
explain why the miracle in their lives occurred, this answer
– by far – is the most frequent. And because I have met more
than my share, I often consider myself the luckiest person
in the world. Teachers, cowboys, strong women, and friends
have picked me up, lifted me up, and when all hope seemed
lost...saved my day. Here's the story of one “revelator” in
As a young man, I held the title of “The Worst Student
on the Planet.” Because my father had died suddenly and my
mother couldn't handle the grief, I found myself alone.
Maybe because of fear – and because I wanted to please my
father – I began again. Tried this time, and my grades
improved in school, but no matter how well-intentioned I
might have been there was one demon I couldn't defeat... the
monster called “Math.”
After returning to college and taking all my “F”
classes over again, there was one remaining mountain that
blocked my path. I had intentionally put off math year after
year, and now time was running out. With my last semester
fast approaching, I confided my fear to a friend on
“I don't know what I'm going to do,” I said. “I can't
pass math. As a matter of fact, I don't think I've ever
passed a math class.”
His wife sat over in the corner. A pretty woman and a
person I never heard say a word. Imagine my surprise when
she said, “I know why.”
“You know why I've never passed math?” I said.
“Yes,” and after a slight pause, she said, “The reason
you've never passed math is because you haven't had me!”
“You teach math?”
“Yes,” she said. “You enroll in my class next semester.
The work will be difficult, but you can do it. I will see to
that.” And so I did.
The first class was a nightmare. I was completely lost
and I had no idea what was being discussed. I can remember
all the other students – so young – laughing at something
and I didn't know what. “What's so funny?” I asked a girl
“It's this class,” she said. “It's like...it's like...
so ridiculously easy!”
At that moment, I looked up to see the teacher
standing by my desk.
“How are you doing on the first assignment, Michael?”
“Not too well,” I said - feeling sick.
“Well, that's no surprise,” she said. “You've only
been trying for a couple of minutes. Things will
improve. Keep trying.” She would say that over and over to
me for four and one-half months. When I fell, she would
invite me over to her house for dinner. She would prepare a
meal for her husband and me, then we would work. She wrote
me a note that said, “Call us or come over to the house any
time you need help.” At the bottom of the note was her phone
I passed the class, and at graduation I sat on the
stage gazing out at hundreds of people. I didn't know anyone
in the audience, but I knew my father was smiling in heaven.
And than I saw something in the back...a small fist in the
air. I laughed thinking that must be some proud parent. It
wasn't. I kept staring and then realized that hand belonged
to someone who had come to share my joy – that was the hand
of my revelator.
She kept it in the air for the longest time.
-- Michael Johnson