My admission essay to Howard University:
You have asked me, “what makes you, you?”
What makes me myself is writing about it. I have a blog called “Stories That Are All True… and some of them actually happened.” The point is that I am interested in the life lessons of a story, and not the facts behind it. I don’t care if I remember dates and times, but I do care if I lose the essence of how an experience made me feel. It is the essence of Leslie, the yin and yang inside me that struggles to walk in light and can’t help but walk in the dark, because it’s more comfortable. I love my sins, just like we all do. However, I’ve been invited to walk in the light permanently with Christ, because when he asked, I listened. When I struggle, I have someone to ask for help in finding the right path for me. Today it was talking to my pastor, Matt Braddock, about the divinity schools in the area. He said that Howard was affiliated with the United Church of Christ, which is the denomination I’m currently looking to for ordination. In order to achieve that, though, I have to work backwards from the darkness of leaving school when I was younger.
Truly, I am an Episcopalian at heart, but what I realized is that with the UCC, I have the capability to write liturgy instead of just turning to page 355. Writing and preaching is where my heart sings, because it leads people in their own invitation to Christ, which is what he asked me to do in the first place.
I make enough money doing computer support work that getting a degree isn’t necessary for me to survive. I am safety-netted that way. But at the same time, doing that work does not feed me. Darkness was choosing money over spirit, and it is a decision I’ve regretted for years. Howard University has the ability to help me right that wrong, to choose the direction I know I am called to walk.
I am applying for an undergraduate degree because money is want, and soul is need. My major is Political Science, and my minor is Psychology. Those two things are inextricably interrelated into my ministry, because I will be doing everything from weddings to funerals to voting for policy that helps the less fortunate. In order to lead, I have to know how the system works. In order to break rules, you have to know them all.
It is an exciting time to be me. Breaking rules is not meant in disrespect, only to promote political change for the homeless, the mentally ill, and those for which the safety net has crumbled. Please, will you join me in my vision and let me complete the work I have already started? I have put one foot down on holy ground by saying “enough is enough. Stop playing with darkness and accept what God has been trying to tell you.”