By Adam D. Grant – Home of New Vision JARC Coordinator


This question has lead me in many directions and to the warm embrace of Home of New Vision.  It is a statement pertinent to the moment, but is ever evolving. The answer would have been very different if you asked me in 2010, 2000, or 1990.  Who I am today is a work in progress that is constantly striving to be a beneficial presence. Few would have believed who I would become, including myself.

Someone recently asked me, “Do you know you are a miracle?” I squirmed a little under the enormity of the question, and awkwardly answered it as honestly as I could.  I recognized that others, like my fiancée, believe that to be true, but couldn’t fully own it myself.  Still, as is the case for many questions, the purpose of the question was not to produce an answer but to delve deeper into the question — something I have certainly done since it was asked and hope to continue to do the rest of my life.


To provide some context for this question there is a huge part of my story that needs to be shared up front.  I spent the “last” 27 years in prison for a bank robbery I committed when I was 22 years old.  The specifics of the robbery are not the story, but I will say that my sentence had more to do with my criminal history than with the severity of the specific act.  I am fully aware of the damage I have left in the wake of my life, and strive to make every day a form of amends.


Who I am is a combination of a number of “whats” along with the core person I was created to be —  part “nature,” part “nurture,” as is the case for all of us.  To change any part along the way would be to change the final product.  So when asked if I have any regrets in my life, despite spending the vast majority of it physically incarcerated, my response is, “Only one.  I regret that I hurt people!”  As cliché as that may sound, it is the absolute truth. I love who I am today.  To change any of those past events, pains, or challenges would be to change the final product — a final product I am proud of and grateful to get to add to.


Who I am, as that wise-woman pointed out, is a miracle. We all are, if you think about it, but some are more apparent and blatant than others.  What I am, and the labels used for description, are up for debate.  But let’s not forget the aim of any debate should be progress, not victory.  So, as we have this debate, let’s move forward and find how each of us can best serve our purpose and be the greatest beneficial presence we can possibly be