Even though much of my work is literally TOO BIG FOR WORDS, occasionally I am inspired to write, and this is the place for that. Feel free to join in the conversation. Thanks for reading.
Today is May Day, a seasonal holiday celebrated for centuries with dancing, singing, planting and parades. This is the time for noticing what’s springing forth, what’s coming to life, what’s new! I see new life erupting all around me and participated in the festivities by planting my garden. Wiping away the grime of last season by washing my windows, I can see more clearly what’s blossoming. I watch birds build nests. I talk to gardeners about sowing seeds. I hear of students selecting colleges to begin again in the fall. As my high school biology teacher used to exclaim: “Life — Wow!” How perfect that this is the time of year we celebrate Mother’s Day.
I have been thinking a lot lately about my shifting role as mother to three teens, about my own aging mother coming to visit next week, and also, of the mothers of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Walter Scott, and Freddie Gray. What a challenging time to be a mother at all levels! I cannot imagine the depth of their grief or the fear they hold, worrying each day about the safety of their sons. When I get angry, afraid or angsty, my Mama Bear roars. Sometimes I’m sure it looks a little bit like Toya Graham, thought I’ve never been caught on TV (yet). She acted out outrage others of us are feeling. I echo her sentiment, “Are you for real?” Are we really going to sit and watch this injustice replay in our streets over and over again? “Really?!” Toya screamed on the streets of Baltimore MA. “Really?!” mothers shout in Ferguson, New York City, Chicago…
I am curious about the potential power of “Mama Bears" the world over. What might happen if we all came together and roared for justice, for peace, for compassion? What if Mother’s Day was about more than a Hallmark card and a day off from doing dishes? We are not a shrinking minority. We are the child-rearers, meal-makers, home-creators, community-builders.... Imagine us all taking a stand in this moment, shouting “Enough!” Enough of war, violence, hunger and injustice. Enough!
One of the most powerful stories I’ve seen lately shows a petite reporter giving voice to gang members in Maryland. Did you see that they called a truce on the streets where they live, to come together to demand and stand for justice? Let’s stand with them, and if not with them, than with their peaceful sentiment.
I invite all of us — mothers, media, politicians, police — to shine the light on what’s new, what’s springing to life, what’s possible. Our culture is desperately hungry for a new season, a new reality, a new way of living. Let’s begin by sharing signs of what’s working, telling stories of people who are coming together to form new alliances. Our culture is abuzz with the contrast between resume-living and eulogy-living. Let us write our collective eulogy today, and fill it with stories of community, compassion, connection and creativity.
Who better to model the new way of being than the mothers? What better gift can we give our mothers this Mother’s Day than to embody and make real the love they’ve shown us? Really. Isn’t it time to make real the new world we have been dreaming about? Are you for real?
Although most of the work I am privileged to do in the world is literally TOO BIG FOR WORDS, occasionally I am inspired to put some words to my experience, and this is the landing place. Chime in the conversation. Your voice is needed.