Last night, I sat in a beautiful church in downtown Baton Rouge and listened to local officials, activists, and citizens start a conversation about what is happening in our community.
Stay with me.
I have no idea how many local readers I have, so more than likely you’re not from Baton Rouge, so you probably don’t care what’s happening here. And I get it. I wouldn’t, either, except that I am a mother … and because I am a mother, I know that I — we — have the power to change things.
Sometimes, parenthood can feel like it’s consuming my spirit and slowly choking off what makes me, me. Sometimes everything feels fruitless, pointless, and repetitious. I find myself ranting to my friends via text, WHAT IS THE POINT OF WASHING TOWELS WHEN EVERYONE USES 8 OF THEM EVERY TIME THEY SHOWER?! OMG, I AM GOING TO DIE WASHING TOWELS, MARK MY WORDS.
The thing is, though, that the difficulty of motherhood is tempered by the inherent power to make the world better. The act of bringing new life into this world, shaping human beings into citizens, and teaching them what is important — this is our greatest gift and responsibility.
Last night I watched a boy who couldn’t have been older than 12 approach the microphone to stand in front of a panel of important people, including Martin Luther King III — yes, the son of the Martin Luther King, Jr. — in the front of the room. Everyone was silent, wondering what this kid was going to say.
“First, I just want to ask the Lord to forgive us.”
THAT is how he began his question.
THAT did something to my heart, seeing that boy, who is not so different from my own sons, standing bravely in front of a bunch of important adults to voice a legitimate concern. I wonder who his mother is, and I hope she is proud of herself, because she’s doing an amazing job.
I saw the widow of one of the fallen officers walk by with her 10-month-old son. I saw people who would normally never cross paths, talking to each other.
I ran smack into Colonel Edmonson, Superintendent of the Louisiana State Police, and I was so struck by the look in his eyes that I couldn’t speak. He looked like he was in actual, physical pain. He looked like he needed a hug, but I was too afraid to give him one.
This is yet another example of how fear stops us from moving forward.
Last night it was said that we need an honest dialogue, and I couldn’t agree more. I have always wished that more people would just be honest. Hurts need to be recognized. Truths need to be said. People need to feel heard in order to bridge gaps, but more than that, we all need hope. Without hope, nothing can be accomplished, and I can honestly say that after what I saw and heard last night, I am full of hope.
As we were leaving, I heard a young girl’s voice coming up behind me yelling “MOMS!! HEY, MOMS!” I turned around, and she was literally running up the church aisle.
“Are you a mom?” she gasped, out of breath.
“I sure am.”
She introduced herself to me as one of the leaders of an active youth group in the city, and said they are looking to partner with local moms because they know that mothers have a unique power to change our community in a big way.
“Mothers DO have a lot of power,” I said, as I handed her my card.
Mamas are a force to be reckoned with. Get ready.