Gracious Gratitude
Published in

Gracious Gratitude

Day 221

You might thing that I’d be waxing effusive or philosophical or even poetic after a day saturated with protest and civic engagement.

Not today.

Today I sit, simmering quietly, in thoughts from an intense morning followed quickly by several hours of wading through volumes of video content from the sister marches all around the country and world.

Today’s story isn’t about me or my peers. Today’s story is about the children. It feels odd calling them that. They are poised, articulate, powerful and they are pissed. They have every right to be. The adults have failed them. The government has failed them. And you know what? They know how to change that. Many of them can’t vote, but I’ll bet they are going to be the most effective and motivated army of people getting others to register and vote. The ones who can vote? Well, we can be sure they will.

While at the protest in Las Vegas today I was standing next to a mother and her young son — an African-American teen, probably about 14–15 years old. At one point a loud metal clang rang across from a nearby parking lot, sounded something like a dumpster or large container being moved. At the metallic sound, the young man flinched, his eyes getting wide and darting around. Without missing a beat, I put my hand on his shoulder and he turned to look at me.

“Sounds like a trash truck and a dumpster,” I said. Or maybe something from the freight train over on the tracks. But don’t worry. You’re safe here.”

His eyes relaxed, he smiled and turned back to the stage. His mother caught my eye, “Thank you” she mouthed silently, a tear in her eye.

It’s our job, adults, to keep children safe. That’s how it was for me growing up. My parents, their friends, the adults in any room or space — they were there to help me make my way in the world and see that I could do so safely.

I don’t have children. It’s a decision I made many many years ago, actually. Truth is, even as a teenager I never really wanted to have kids. Note I didn’t say that I didn’t want to be a mother. I didn’t say that I don’t like or love kids. I just say that I didn’t want to have them. As in, that feeling or drive to physically bear them myself … just never had it. Then time ticked along and it got to the point where if I was going to have a kid or kids, I kind of had to get on doing so. I thought about it. I thought hard. Nope. Still didn’t have that urge to have them myself.

Right around a year ago, I found myself perusing some weighty matters related to my future (mostly professional but some personal too). At the same time, I had the great blessing of my life path weaving its way through the paths of several people — amazing women, mothers. Being witness to the way in which they confronted motherhood — in all its mess and glory — utterly inspired me.

When the #Parkland shooting happened, something awoke in me. A level of she-wolf/Alpha Bitch/Don’t fuck with the children ferocity that I didn’t know I had in me. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m pretty aware that my resting state blows back most people’s hair. It’s a rare occasion when I don’t present to the world as a strong, self-assured woman.

This is different. This type of strength comes from somewhere different.

I see the young people who spoke today — wrestling their fear to the ground with ferocity and strength. Standing in their discomfort with raw, authentic power and being fully prepared to step further in.

So, today is not about my thoughts. Today is about theirs. Sadly I didn’t capture video of speakers here in Las Vegas — two of whom blew my mind. But these two from Washington, DC. Well, if you want to know what the face of future leadership looks like. Here it is.

Like 11-year-old Naomi Wadler …

And of course, the remarkable Emma Gonzalez …

Today’s Gracious Gratitude. I am grateful for:

  • Being witness to young people seizing their power and finding their voices
  • The experience of tending to the lawn at Hydrant Club
  • Making plans to plant things in my garden at home
  • Having a place to plant a garden
  • Hot soup on a blustery night
  • A wonderful workout
  • Sleep

--

--

There are studies that show a simple practice of gratitude awareness can be a real game changer for productivity.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store