We’re Not Marching

Every once in a while I hear or see something that strikes a chord and lies heavy on my heart. Sometimes it’s a song or TV show, other times it’s a dream or a conversation with a friend. This time, it’s a story I read online and I just can’t shake it.

Glennon from Momastery shared this story on her Facebook wall yesterday…

Monday night, my daughters and I were talking about Bubba and Tisha’s experience and what was happening in Charleston and the black and white responses around the country. We ended up looking at pictures of some old civil rights marches. The girls were quiet. My youngest daughter pointed at some of the marchers and said, “We would have marched with those people, right mama?” I almost said Yes. I almost said: Of course, yes, baby. Yes. But then my older daughter said, “I don’t know. I mean, we’re not marching now.”

We’re not marching now.

I’m not marching now.

That line hit me hard, like a rock to the chest. I can talk the talk. I can say I’m not racist, I can look at the news and say “How terrible! How wrong! How sad!” I can share meaningful well-written articles on Facebook that share my views. I can say I’m standing on the right side of this battle, but I am not marching. I am not really doing anything. I am watching the oppressed from the sidelines. I’m quietly waving a little “go team” flag when what they need is for me to jump in and play the game.

opressed

In fifty years I won’t be able to look back and say I did the right thing, I stood up for those who were hurting or fought for equal rights. I want to love my neighbors (neighbors = EVERYONE) as I love myself, but I am not doing that. I “say” a lot, but the truth is that actions speak much louder than words. It’s time I take action and truly help my neighbors.

The problem is I’m not sure how. I’m not even sure for whom I should be “marching”. Blacks. Women, Gays. Abused children. Orphans. The Homeless. I know the answer is everyone. Everyone is in, and each and every one of us deserves a life of love and happiness. So where do I begin?

Today, I decided the first step was to speak to someone with some insight. Opening up a conversation is the first step to growing and learning. I called one of my only close black friends (which is a very sad fact) and asked for her help. I asked her about racism, the Confederate flag, the current headlines and how each of those affect her. I teared up when I told her about the quote, “not marching” and how I want to be on the right side. I’m embarrassed I never discussed any of this with her sooner.

She listened and she told me her story, how racism is very much alive, abundant and affects her daily. She gets that it’s easy to brush it under the rug when it doesn’t directly affect you, but it’s time we start lifting that rug and pulling out all of those hidden and hard issues. Most importantly she said that this is lying heavy on my heart for a reason. It’s my conscience begging me to listen. She suggested praying about it and then acting on it. It’s ultimately up to me to take action.

free

I’m still unsure of how I’ll start my “march”, but I’m ready and willing to learn the true meaning of how to love my neighbor.

Cheers

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The Highs and the Lows

Oh boy. Oh, today has been a day of the highest highs and the lowest lows. My emotional roller coaster has twisted and turned so much that I am now sick at my stomach and unable to sleep. Tonight, all I want is to hold Luna a little tighter and never never let go.

okay

I had an appointment with my hypertension specialist early this morning, which is an emotional roller coaster in itself. He literally looked me in the eye and said that I’m ridiculous and to stop being so neurotic. Thanks Doc, easier said than done. It ended on a high note and I walked across the street to the Children’s Hospital to visit my friend. My 5 min walk knocked me down about 5 pegs on the emotional scale. I wanted to hug every single parent I saw. Watching them walk the halls while pulling their sick babies in wagons or picking up lunch with their teen attached to an IV never ever gets easier.

My time in the hospital room with one of my favorite little girls was a blast, as always. We finger-painted, made Christmas cards, practiced math skills and had a dance party to Taylor Swift’s Shake it Off. At lunch, she barricaded the door and refused to let me leave, which worked. I spent four hours playing games, singing and dusting off my teacher skills.

You CANNOT listen to this and NOT dance. It's impossible.
You CANNOT listen to this and NOT dance. It’s impossible.

I left with a huge smile on my face and Taylor’s lyrics in my head…then, I got on the elevator. It was me, Luna and a priest. A priest. In a children’s hospital. Holding what looked like a Bible. He got off before me and headed to someone’s room, and I wanted to jump out and ask him “why?!”. What happened? Why is he needed? Where is he going? HOW DOES ANYONE HANDLE ANY OF THIS? Again, I left in tears. I left with my happy healthy baby, thinking it’s so unfair. I felt very low.

Tonight, I got to see Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer the musical at TPAC, which I will be reviewing tomorrow! It was adorable, and Luna got to come! She loved the show and I can’t wait to tell you about our experience. I came home to Husband standing in the driveway waiting for me to pull-up so he could turn on the lights he had just put on the house, all by himself. He spent all of his time at home alone, baby-less, putting our first lights on the house. It was the best Christmas surprise! I oooh’d and awww’d over his hard work, then hurried in to put Luna to bed. I was definitely on a high.

Our house looks nothing likes this, but this is how I felt when the lights turned on.
Our house looks nothing likes this, but this is how I felt when the lights turned on.

As I rocked her to sleep, I began browsing my phone, which I hadn’t done all day. That’s when I learned the lowest of the low. That’s when I learned about Pakistan.

moms

 

How? Why? WTF?!

I have spent the rest of the night reading article upon article about the tragic school shooting in Peshawar, Pakistan today. 132 children dead. 132. As I began reading the horror story that took place today, I didn’t think about the government’s reaction to the attack or the extremist terrorist and their perverted beliefs. All I can think about are the students, the teachers and the families.

The students who ate their breakfast thinking about their upcoming math test and set next to their best friend in class, maybe even passed secret notes about their crushes. The teachers who stayed up late last night planning a science project and probably forgot their lunch on the kitchen counter. Then, the parents, the parents who send their kids to school to learn, think, dream, grow and become hard-working successful adults. No parent sends their child to school thinking they won’t come home. How many of those parents rushed their kids off to school without a second thought? What if they forgot to kiss them good-bye? What if they argued over something silly, like what they were wearing? What if that was me? Us?

I didn’t intend on writing about such a serious topic tonight. If fact, I planned to go straight to bed and writing nothing at all, but that was before I knew. How can I not address it? As a mother and a teacher, it feels too close to home. It’s important for us to talk about these issues, to recognize them, pray for those families, acknowledge their loss, look for answers and show support. They need us. Those families need all the love they could possible receive. Hug your kids a little tighter tonight, send them to school with a thankful heart tomorrow and keep Pakistan in your thoughts. I cannot imagine the loss they feel. My love, peace and courage outweigh the fear that is trying to be instilled.

xo

Being Brave

I had a doctor appointment today. It was just a standard check-up. My doctor wanted to see me one last time before I move to Tennessee. My last appointment went fairly well. My medicines had been working, and I really like my doctor so my nerves were relatively low. This doctor appointment was not quite as calm.

As excited as I am about moving and being a homeowner, I am also very very anxious. I don’t feel anxious. I feel excited and stressed at times, but not anxious. However, my body has a mind of its own and has been showing every symptom of anxiety, including: headaches, mouth ulcers, inability to eat/digest food, insomnia and panic attacks just to name a few. So, when my doctor asked “How have you been?” it took every bit of me not to cry.

I hate admitting that I am not don’t feel perfect. I typically only go to the doctor when I am sure that I am 100% healthy. I make sure to get eight hours of sleep the night before, eat only the healthiest of food the day before and I don’t even have coffee until after each doctor appointment. Every visit feels like a test, and I’ve always been a straight A student. I only want to answer her question with “Awesome! I feel absolutely perfect!”

The doctor just stared at me as I whispered “Not great” and then said “So tell me what’s going on”. I love my doctor she is calm, sweet, understanding and never treats me like I’m crazy. She takes everything I say very seriously and then proceeds to talk to me like child who is afraid of the dark. She assures me that I will be okay, things will get better and that it is perfectly acceptable to use a night-light when I am scared.

The doctor has been my substitute psychologist as well. She always asks me to tell her EVERYTHING, so I do. The words spill out of me like a faucet I can’t turn off….I’m moving. My husband isn’t here. I have to leave my job. I’m living out of a suitcase. I don’t have a new job. I’m scared I can’t get pregnant. I don’t know if I even want a teaching job. It’s driving me crazy that I can’t be at my house right now making sure the jobs are all getting done. I have one million things to do before moving. My medicine isn’t working. I had a panic attack in the stairwell….

She listened and let me talk without ever interrupting. When I finished she calmly said that she doesn’t deal well with change either. Some people just have a hard time with change. Even changes that one may be very excited about. She then gave me a list of things to do (workout more, eat healthier, drink less caffeine, don’t be too scared of my Xanax prescription, check blood pressure more often), and I just thought “awesome, more stuff to add to my list”.

We said our good-byes and thank you’s, and I left feeling utter relief. I began walking towards Starbuck’s (my big girl reward for going to the doctor) and without warning began crying. I don’t know if I felt so relieved to have survived another doctor appointment, or maybe it was verbally releasing all my concerns or that I just needed to cry. Whatever it was, I stood on the sidewalk between the doctor’s office and Starbucks and cried. I didn’t want strangers to start throwing pity change my way, so I pulled on my sunglasses and pretended to play on my phone as the tears rolled down my cheeks.

*I wrote this blog last night because I was feeling brave. Brave because I am still facing my fears, and brave for being so open here in my little blog world. However, I also felt wrong. After, all the news reports, photos and videos from yesterdays tornado’s in Oklahoma it just did not feel right to share a story about my “bravery”. I was brave, yes, but I cannot imagine the bravery the parents, teachers, neighbors, doctors, fire fighters and friends of the Moore and Oklahoma city are all showing.

Instead of ending this with a proper conclusion, which I suck at writing anyways, I’ll end by just sending out some positive vibes and a big giant prayer to everyone effected by the storm.

And with this video…because it’s so happy and so moving.

http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=50147264n

This woman lost everything. EVERYTHING. She’s thankful to just be alive. Then, in the middle of the rubble, she finds her love! Such a miracle.

Cheers!

A Nightmare

Today’s the day I’m actually able to sit down and write for at least a full hour. The last week has been INSANELY busy. We have had two friends staying with us, and of course work has been busier than ever. Oh, and it’s the holiday season! All week I have been mentally writing my blogs. What should I share first? How do I describe this?? When am I going to talk about that?? How do I select out of my thousands of collected photos???

Then, today happened.

My Mom called me the second I finished teaching my last class to ask if I heard the news.”No.” I had not even had time to look at my phone since 8:30am. Then, she told me about the school shooting in Connecticut. I listened to her describe the events in detail and my eyes welled with tears. We spoke until I got home, where I found Husband and I cried to him.

As a teacher, my biggest fear is losing a student. I once had a child get in a car accident and for the split second I waited to here “He’s okay”, I felt I might die. I cannot begin to comprehend what this school and its employees are feeling. We love our students as our own. The pain of losing one must be tremendous. I imagine we will here lots of heroic teacher stories over the next few days.

As a woman who cannot wait to have her own children, I am devastated. Parents all over the country are counting their blessing tonight. My heart breaks when I think of the parents who heard the news and rushed to the school not knowing if their child was safe.

It does not feel right to share any “positively panicked” posts today, just positive prayers and thoughts to everyone affected by this tragedy.

Hugs, Kisses, and Lots of Love

Hil