If we just let it be

The girls slept in this morning. We shipped the little ones off to my sister’s house and took our big girl to the library after starting a couple loads of laundry.  We floated the idea of going to the protest march downtown on Saturday. Fee said, I don’t want to. I mean, I don’t like Donald Trump, but I don’t know about a protest.

Ha. Poor girl has thus insured that she’s going to her first protest. I should probably be ashamed that she’s nine and never yet been to one.  To give her full credit, she changed her tune pretty quickly and already planned the sign she will be making.  It will say “Health Care! Health Care!” and then have a crying emoji and under it I’ll write “someone with no health care.”

Last year on this day, Facebook reminds me, we were watching Josh graduate with his MFA. I missed worship, on one of my favorite Sundays of the year.  This year, I read Freedom on the Menu to the kids at our family service, along with the book of Esther. We talked about Dr. King, and being called “for just such a time as this.” And then we prayed that we would know what to do in our time. After that, I drove down to 95th to attend the 11am worship service at Trinity UCC with our confirmation class. It was wonderful — I told Josh, “I laughed, I cried” — it was absolutely just what I needed the week before this inauguration.

This year, many of my Facebook friends noted, the marking of MLK’s birthday seems harder.  Never in my lifetime has his legacy of nonviolent resistance to an unjust government seemed more critically important.  Last week, reading up on confirmation hearings, and the threatened demise of the Affordable Care Act done under cover of night, I heard the words of Jesus to his disciples, warning about hypocrisy, ringing in my ears:

Nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. Therefore whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be proclaimed from the housetops. (Luke 12:2-3)

I was grateful to all of my friends and colleagues who went to trainings and rallies today; part of me wishes I had. But I was filled up and empowered at Trinity yesterday, and even by preparing and leading our little family service. And I needed a rest. This coming week will be full. Meetings, open house, science fair, and, of course, the march on Saturday.

There’s so much to say and do, so much to read; and so much at stake. We have entered an era in which political leaders from the party in power are comfortable with bold faced lies, callous indifference to the needs of the people, and astounding ignorance.

I didn’t read any of King’s writing today — but I do so with frequency, my copy of his collected works still full of the post-it notes and marginalia of grad school — but I did alter my soundtrack for the day. John Legend worked on the Obama campaign in 2008 and was inspired in a host of ways — by the organizing, the hope, the concrete vision for change and engagement. He worked with the Roots to cover a bunch of 60s and 70s R&B songs about social justice and released Wake Up! in 2010. It’s great (it won a grammy that year). You should listen to it.

The one that struck me today was the eponymous single, which features Legend along with Melanie Fiona and rapper Common.  The chorus goes like this:

The world won’t get no better
If we just let it be
The world won’t get no better
We gotta change it yeah,
Just you and me.

I still feel convicted that we’re not doing enough (though we’ve started monthly donations to Planned Parenthood and the ACLU and we have three young children and a slightly bewildering mortgage). I call my representatives, and others’ representatives, though not as often as I should.  But that doesn’t mean that we can’t start somewhere. Doing something is better than nothing. The world won’t get no better if we just let it be.

So, come Friday we’ll be painting posters, and on Saturday, we’ll wake up early and head downtown.

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My twitter tagline is "Fiercely interested in most things." Writer, mom, pastor, spouse, daughter, sister, citizen -- not in any order, and usually all at once. Nearly life-long resident of Cook County, IL, for better and for worse.

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