We are all feeling intense emotions these days in relation to world events. Sometimes we are given the opportunity to experience these same themes within the microcosm of our own lives. The other day in my back parking lot I was given this opportunity so clearly that it's almost laughable. I was getting my baby into the car and driving off to pick up my oldest daughter. Once I started the car I saw what looked like a Grandfather and teenage grandson exiting my neighbor's home and walking to their van which was right next to my car. I have been keeping a watchful eye on this van over the past few months because it has some hateful bumper stickers on it like, " lock her up," and other things that really make my blood boil. The teenager was wearing a Trump shirt. Upon seeing all of this, essentially in my backyard, I broke down in tears. On any day I would be stirred up by seeing a young person wearing that shirt but two days after Charlottesville?! I was undone. This young man has been taught to hate. I had never seen the driver or passenger before and thought this might be a good time to confront them. My plan was to pull to the front of the lot, collect myself, and school them both. I feel fiercely protective of my family and wanted to make it clear that their ignorance would not be tolerated here.
As I pulled myself together and turned to open my door I noticed an elderly neighbor right outside the car preventing me from going anywhere. I instead rolled down the window and said 'hello.' She asked me if the girls were in the car and I told her the baby was in back and we were on our way to pick up her big sister. She asked me if I liked being a Mom. I responded, "I absolutely love it. I'm so lucky to have two wonderful children." Boy, did she snap me out of my rage! She responded by saying, "Well you're a natural mother. You're four year old is amazing, she said the other day, 'I love everything in the garden, the flowers and even the bugs." Looks like I'm the one that got schooled! After sufficiently buttering me up this lovely woman asked me for a ride to the bakery. The van exiting the back lot waited patiently as my neighbor and I chatted and as she got in the car. This experience really hit me over the head with a clear lesson. Sharing love with people who can receive it is what I need to focus on right now. I have no problem speaking up for people of color in work situations or social situations when acquaintances don't know that I have a mixed family. My oldest daughter and I are white/white looking undercover allies. Speaking with people once I have earned their respect and when I can do so in a loving way or using humor is most effective but, to approach two strangers in my Mama bear state would not have been productive or even safe. I'm so grateful to my neighbor for showing up when I needed her most. She gently brought me back to love and compassion. She helped me by asking for help.
Creating a safe home and loving environment for my family, friends, coworkers, clients, and neighbors is of paramount importance right now. Building spaces and communities like this is hard work and is in no way passive or not enough. We all get pulled off track by the drama these days. Let's work together to keep our eyes on the prize. Help in a way that's easy and comes naturally to you. When you work toward a cause in a way that's genuine you become unstoppable. We know that love is still winning because of Barack Obama's recent tweet that became the most popular tweet ever. The Nelson Mandela quote that Obama tweeted ends powerfully, "People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite." Do what comes with ease by teaching and living love. If we all remember this and stop giving time, energy and air time to hate the world will be a better place.