It won’t be easy to fit the Boston March for Our Lives into my day tomorrow: I teach a Nia class that ends at 10:30 and it’s at least a thirty-minute drive to Boston in my sweaty dance clothes, not to mention I have to find parking and figure out how to catch up with marchers on the move since 10 a.m. I can’t stay downtown past two– the dogs need walking and I’m due at a friend’s for dinner back in the ‘burbs at six, bearing a salad for eight. Somewhere in there, it would be nice to grab a shower. I know, cry me a river.
But I’m going to make it happen, because it’s the least I can do.
I’m going to make it happen, because these extraordinary young people are reminding us that we are all connected, all part of the same soup of humanity: vulnerable, scared, powerful, drawing on a source of courage and compassion that’s miraculously individual and wholly universal.
I’m going to make it happen, because at my core and above all else, before I am an artist or a dancer, a teacher, a friend, a believer, a wife, I am a mother. And mothers protect their children. Fiercely.
I’m going to make it happen, because I have experienced the transformative power of love. I have felt its force roll through my life like a strong current–we all have at some point, however fleeting– and I am so grateful. St. Matthew quotes Jesus: “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” All the great teachers have told us that love is all. So if Jesus isn’t your thing, try Buddha: “Hatred does not cease by hatred, but only love. This is the eternal rule.” Or Muhammed: “Verily, God is Compassionate and is fond of compassion, and He gives to the compassionate what He does not give to the harsh.” Thousands will gather across the country and the world tomorrow – there are over 800 March for Our Lives events across the globe – in the name of Love, and love will surely be present. I’ll do my best to add my thimbleful to that tide.
I’m going to be there, because I want to support the next generation of leaders in this country. These high schoolers and college students have guts and poise beyond their years. Sure, they lack experience. They are not any wiser or more gifted than any other generation of passionate youth. (Although they are certainly media savvy. PR and social media skill is baked into their psyches like butter in pound cake.) But by god, they are rising to the occasion. Witnessing their commitment, can I be so lazy or complacent as to leave that work to them, schoolkids scared for their lives, terrified that some terrorist, sociopath, or suffering classmate with an assault weapon and an ax to grind will strafe them in AP bio, that they’ll be the next ones to text: “I’m under the desk, but I’m okay, Mom,” or “Daddy, I’m so scared. Why is this happening?”
I’m going to get my ass to the March because there is momentum, and my conscience insists that it is vital to do everything in my power to assist this forward motion, lean my shoulder into the boulder and heave to, even if the damn thing only budges a whisper. Literally today, the Senate is considering the STOP School Violence Act to prevent school shootings and the Fix NICS Act to help close gaps in our background check system; it passed the House last week and is this close to becoming law. The Florida legislature, too, recently passed meaningful regulations balancing our fundamental rights to life and liberty with the second amendment right to bear arms, including raising the minimum age for purchasing an AK-15 to twenty-one years old. Corporations such as Dick’s Sporting Goods and Walmart have shown moral courage, requiring all gun purchasers to be 21 or older regardless of local laws, ending sales of assault-style weapons and even toys. They are losing money over it. Can you imagine the NRA ever valuing lives more than money? I’d like to.
I’m going to make it to the March because I am a person of faith, and my soul tells me always to follow the Love, to be a channel for compassion, to shine the light of kindness and gentleness in a violent, chaotic world. Of course, I forget all the time. I flip off drivers who cut me off and nurse grudges against Fox News propagandists, for example. I’m more of a hand-wringer and a complainer than a doer in the face of injustice; it’s been so easy in my world of privilege to look away. I’m fortunate to have had little cause for personal outrage, which makes my motives suspect, or silly, in the eyes of those who have suffered more systemically or deeply. I have no defense, except to observe this: Our connectedness makes us stronger, our love, not our guns. How sad that it’s taken a bunch of brave, hurting children to remind us.
Whatever you do tomorrow, I hope you’ll take a minute to practice one of those bumper sticker “random acts of kindness” and keep the love moving.
I’ll be at the March. I’ve told you I’ll go, so now I have to. No excuses. No letting someone else do the heavy lifting without showing up to witness the work.
Care to join me? Click here to find a March for Our Lives event near you.