The last few days I’ve been having to push back on some strong emotions … and I just couldn’t put my finger on why? Then it hit me. My subconscious has been tripping on anniversaries.
The anniversary of George Floyd.
The anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre (and yes … it’s a massacre – not a riot)
The anniversary of my triumphant return to Lansing after being unceremoniously dumped from my job at the start of the pandemic.
Thanks, in part, to my depression, my brain keeps getting hooked on the unfairness of it all … and then I continued my binging of Madam Secretary. It is a decent TV series that ran a couple seasons too long as it made a valiant attempt to be like The West Wing. But tonight, it gave some good lines of wisdom to help my brain get unstuck on unfairness.
Here’s the scene … Daisy (played by Patina Miller) is giving some students who won a essay writing contest a tour of the 7th Floor (where the senior staff have offices). They were to meet the Secretary of State (played by Téa Leoni) but she had to be in Italy to negotiate a treaty. Prior to the students arriving, Daisy expressed her fear of being a single black-mother in these times where black people are still being killed when pulled over. She tried to avoid talking to the students because she didn’t want her bitterness to kill their dreams. She, after some prodding by their teacher, Sister Anne, came up with some good words:
I know you all were hoping to meet the Secretary but unfortunately she is out of the country. I know. I know. But before we go into the Secretary’s office, I want you to take a look around. Six months ago, when Sister Anne told you “We’re going to Washington, DC, and we’re going to visit the State Department.” You probably said she was crazy. But six months later, here you are. I want you to take a moment to savor your achievement.
Because real talk? It doesn’t get any easier from here.
You know better than most that sometimes this world, this country, is not going to be fair. You won’t always be seen for the creative, enthusiastic young men and women that you are.
So on the bad days, when you’re tempted to give up, you’re going to have to find that belief in yourself. Because you can make it.
I know, because I made it. And you all are definitely smarter than me ‘cause I read your essays.
So remember the good days.
Later, in answering the question, “But then what, Anne? Get beaten down by the world, get inspired by kids until you get beaten down again, and repeat,” we hear:
Pretty much. Why do you think I work with them? Look, you do whatever small thing you can every day on the side of hope and justice. Just like you did today. I’m not saying it’s easy. But then I get to witness the radical transformative miracle of God’s love “on the regular” as the kids like to say.
So … as I conclude the anniversaries that fall on this day, thank you for all who remember the good days.
Thank you for all who do whatever they can on the side of hope and justice.
And thanks for those who help my stupid little brain get unhooked from the bad things in this world.