I had a conversation with my mother in-law yesterday. We were talking about work and why I keep getting carried away with one grant after the other. Most of them are also not successful. In other words, you may be carried away with work and still have nothing to show for it. I heard myself say during the course of the conversation that I could go days without eating, if I have to when it comes to writing my grants. It also doesn’t matter if they are all unsuccessful. I also noted that I really don’t know why especially because I don’t need anyone of them. Of course becoming a successful grant writer is wonderful but the stress of it all makes you wonder why even bother. In the course of our dialogue I also framed my reasoning in this way: I don’t need wealth, just sustainable health and healing to all who deserve this right. It has always been for people and how they can have sustainable healing. Writing in this manner is full of sleepless nights and extremely stressful. I still do it because I believe in the cause. If one person can be saved through something I worked to get a grant for, then I will be content. The one I am writing these days is beyond me. I told my partner in writing that I thought we had written difficult grants but this one is something else. I may not get it. But I learnt something new about myself during this process. That I am willing and able to talk to anyone to bring my crazy dreamed up ideas to life, anyone one. That to me is the gift that grant writing keeps giving and for that I am content, win or lose. So to close: I don’t need wealth. Just sustainable health. To all those who deserve this right.
We are kicking off this summer with 100 days of books, books, and more books with my kids. I believe in leading by example and so to kick off, I just finished reading Words with Wings by Nikki Grimes. It was a beautiful, easy, effortless story of how a girl who loved to day dream turned her day dreams into words. She was of course aided by a teacher who saw the magic inherent with day dreaming and flipped his classroom to accommodate the girl and her day dreaming behavior. I loved this because I saw myself in Gabby. I am a day dreaming girl to the core and these days I turn them into grants. The one I am currently working on began as a day dream and it took 4 days, yes 4 days to put a draft together before we travelled out of town. I was able to travel and rest simply because my day dreams turned into words which then turned into a very rough first draft of the grant. Of course editing is the toughest part of any grant, but I am happy this one began as a dream. Only time will tell if this dream turns into reality.
In the meantime, my kids read if I had a tail and according to my 8 year old if he had one, he would use it to write. My 9 year old will fly with her tail while my five year old will wag his tail around just because. Happy summer days of reading.
They say there will be mornings like this. Meltdowns too like this. Toothache pain from nowhere. Tears flowing non-stop. Listening to Favor. All of us wondering. Whether we will prosper. In this space where horses roam free. We will. Not when blue skies greet us good morning. Grass the perfect shade of green too. And air as gentle as can be, reminds us that everything will be alright. Everything will. Now that we choose, choose and choose rest!
Boys smiling together. In search of twigs, chasing birds, basking underneath tall trees, with their cool breeze. You can’t stay here forever. I wish. Forever here, stay, can you?
It feels good to step away. Remembering to rest again. All it does, like the green on trees, will make you seek new ways. I am leaning on light. Leaning on green blending with skies so blue. We are on our way, to a place where cows, brown and white graze as they should all day. Trees tall and erect, do it better than me. Not because they know their roots. Not because they know that which keeps them erect. No branch, no leaf, no green is out of place. They only know light. Flowing through rivers born near mountains. They know grace too. Ask them how, and they will show why being here matters. They teach us how to rest. Today, I belong to them again.
Many times we begin and start, a new day, a school year, time again. Many times, we were bitter, sad, joyful, glad again. That this time, this year, this day, ends, just as we prayed it would, is the bittersweet, joyful thing, I hope greets you this time, this year, this day again and again.
My heart still bleeds for Uvalde. But I am thankful for today, this time. Hug those you love.
I have been numb since last night. Trying to make sense of unrecognizable children, parents giving DNA samples, the horror within grounds that are supposed to teach and not kill will keep you numb. I am still at loss of words even as I try to make sense of what happened in Uvalde with words. We were just here last week. Just here asking anyone who come to this space if for a second to keep Buffalo in mind. Keep track of empty promises. Keep even how we collectively make sense of lives gone so soon. To think some of the graves are not even cold, keeps me numb. Some of the dead from before warned us about this failed state we call ‘We the people.’ This isn’t is about we or the people or the rights you think belong to you because you live in this moment, this phase we call life. I have seen chickens die, in thoughtful ways than the children at Uvalde. I have seen birds live and die with dignity than 4th graders and their teachers in Uvalde. I have even seen ants be treated with compassion, worms too with love, than children who lived and died as children, our greatest treasures because of our failure to act.
This is more than a fight for life. Guns and people are killing people with guns. The sum of us had it right. We have been socialized into becoming a society where shooting in schools is normal. The same goes for shooting at the grocery store, shooting at a church, shooting at a movie, even shooting of our neighbors simply because we have the right to bear arms. Our systems of rights, the one focused on guns, is the beginning of our downfall as a people. We can never be for and with people, if we believe in rights to kill people. That’s what we do everyday when we do nothing.
We did nothing ten years ago after Sandy Hook. We did nothing 10 days ago after Buffalo. We cannot in good faith do nothing after Uvalde. 19 parents will go home once again without a chance to say goodnight to their children. So pardon me, but I am angry that we live like this. Angry because I live in a system that continues to allow this to happen. Angry because we are traumatized and retraumatized everything another shooting occurs. Angry because empty promises are not enough. Angry for our children who deserve the right to be children and not face school drills focused on mass shooting. Angry as a mother, a teacher, a human being for the way we continue to treat human lives worse than dogs. We cannot shut up and accept this. We have a right to fight for we the people. Otherwise the next shooter will come along. He or she will bear those guns again and we will find ourselves here once more, numb to what we keep allowing. Uvalde could have been prevented. Buffalo too and certainly Sandy Hook.
I want to breathe free and live and not die by guns that I do not bear. I deserve that right too. To not bear arms, and still live. We have ignored this hidden wound for so long that maggots are now coming out of the carnage we brought on ourselves. The pain inflicted by guns is real. Ask any of the parents in Uvalde right now. Ask anyone in Buffalo. Ask those in Sandy Hook. Ask those in Columbine too. Truth and healing is what we all need right now. And the truth is, we are a failed state if we continue to live by guns. Otherwise what kind of country allows children to die in a senseless way. What kind of country allows people to die at grocery stores too. We the people or we the guns!
What I know is, guns are bad. They have always been bad. Always been the downfall of life. And the time to act against guns is now. Enough is beyond enough. My heart is broken. It palpitates everything another shooting occurs like today. The realization that nowhere is safe sinks deeply in my soul. Not when schools are not safe. 21 dead again. Not when grocery stores are not safe. 10 dead before. Not when churches are not safe. 9 dead before that. Nowhere is safe when guns remain all we know, all we cling too, like Jesus dying on a cross. Even he lived and died not by guns, not by senseless death, and certainly not by those who cling to inhumanity for humanity sake. This isn’t a gathering of words for the sake of words. No words will do when people continue to meet their graves in senseless ways. Just brace for impact or when these guns come knocking at your door. Even your prayers won’t do. Unless we collectively act against guns.
Memories like from this weekend, sink deeply into my soul. Good people are rare. Good food too. A belly full of laughter from boys cheerful with their joy, is forever etched in my memory. Black boy joy surrounded by grey elephants is truly magical. I am walking into this week full of thanks for being among people so good, boys so delightful too, for whom memories of doing together will forever linger.
‘So there are no models. Create from scratch. Checkout everything for health or disease. Know then that revolution begins with self, in the self. You make false starts because of the models you use. Ask questions instead. Everything is incompatible with those that believe in we the people. Reject the opinions of those who love to explain us to us. Reject all notions of roles not committed to us. We got time. Mouth won’t do it. Neither would haste, urgency or stretch-out-now insistence. Not when a revolution, so needed for us is here.’
That’s what Toni Bambara said in Black Woman. It’s my mood for the rest of the year.