Standing Tall


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The really beautiful thing about turning 48 on a college campus is the gifts you receive from the 18, 19 and 20 somethings who cross your path.  There is so often a hint of old soul wisdom behind those unwrinkled flawless eyes.

Recently, I shared some very disappointing news with one such soul.  I found myself feeling ashamed of all of us that we cannot seem to figure out how to hold people accountable for the ways they harm one of us.  I felt immeasurably sad and overwhelmed with guilt that I could not protect her from the harsh reality of the frailty of humanity nor our inherent brokenness that keeps us from hearing and being heard.

Fully anticipating her rage (probably because that is how I was feeling) she surprised me by saying “a man can’t ride you unless your back is bent,” (ML King).  And she offered comfort by reassuring me that when she walked around campus she would hold her head high.

And so I begin my 49th year now a little taller thanks to her.  A little taller, a little more confident and most days filled with gratitude for everyone in my orbit.

It’s fun to tell people good news.  But it’s in the sharing of the heartbreaking news where the real poetry lies.  Or at least that’s the gift I was given this September for my birthday.  And, speaking of birthdays, thanks, Mom from C-section #6.  My deepest appreciation for defying doctor’s orders to stop at Margaret’s birth.

Yes, I appreciate the use of your uterus for 40 weeks as well as your stubborn streak you passed on to me.  Comes in quite…handy.