Son: Why did they make a statue with liberty on it?
Lately, #WhiteLivesMatter has interrupted the headlines. Maybe it’s because Charlottesville is close to my childhood home or because I have little ones, but this moment in history has convicted me deeply.
You’ve got to show love to everyone, Lauren.
The elephant in the room has gotten too real. Yesterday morning I rewrote my ENGL 1101 lesson plans. The last 20-25 minutes in each of my three classes would be left open for discussion – REAL discussion, you know, the kind that involves messy politics and the things that are actually on our minds.
So I sat in front of the class and jumped right in, “What’s going on in our country?”
Our lives have become filled with negative things – ugly things we do our best to bury deep. Lately, it’s been hard. Take a look around Facebook. Or, even worse, Twitter.
But the eclipse, I would argue, changed it all. For one day, politics wasn’t the focus. Yes, we should all still care what President Trump says and does, but the distraction was – in a word – welcome.
Last week, I was scrambling to order glasses in time. My husband may be the scientist, but the eclipse offered something so rare, so human.
I craved a reason to look up.
What do you say when the world seems full of hate? Well, the truth is, it isn’t.
It just feels that way.
How do we honor the fallen? It’s a question that’s been rattling around in my mind for some time.
I teach veterans. I am friends with veterans. I once loved a veteran.
But, the truth is, very few of us know the stories of those who died protecting every freedom we hold dear. What were their final thoughts? What insights would they have wanted the world to know?
I think Portraits of Courage by George W. Bush gets close. Beyond the incredible paintings, Bush penetrates the gaping vulnerabilities left in wounded veterans.
In many ways, it offers a rare glimpse into the painful inside of war.
Excited to share my first guest post! Thank you to Grinia at Mirror & Soul for the opportunity and to all the veteran students who have made me a better teacher, mother, and learner.
“A Veteran’s Lesson in Courage”
I could tell he was nervous. There is this dance of eye contact aversion that my quietest students have perfected. But I teach at the college level – composition, to be exact – and public speaking is a rite of passage.
In full disclosure, I had been anticipating this moment for over 24 hours. The student, a veteran in his mid-20s, had a story to tell.
Lately, there has been talk of education in a place where few teachers exist: politics. This post isn’t about Mrs. Betsy DeVos (don’t worry, she repulses me as well). Instead, my message comes from the heart.
This is what it means to pour yourself into a profession that is only valued by those on the inside.
Everyone has an opinion
I’d like you to know that
I do as well.
Few things liberate the soul quite like a good run. For myself, four miles is the “Zen zone” – the magical point at which surroundings fade and stress melts. And this is how I was enticed to run my first half-marathon. Only 9 more miles, right?
I prepared myself as any athlete might. Morning and evening stretches. Ice after long runs. And caffeinated GU – the chocolate variety.
But, come race day, the obstacles weren’t at all what I expected. Amazingly, I paced one minute faster than my training (8:13) for the entire race. When the finish line finally entered my sights, less than half of a mile stood between my sneakers and victory.
In the last few miles, a strange thought struck me. I hadn’t seen another female runner in a while. But this was a public race, and it was 2011.
And, just like that, I hit my second wind and felt the release to sprint.
Only I didn’t expect what came next. I was tripped. I was pushed. I was cursed. It seemed that every man I attempted to pass in that final stretch demanded I take the path of increased resistance.
Was it jealousy? Perhaps.
Was it anger? In some instances.
Was it sexism? This one still lingers.