And Miles to go Before We Sleep. . .
My little Emma was born 12 years ago today in her typical dramatic fashion.
Two days later, Barack Obama was sworn in as president. We didn't have a television, so I asked the hospital if we could stay a little longer on "checkout" day so we could watch his inauguration with our kids. I didn't vote for Obama, but I knew it was a deeply important day and I wanted our little family to witness it together.
I remember driving on the back roads in Virginia once and a truck came up behind me, flying two confederate flags. The driver was probably an incredibly nice person. I make no assumptions. I only had this thought, "If I were a black woman or man, I bet I would feel incredibly nervous right now." It was a powerful shift for me, perhaps one of my first glimpses into my white privilege, reminding me that electing a black president was not some sort of a box we checked, "Phew, we don't have to worry about that racism problem anymore."
Is racism behind us? I'll let Robert Frost answer this:
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
We are at a moment of pause in what feels like the darkest evening of the year. Our capitol has been stormed. Our unity fractured. Our underbelly exposed. It's a shaky time full of mistakes.
We can look at the darkest evening of the year in despair. Or, we can remember that every night ends. And day after day, we keep traveling in the woods. Day after day, we try to get better to get closer to Dr. King's dream. We hold hands with more people. We seek to understand. We try again to keep our promises.
One foot in front of the other, we march, we rise, we try. We humans are lovely, dark, and deep. . . with miles to go before we sleep. Miles to go before we sleep.
Happy Martin Luther King Day.