Part 2: What Young People Teach


I witnessed George Floyd being murdered. And I felt deep within me a scream of trauma (for this black man, for myself, for my nation, for humanity) and then this enormous anxiousness and tightness bound me.

I know I am an empath and I found myself totally overwhelmed and stuck.

Next I heard about a protest in downtown Alamogordo, New Mexico and felt compelled to go. Many decades have passed since I made a sign and stood up. I have found many other ways to make change over the years but this evoked memories of losing 2 friends in the Vietnam Nam war and the profound experience of an AIDS Memorial Quilt where all you could really do in the face of overwhelming helplessness was to open your heart and stand witness in community. So I made a sign with the single word “GRACE” on it.

Grace to me means healing and mercy. I think in retrospect I chose this word as a plea in the face of the scream I was continuing to experience. I chose it as a prayer for not only those on the sidewalks in my town but as honor to the enormous pain that was emerging across my country.

I feel like I kind of staggered toward the protest held tight with anxiousness and stuckness. I was so in need of community. As I arrived all these young people were on their bellies on a blistering hot sidewalk, masks on to thwart a virus, in total silence.

This blew to bits any barriers of mine to grief and I began to sob.

It was a peaceful protest and a myriad of human emotions were expressed. Local law enforcement held a circle of safety around us and one officer joined in silence for awhile.

I understand from others that in fact there were many ages represented but I believe I saw what I needed and that was young people. I recognize my fatigue and I needed to know another generation would find their voice…honoring a life, experiencing profound and dignified sadness and raging that there must be change. Grace was present for me.

Many of you know my core in life can be found in celebrating kairos. I write a lot about it. I seek and notice it and feel centered when it washes over me. Time stands still and I experience grace and eternity. This protest cracked open my thin and terrorized veneer and there was kairos.

So now the young people are organizing themselves into a social action group and I have decided to lend my support. They have not asked for this nor may not recognize it is happening. I think it is more my journey in embracing my elder status and attempting to pass on some wisdom and mentoring. And, of course, they take some wrong turns and that is about being human.