I am a regular at Moral Mondays. Dressed in 89% pink 10% purple and 1% other, sequestered in the shade and respectfully attentive to the impassioned voices of our community leaders. It is awe-inspiring to be a part of this historical moment in NC history, not because our government snuffed our State’s flame of greatness, but because there are so many of us united in the battle to reignite it.
But I was hesitant to go inside the Legislative Building until one sweltering afternoon the allure of cold air and fresh water overcame me. With my history of issues with authority, I assumed that I might be arrested just for my contemptuous gait to the water fountain so I nervously typed up a dramatic text to my husband.
“I’m going in.” I said.
Immediately he responded:
“Do not get arrested. No money for bail. If go to jail, will tell girls their mother is courageous.”
I read that and started to weep, not because my husband had just told me he was going to leave me in a jail cell all night, but because he recognized that it took courage for me to stand up. Every time I have ever stood up to an injustice, I was consumed with fear. I wish having courage looked like it did in the movies, but in reality courage is a rapid heartbeat, untethered tears, barely contained rage, a touch of Tourette’s and a sucked in belly. The reward is that courage always trumps regret. I hope to teach my children, it is never easy being courageous, but it is the only way to fully grasp the reverence for life.
I was respectful and nothing happened to me while I was inside the General Assembly, except the realization that there is nothing to fear about entering into the people’s house unless of course I was being respectful on the first floor. Then I would be going to jail for the evening.
Later that night when I returned home both of my children were standing at the top of the stairs, freshly bathed and presumably ready for their bedtime stories. The oldest looked at me with surprise and a touch of despair.
“Mama, I thought you were going to jail?” she asked.
Sensing a teachable moment I said. “No darling, mama is not going to jail, but she is going to stand up for the rights of the people in this State. For women to have the right to their own body, for the citizens to have the right to vote and for educators to have the right to a living wage.”
For a moment both girls looked down at me with quiet desperation.
Then the little one looked up at her forlorn older sister and sighed the words.
“I guess this means we can’t watch TV now.”
So as I embark on my last Moral Monday, I pay respects for those arrested and vow to keep the light of justice ablaze and the glare of Spongebob Squarepants very, very dark.