Originally posted at Provoketive Magazine
I’m writing this fairly late on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. I’ve been feeling like I wanted to write about Rev. King’s life and ministry, more intentionally this time than I have in past years, and I’m not totally sure why. I wonder if it has to do with the babies. Everything has to do with the twins, D and A, these days, now that they are growing up at the speed of light with all their crawling around and manipulating me with their cute, pout-y faces. They’re 10 months old. Old. And I know there’s still so much more to come with them.
I digress, but only slightly. I worry about them. I wonder what it will be like for them in elementary school, the horrible season of middle school, and the much-too-adult-like world of high school – if they will be judged or bullied, ignored or peer pressured because they look different. Not quite white. Not quite Korean. Granted, I know this will probably happen, and not simply because of their race, but because of their genders, or whatever their choices, even their faith (whatever it is in the future). But, for those who don’t have to deal with the question of race being an equation in people’s assumptions and expectations of you…they don’t get it. They don’t get that this question plagues you, haunts you, burdens you, and just sometimes makes you feel less certain about not only your ability, but about your humanity.
Of course, I want to protect them. I want to plant the seeds of King’s words deep into their consciences so that nothing can possibly tear out their dreams. I want their roots to grow into something beautiful, wild, free, and true. Because I had hoped for these babies for so long and hard that I can’t imagine anyone hurting them or taking away their experience of love and grace, and how they are God’s dear children.
And then, I remember what it was like to hope for them.
Hope is funny. And, not always funny in the “HA-HA, that’s hilarious,” or “HA, that’s clever/ironic/interesting.” Hope can be a bitch, too. When we were first trying to get pregnant, when my days were saturated with longing, possibility, despair, strange hope…I hated and despised hope for awhile. Hope, which created all these feelings and desires only seemed to accentuate the pain and loneliness of failure and disappointment, but I couldn’t help but get up each day because of that hope, only to get knocked down again…a vicious cycle. But, when that hope was finally and miraculously fulfilled, when we were cautiously optimistic, when they showed up and stole my heart and changed everything, I knew that hope would always be an undercurrent in my life.
Not simply as optimism or a naive clinging to fantasies, but as something that would constantly transform me from the inside out even if the world around me stayed the same. The babies literally transformed me from the inside, and out now. And because of that hope, I can and do hope andwork for a better world for them. Better schools. Better churches. Better communities. Better lives. Not a painless or pain-free world, but one where they will get up each day and use their hands and hearts to live honestly and passionately.
So, the timing of this post is serendipitous because who else to inspire hope more than MLK Jr? My 2012 MLK Jr. quote (since I and so many others post quotes on Facebook, which I actually do love and look forward to each year) is: “Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted.” There’s something poignant and real about the creatively maladjusted, and extremely appropriate to me and my life, particularly as I figure out motherhood and ministry. There’s hope for all of us, particularly the maladjusted, which I count myself to be wholeheartedly. I hope the babies feel free to do so in the future, too, no matter what others say or expect of them, as they grow into God’s beloved, and share God’s love and compassion with others.