Tuesday, March 8, 2011

new beginnings

Happy Fat Tuesday, everyone!  I've been up early after a long day yesterday.  Thinking a lot about the past, right now, and carrying on tomorrow.  I took this picture this morning for friends who are still locked up in cold and snow- trying to give them a glimpse of spring that is surely coming (and in return, I'm asking for deep summer pictures of shade and cool streams when I'm sweltering in the sauna that is Memphis in late summer).

I've kept politics out of this space, but I am a very political person.  I've jumped around a bit where I stand on many different issues, but I believe that we can affect the changes we want to see.  I have been very involved recently in a local issue.  This morning, thinking about the past and future, my family and I encouraged other parents and voters in Memphis to vote in today's referendum to combine the city and county school districts.  There has been so much division in my community for too long- divisions over race, income levels, education, geography.  I try to never speak ill of Memphis- I love it, but it is like a dysfunctional family.  After I heard the NPR piece yesterday morning, I felt physically ill.  This situation is a mess, but ignoring it and maintaining separate school systems won't fix our problems.  If you're reading this and you live in Memphis, please go out and vote YES today.  The schools need serious reforms, but voting to maintain the status quo will only serve to further marginalize children who are already at risk.

So, appropriate that voting day is on Fat Tuesday, the day before Lent begins.  For many people, Lent is about giving something up.  Deprivation is pretty easy for me- grace and beginning again are harder.  This year, as in years past, I'm taking on the habit of gratitude.  And after spending 10 hours yesterday  glazing pottery and pushing myself too hard, I'm also going to work on being kinder and more gentle with myself.  A bit more Grace for Me.  And by extension, grace and gentleness for those around me.  Lent is a time for preparation; Spring is coming, it's time to begin anew.  Tomorrow, no matter how the election is decided, Memphis will begin preparing its children and its schools for the future.  I hope we'll be unified.  I resolve to be grateful that we were given an opportunity to decide and grateful that the will of the people will prevail. 

More pottery talk later this week. 
I'll keep the rest of my political opinions to myself. 
Celebrate Mardi Gras, y'all!


Julie Nolte Owen said...

I heard the NPR piece, too. I've been praying all day that the merger will pass. We are public school supporters in a large, urban school district, and I'm keenly aware of the disparities between schools within the district and between surrounding, suburban districts. I hope that Memphis can be a model of transformation for other communities. We need so much healing.

hannah said...

I hope it went well. Things are so stressful right now with politics and how to deal with money. Sigh. May we get through this tough time with as few grey hairs as possible!

And this year, for Lent, I've decided to give up self-criticism. But I think your description of generosity and grace goes along with that. It can be so easy to give these things to others, but not to myself. I expect this journey is going to be a difficult but eye-opening one. It is so great to know that there are so many others embarking on this 40 day journey, it helps make it stick.

Best of luck on your Lenten fast.

bridgmanpottery said...

I couldn't be more tickled that the referendum passed, overwhelmingly. And it seems to be good. And everyone seems to be ready to work. Praying that the lawsuits will drop.
Blessed and holy Lent, friends.

Sarahrachel said...

I think Memphians who are committed to Memphis feel the same way; we love the city, but there is so much to be done. I'm so hopeful for the schools now. I heard Mayor Wharton speak last year at a credit union dinner and I saw a glimmer of progress. It's a long road, but there are so many who want to make our city a better place to live.

Lent is a somber time of reflection. I rarely "give up" anything--instead I add lectio divina daily and meditate more frequently. However, right now I've gone vegan, so I guess you could say I've given up more than a few things. : )