I love taking a drive alone. It gives me time to think and process life, all the while listening to music I have listened to many, many times and singing along at the top of my lungs. It's my decompression time. Now, to be honest, I love taking car trips with Bob, but driving alone (most times) is relaxing to me. I am talking about driving for pleasure, not commuting. That's not pleasurable.
This morning, I was driving to Lancaster to begin the transition into the school year, and the drive was going along pretty well. The morning was pleasant, not too warm for the end of August. I was listening to the alphabetical list on the iPod, and Andrea Bocelli's "Canzone Stanata" came on. Now, confession IS good for the soul - I love this song, and it's not just because Stevie Wonder duets with Bocelli. It is an amazing work of art.
While I was realizing just how incredible the artistry was, I had a gut check (using non spiritual language for those who don't believe like I do). For those of you who do believe as I do, I had a "Come to Jesus" moment on the drive (wherever you see gut check, insert "Come to Jesus moment". Little did I know that that would not be the only one. Here's the essence - I am blessed to be driving to graduate school on a Thursday morning, listening to music that I love, going to a place I love, to study a subject I love.
And the tears flowed.
Ten minutes (ten miles) later, I missed a phone call from an old friend who left a message saying how much they loved and missed me, and how proud they were of me and my educational process. And as I was listening to the voice mail, I realized that this person, who happens to be a little whiter (OK, a LOT whiter) that I am, loved me. The essence of the second gut check - Love has no color.
At that moment, I had a flashback to a conversation I had with my younger sister a couple of years ago about her oldest son, RD, who just happens to be autistic. This particular meltdown went like this:
RD: Everbody hates me! Black people hate me! White people hate me!
YS: Well RD, that's not quite true. Miss Jones likes you, and she's black. Miss Smith likes you, and she's white. Uncle Guy loves you, and he's black. Uncle Bob loves you, and he's white, and...
RD: UNCLE BOB IS WHITE???
YS: (uncontrollable laughter, and proceeds to call her older brother and brother-in-law)
Love knows no color, and I was reminded about being in school, and mothers being "Mom", no matter whose mom it was. Marching band comes to mind immediately: Buckingham's mom went to the ER with me when I collapsed from not eating, and stayed until my mother could get there. Caryn Jackson's mother drove us to more practices and concerts than the law should have allowed. James (I still call him Jimmy) and Steve Meade's mom was ALWAYS there! Cora Alter, mother of one Juli Betts, loved all (however many of us it was) like we were her own personal brood. Love truly has no color. I still think Melinda Pratt has some inside information on who I REALLY am... (just kidding, but I will always remember the Pratt/Bartosh present to me on my 16th Birthday,and it included Hovermales!)
I then thought about my mother, and a story she used to love to tell about me as a baby. It seems that during one of her "religious explorations", we (she, my dad, and I) became Jehovah's Witnesses. Don't ask. Just don't. Don't. Since you are asking, my dad's girlfriend was a JW, and my mom joined to keep an eye on them. I never said they possessed emotional and marital intelligences.
Well, it seems that the Augusta, GA Kingdom Halls took a bus trip from Augusta to Brooklyn (bus trip!), the site of the Watchtower Society's headquarters. According to the late Mary Alice, I was passed all over the bus to every woman, black, white, or whatever. In her telling of the story, I was the happiest, laughing baby ever, and I loved everybody who got a hold of me. (Quite a radical notion in the early 70s.) That made me smile, and I realized that not much has changed. I still love anyone who crosses my path, black, white, or whatever, and I have never met a stranger. Thanks Mom.
Well, you would have throught the gut checks were done, but of course, they were not. The third one was especially for me - you are not a failure when you are not successful. You are a failure when you don't get back up and try again. That one knocked the wind out of me. I had to pull over for a minute to get myself together after that one. Law school was not a healthy experience for me. I made some good friends, but in hinsight, I was not mentally or emotionally prepared for the intensity that encompassed studying law. I thought for years I was a failure for not giving it a second try, and the message came through as clearly as the St. James' bells that peal on the hour - "That was NOT THE path or career for you. THIS IS!"
I get it now. Do you? If not, send me a message - I'll help you understand what it all means.