Legend has it that years after Rosa Parks became the âfirst lady of civil rightsâ a graduate student came to Ms. Parks and asked, âWhy did you sit down at the front of the bus that day?â Rosa Parks did not say that she sat down to launch a movement, because her motives were more elementary than that. She said, âI sat down because I was tired.â But she did not mean her feet were tired. She meant that her soul was tired, her heart was tired, her whole being was tiredâ¦ She decided, âI will no longer act on the outside in a way that contradicts the truth that I hold deeply on the inside.â
Where does one get the courage to âsit down at the front of the busâ in a society that punishes anyone who decides to live divided no more. People like Rosa Parks have transformed the notion of punishment itself. They have come to understand that no punishment anyone might inflict on them could possibly be worse than the punishment they inflict on themselves by conspiring in their own diminishment.â Parker Palmer
As we continue our journey with Parker Palmer in âLet Your Life Speak,â Palmer reminds me of the voice within that is continually calling me to radical honesty and radical trust. To bring his point to light, he retells the story of Rosa Parks monumental decision to take a seat at the front of the bus.
As I sit in her shadow, I pray for the courage to keep âsitting down.â My illusions tell me I will have a better life if I go with the status quo and keep trying to win the blessing of people that will honor me with their stamp of approval. After all, thatâs how Iâve lived for the last fifty-five years. But at what cost?
So many of us have spent most of our life coming to understand who we really are. I pray for younger followers in the faith to find the courage to live an undivided life. I pray that our kids will really like who they are rather than disowning themselves to be who we think they should be. People complain about younger generations and their disregard for truth. I hope I live to see the âchurchâ filled with people who are living the truth of who they are rather than being bound in a prison of judgment and fear.
I know of no greater example than that of Jesus who never gave in to what others wanted him to be. The religious establishment had their own idea of what their Messiah would look like but it was far from the truth of Godâs extravagant love. Jesus, being true to who He was and what He came to do, took a stand that led to the ultimate âpunishmentââ¦ but my, he launched much more than a movement.
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