The excitement is palpable as I sit in the Family Life Center of the church of my adulthood. I state it like that because there is a significant difference between the church of my childhood in Louisville, KY where, even in the 70’s, 80’s, and early 90’s, prejudice was commonplace and there was such a thing as the black and white side of town. Our church was on the black side. I lived on the white side. And yet, I don’t mean to imply that there are not cities and towns across America right now where there is still a black side of town and a white side of town. There absolutely are. But somehow sitting at the Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church in Philadelphia, PA and watching the inauguration of the first African American president of the United States, Barack Obama, there seems like there is now a chance for change. A chance. A catalyst. An opportunity.
But that’s just it.
It is only a CHANCE for change…not necessarily change itself. I’ve always been a proponent of accountability and responsibility even when I haven’t always been the most accountable or responsible in my own life. I’ve always believed that in order for true transformation to occur, each individual, every person and every family would have to be able to do some changing in their own environment and in their own circle of influence. Essentially, we must be moved to change in our individual lives in order for change to occur on a broader scale. That perspective has not changed for me. Yes, I still think that we are sitting on the precipice of opportunity but we must be willing to grab that opportunity and turn it into something real for us individually. Something that will ultimately lead to the change that we so desperately seek in this moment. If we don’t, than we will have squandered the wonderful chance that this moment, the election of this man, offers us.
This moment means that I must pursue destiny at all cost. It means that I must be fearless in that pursuit. It means that I cannot be caught up in all the things that people may say about me as I run the race that is laid out for me. I cannot allow myself to be consumed by what people may think about me. Especially those things that do not carry the ring of truth. The emotions that I feel at this moment means that passion is not lost in me. (For a long time, I thought it was.). It means that the spiritual and emotional passion that is required for me to do what God has called me to do is not lost. The passion needed for me to fulfill my assignment before leaving this earth, has not been seeped away in the trials and hardships that life has brought, but only needed to be filled up, replenished by a sense of community. The sense of togetherness that I feel by sitting in this room. A shared pride that doesn’t necessarily extend beyond Christ and the cross as some have claimed (making a man into a messiah) but does make me and the multi-generational group that I watch this great event with desire something great for ourselves individually and as a community.
I’m excited. I don’t have to perpetrate a fraud as I have in years past with my limited understanding of the presidential election and inauguration process, and my disinterest in previous commander in chief’s. I don’t have to pretend or rationalize my excitement as an African American, as a woman, as a Christian, as a writer, as a human being with a new awareness of what it means to be an American. I just have to live it everyday after this one. I only have to continue to stoke the fire that was ignited today.
Change has not necessarily come to America but the chance for it has. I’ll be more than happy to be the first in line to take hold of my chance and turn it into an opportunity to create a legacy for me and my future children.
In God I trust. For Barack I pray.