but by the grace of grace

just about this time 6 years ago ma and i were moving to the motor city.  it was memorial day weekend, we packed up a uhaul, shed a lot of tears, and we both left our home, and families.  neither of us had really lived that far away from where we grew up, or from our families.  regardless of how scary it was, it was also exciting.  we had  a bunch of good food packed in the cooler, it was lovely weather, and we were bound for adventure.  i remember just how happy i was to be starting a new life with someone i enjoyed being with and loved so much. 

before just up and moving we did in fact visit, and the place we stayed was the boggs center.  The bottom floor is grace’s house, the top a sort of club house for activists and hostel for earnest youth.  i’m not sure how ma and i were allowed to stay there, i certainly wouldn’t call ma and i earnest, and we were certainly older than the average youngsters.  but for a couple of days the bunk beds in the back of the boggs center were our home.  there we met grace boggs, and a cast of characters, many who have since become friends.  i especially remember during a adamah meeting, stacey and i hiding in the back room and drinking beers, giggling the whole time like a couple of naughty school kids.  i’m sure we were having a lot more fun than the folks in the meeting.

this last tuesday i was invited to a discussion at the boggs center on the future of urban agriculture, with a couple of friends we were to discuss the future in light of recent events relating to large scale for profit operations.  the discussion was not bad, though for the most part it had been covered in other conversations with the participants.  hopefully those that were there to attend got more out of it.  for a moment i thought i was going to throw up.  increasingly i’ve been having anxiety when have to speak publicly.  i do fine once i get into the rhythm of things, but at first i’ve been feeling nervous, sore tummy, and like i want to run away.  

grace was there, and it was an honor to have listening to what i had to say.   i’ve been on the other end of listening to her talk many times, and she is brill ant, passionate, and kind.  grace gave us a few words of advice as well, and i think i’ll cherish them for a long time to come.  riding my bike home, later than usual thought the eastside, i couldn’t help but think about what we will do when grace is gone. she has been sort of the corner stone of this community for so long.  the person who brought so many people together into rooms who might not otherwise.  

but in some ways i think it’s really bad to rally around one person (brilliant and charismatic or not), because the ideas and actions get associated with them, and not with all the other people that were involved in shaping, forming and caring out.  i think especially with the recent election, of a charismatic, intelligent, and might i add handsome individual as president i’ve been more and more concerned about folks pining their hopes and dreams to others instead of caring them out themselves.  

i don’t know if we can ever get to the point where folks don’t look to others for leadership, and i guess i’m not really suggesting that we not have leaders, but that we have constantly changing leadership, in which all lead, just at different time.  we all are looked to for wisdom, and we all are looked to for our guidance.  we have a long way to go, but i think that dialog, and working on projects together is the only way forward, toward understanding.


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