“The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.” —Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Those girls were kidnapped on April 15. It was before I turned fifty, before I went to Maui, before Easter and Good Friday. But I didn’t hear about it until I got back from my tropical vacation. What I did hear about was Donald Sterling’s silliness. I heard about that right away.
I can’t figure that out. Not for the life of me. Is it because those girls live in a different country? Is it because Donald Sterling is a rich and powerful man? Is it because those girls are girls? Why did it take so long for the word to get out about nearly 300 girls being taken from their school and spirited away to an undisclosed location? Why does it take so long for us—for me—to act on behalf of the girls who go missing, every single day?
I just can’t figure it out.
Sometimes, silence is appropriate. In the library. At a silent retreat. In the middle of the night when everyone in the house is sleeping and you wake up for a trip to the bathroom. Silence is good, then.
I’ll admit. It took me awhile to find my voice on this one. I was shocked on so many levels. Others have found words, and they have shifted the ground beneath our feet. They have called us to action, and, it would seem, they have even inspired great leaders to move forward and to do something. For that, I am grateful. And humbled. Humbled at the way ordinary people can make a difference in this world.
Over the past few days, I’ve been thinking about those missing girls. The ones in Nigeria. The ones in India. The ones in Lincoln, Nebraska. The ones in your town. Your neighborhood. And, I’ve been thinking about Mother’s Day, and how these two things—all the missing girls, and the celebration of women who love their children extravagantly and fiercely—are just about to converge and fold over onto one another.
I can’t get to Nigeria, or to Washington D.C., or to the news desk at CNN or PBS. What I can do is what I would do, if I could sit with the mothers in Nigeria. I can be there, and give space, and sit with them in a different kind of silence. The silence that says, “I see you, and my heart is aching, too.” And so, on Mother’s Day, JumpingTandem will go silent. When you search for this site in your browser, all you’ll see is this, with a link back to the explanation I’ve given here.
It’s not a big thing, but it’s something.
Maybe you’ve been feeling it, too? A need to do something more than wring our hands from across the ocean or across the street. Would you consider going silent, too? In a show of solidarity with the women and girls around the world, who know unspeakable things?
My friend, Lyla has helped to make this happen, and she’s provided this tutorial, for those of you with a self-hosted WordPress site. If you’re blogging on a different platform, and wish to join in this silent recognition, feel free to download the graphic (above) and post it at your site, with a link back to JumpingTandem, or your own explanation at your place.
Let’s redeem the silence. Together. Let’s create a silence that means something different. Let’s press in, together, in solidarity and grace.
I haven’t forgotten about The Sunday Community. We can still make this work. The link-up will open Saturday night, as usual, at 8pm Central. Please swing by and add your link Saturday night. Or, come by on Sunday night, at 8pm Central, when JumpingTandem will come back online. And, in case you missed it, be sure to check out the latest news about The Sunday Community. It’s going to be beautiful.