Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Queue

Three days ago I stood in a line. In many ways it was completely unremarkable.

{I've stood in lines for things before and they usually involve the same pattern: first, I feel uncomfortable about how close the person behind me is standing; second, I move slightly askew of the line to make more space between that person and me (seriously!! Back up, dude!); and, third, I make a completely inappropriate comment to the person behind me.}

However, in many ways, this line was completely different from any other line I had ever stood in. 

It was populated by some of the bravest people I will ever meet. 

It began with a prayer and a song. 

It stretched for more than a city block. 

And, it was formed with the knowledge that its destination would most likely be nowhere. 

I thought I had prepared myself for the exercise in futility. I was prepared for the most likely scenario, that the group would be told, "No." But I wasn't prepared for a few things.

I wasn't prepared for the hope I saw in the eyes of the women standing around me.

I wasn't prepared for the scores of boys and men who would be ushered past our line of 200 women.

I wasn't prepared for the surge of hope that welled up inside me as I approached the door.

And, as a woman in 2013, I don't know if you can ever prepare yourself to hear the words, "For men and boys only."

And yet, there it was, my inequality was reflected in the face of every boy and man who walked past me. It was hard to see because so many of them averted their eyes. Others scoffed. Some scowled. And a few looked genuinely bothered by the situation.

And so, I add this line to the others I have stood in in my life. But this one is burned in my heart and has changed the way I view my faith and my people. They are infinitely more than I had imagined. Some are more judgmental, more harsh, and more afraid. 

While others have shown themselves to be more courageous, more loving, and more inspired. 
And those are the people I stood beside.


smarkbarnes said...

Debra very powerful. This is why you are one of my heros. The contrast between people was really stark. I agree with you that we were with a lot of very courageous people!

Jill said...

Admittedly, the experience was far more intense than I had expected as well. The men and boys being ushered past stabbed my sense of justice to the core. Our line was more than ignored; it was mocked.

Lisa said...

I am so very glad you've shared your story. I am in awe of all of you--and I do believe that change will come! You are all pioneers!!