“I’ll never forget what my daughter said after her best friend was subjected to a racist comment on the school bus one afternoon. ‘I asked her if she was okay,’ my child said tearfully. ‘She didn’t say anything, so I just scooted closer.’ Reluctantly, she admitted, ‘I didn’t know what to do, Mama, so I just hurt with her.’
I hurt with her.
It took me a moment to recover from that.
I filed those powerful words away and continued observing this mighty pair.
Over the past several years, I’ve noticed how they look out for each other. Whether one gets hurt on the playground … whether one is getting new glasses and needs an honest opinion … whether one needs encouragement at basketball tryouts … whether one is frightened by a dog … they respond compassionately to each other’s needs. When one cannot have a treat due to gluten allergies or braces, the other goes without too. And when they have disagreements, they look into each other’s eyes, listen to each other’s words, and work through it.
This summer, the pair went to a new basketball camp. I saw their initial shock when they realized they were the only two girls. Then I saw them fist bump. They played hard, they cheered each other on, they stayed close. As I dropped my daughter’s friend off on that final day of camp, my daughter said, ‘Thank you so much for going with me to that new camp. If you hadn’t been there, I don’t know what I would have done!’
Her friend stopped, looked right into my daughter’s face and said, ‘If you ever have to go to a new basketball camp, don’t worry. I will always go with you.’ Again and again, I take note of what these two friends have to teach me.And today, I hope the world will take note too. What if we collectively remember, ‘I’ll hurt with you,’ is something we can all do when we don’t know what to do? What if we collectively look into the eyes of our brothers and sisters to acknowledge their story and their pain rather than closing our eyes or looking away?
What if we collectively acknowledged our privileges and blessings would be even greater if shared by our sisters and brothers? What if we collectively agree it is not “your back” or “my back,” but “our back” if we are to create a unified and peaceful world for future generations? I think we can all agree there is a lot on the line for our country right now. Unity, peace, progress, understanding, and love are all on the line, and it’s hard to know if they’re going to make the cut.
But then my husband sends me a photo. And this is what I see on the line at a local football game. The goal of this mighty little team is not to win, have the most, or be the best. The goal of this mighty little team is to love … to love each other as they want to be loved. The goal of this team is to have “our back.” For they know they are stronger together than they are alone. Let us take note. There’s so much on the line. But love can prevail.”