Normally on Mondays, I write about life and things that I’ve observed, things that are happening. Sometimes, I use actual citations.
I know! I know! Citations.
But this Monday, my blog is going to be a little raw. That’s because I think my heart is a little raw.
I spent the weekend in Houston, Texas, hanging out with the amazing crew at the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center of Houston. I went there shortly after what is being called as the worst attack against Jews in our country.
On the way to the event, I rode over with this brilliant, beautiful woman, her 10-year-old daughter and author and awesome human Ethan Berlin. The driver’s daughter told me about the last time she saw our hotel, which was a year ago.
“It was during Harvey,” her mom added. “We came over in a tank.”
“Did you get to go inside the tank?” I asked.
The girl’s eyes lit up. She did. The hotel room was nice, too.
“It was pretty,” she said, but I could tell from her expression that it was all scary, too. Really scary.
Then the mother-daughter duo told us about how sometimes when it rains really hard, they get scared again, remembering the 49-inches of rain and devastation that Hurricane Harvey brought to their home, their community center, and their neighborhood.
“We help ourselves through it,” the mom said. “I taught her how to deal with it, but last week? She was the one who helped me remember how to cope.”
And I honestly almost lost it in the back seat of their car, hugging my backpack that held a puppet of Moe Berg, sitting next to this beautiful, brilliant kid. Because their love, their pain, and their pride in each other was so poignant and real.
It was so real.
We gathered around before the events started and talked about getting through things again. It was just tiny snippets of conversation, but this beautiful rabbi took it all in as everyone quickly connected with their trauma, their pains, the moments in their lives that were so big and catastrophic that they come back again and again, a refrain in a song that echoes.
“We all have those moments,” she said.
Later in the day, we were signing books in the most amazing pop-up bookstore ever, and a balloon broke, making that horrible snap that reminds so many people of gun shots and there was this moment – this absolute second immediately afterwards – where everyone paused, silent, trying to figure out what that noise was.
And then everything went back to normal, kids singing songs, grabbing books, moms and dads herding them around to authors and events, spending their Sunday celebrating kids, books, literacy and each other.
And it was beautiful. It was so beautiful.
This center serves 1,000 people every day. This time-lapse video shows how 12 feet of water ended up filling the 35,000-square-feet center. And they rebuilt. It is beautiful. People and kids filled that building again this past weekend. The community survived. The building survived. But it’s more than that. They thrived.
They helped themselves through it.
In this community are so many families, so many stories of good times, of bad, of helping themselves through things and coming out the other side as beautiful moments of light, connection, of poetry, of souls. And there is so much that this country, that this world, can learn about the act of coming together, of community, of connection, of helping each other through it.
If you haven’t voted yet, please vote tomorrow. Please vote on the ideas and ideas that resonate with you. Politics is more than attack ads. Politicians shape and create the laws and tenor of our nation. They support or deconstruct what our government and its branches actually are and what they can be.
And even after you’ve voted, please try to choose paths and actions that create goodness, equality, not disenfranchisement and hate. When we come together as communities, especially as intersectional communities, that’s when we evolve both as individuals and as a nation. Respect for difference and discourse goes a long way. But what doesn’t go along way? Killing each other. Oppressing each other.
We shouldn’t all be terrified when a balloon pops. We should be people who rebuild and thrive. We should be people who go to places of worship, walk in parking lots, go to schools and yoga studios and our own homes without being afraid, without being vulnerable.
Next and Last Time Stoppers Book
It’s out! You can order my middle grade fantasy novel Time Stoppers Escape From the Badlands here or anywhere.
People call it a cross between Harry Potter and Percy Jackson but it’s set in Maine. It’s full of adventure, quirkiness and heart.
The Spy Who Played Baseball is a picture book biography about Moe Berg. And… there’s a movie out now about Moe Berg, a major league baseball player who became a spy. How cool is that?
It’s awesome and quirky and fun.
OUR PODCAST – DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE.
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