gratitude-a-thon day 890: to know hope: president barack obama

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I remember when Barack Obama was just elected, having the best talk with an African American women in the deodorant aisle of CVS. The two of us, so clearly from different places in the world, were brought together by the excitement he’d inspired in both of us. Although our accidental conversation was just about 15 minutes, I felt connected to this woman when I left the store. I knew part of it was because I could feel the pride she had because a man that was the same color as she was would be sitting in the white house, but part of it was also because his essence and ability to display leadership was infectious and had allowed this conversation to happen in the first place. We’d broken a barrier as a country. It made her stand taller. And me too. It was the loveliest moment.

Those were the days when I felt a deep sense of hopefulness in the leader we’d chosen to guide us. Obama was and is a gifted orator and unifier. His words back then inspired me in the deepest parts of myself. His enthusiasm made me feel empowered. His grace, his inclusivity, his reasonable rationality made me feel as though I were being safely held. I didn’t feel any sense of divide back then. In fact, I felt like I was an important part of one big melting pot.

I’m so grateful to know what that kind of hope feels like. Obama spoke to my need to have a moral leader at the helm, a man who acted with humanity and integrity for all eight years of his time in the Oval. No ugly. No scandals.

Those first years of the Obama presidency made me heady with hope. Those were good days. I will always remember them. And I will continue to look toward that president and what he taught me about having a moral center, about bringing everybody into the tent, about the importance of being a good person.

gratitude-a-thon day 985: please mr. president, don’t go

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You can’t help but notice the difference. One man has integrity oozing from every pore, and the other seems to be devoid of it entirely.

This is not about one party vs. the other, it’s about human dignity, moral character and grace.

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I felt inspired once again last night as I watched President Obama deliver his farewell speech. I felt encouraged, and like we were more together than apart. I felt the powerful pull of his gentle urging to get involved and unify.

I felt hope.

But then he left the stage, as I moaned like a wounded cat on my couch, and the pundits began to espouse his eight year reign and I was forced to remember that the next four years would be very different, and that I would have to hold onto what Barack and Michele Obama had modeled to keep my sanity, to keep my own dignity.

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“When they go low, we go high.” I don’t mind telling you that getting high for the next four years seems a better option.

Thank you Mr.President and Michele for showing us all what integrity and inspiration looks like.