Wednesday, January 28, 2009

" that all our children could fly..."

"Rosa sat,
so Martin could could walk
Martin walked, so Barack could run
Barack ran
he ran and he won,
so that all our children could fly..."

Amy Dixon-Kolar

This is so pure and sweet...and holy, that I couldn't stop singing it all weekend.  As I said in my comment - when posting it on Facebook - it reached down into my soul and pulled my inner gospel singer out from where I must have buried her long ago.

It's a lovely song.  But I am especially moved by this verse:

"...Mother and daughter
listenin' to the news
Momma breaks down cryin',
little girl is confused
Honey we worked so hard
to get to this place
Daughter puts a loving hand
on momma's face..."

This must have been happening in living rooms all over the world.  It certainly happened in mine.  We had planned an election night party with our girls, their friends, and their friends' parents (our friends)...families we had gone canvassing door-to-door with earlier in the campaign.  Since it was a school night we had put a cap on our celebration, soon after our friends had left for home and any unfinished homework, we were surprised to hear Obama's victory called so early in the night.  I sat on the sofa in front of the television stunned.  It was done. Our country had elected a candidate we'd worked tirelessly for.  For me, it felt like the culmination of 40 years of campaigning for candidates who I believed in...some with policies and plans I supported more than others....but I'd never lost my love for the process, and it had finally proved to be a process that reflected the hopes and dreams I cherished for the future of our children.

I didn't burst into wracking sobs.  I just sat there with tears running down my face in rivers of relief.   I thought my heart would burst.  It had felt so touch-and-go in those last weeks, and I had great hopes for what this election could mean to this country, our young voters, my urban neighbors, the underprivileged, the disadvantaged, and generations of African Americans whose dreams of representative leadership were hanging in the balance.

Without a sound one of my 11 year old daughters slid onto the sofa next to me and put her hand on my cheek, puling my face away from the television screen and towards her.  She then stared silently into my eyes and kissed my other cheek. 

She understood. 

I think it is a gesture that is built into the spiritual DNA of the molecules hanging in the "space" (but in truth there really is no space) between mothers and daughters.  This gesture of reaching out and touching the other's if to say, I am here...I am here...I am here.

My daughters have done this since they were babies.  I wrote about the first time Clara comforted me by reaching out and touching my cheek, last May, titled,
" this life I was loved by you".  Since then I have heard from other moms and daughters whose most tender memories are of reaching out and wiping a tear, or the soft papery feel of a grandmother's cheek, a toddler's temples, smoothing the frown line between a teen daughters eyes...or in my case gently touching the soft skin of my mother's eyelids.

Sunday, my baby sister sent me a link to this Youtube post of "Rosa Sat" and as soon as I heard this verse, I rather fell apart.  I think it was because I felt such a sisterhood with women...with mothers and daughters...around the world who not only united in celebration of this historic day for us as voters and world citizens, but for what we would forever remember of this day by sharing it with our daughters. 

And it's not just mothers and daughters who share this friends Carol, Deac, and I have always touched one another's cheek - ever so tenderly - when we greet eachother.  It started with one of us remarking at how softly silken the other's cheek was and so of course the
other other had to see for herself...and then, well I just couldn't see one of them without touching her cheek. 

I know this is a rather random post...but I am in awe of Amy Dixon-Kolar's ability to marry in one song the enormous global and historic implications of what we had all just experienced as modern humanity, with the most tender and intimate of mother/daughter gestures.

It takes my breath away.

And the song...I think it speaks for itself. 

I found myself using it to make all kinds of historic

Mary surrendered
So Jesus could accept
Jesus accepted
So John could see
John saw so
Mary could heal
And now all our children are whole...

Have fun seeing how God's gracious hand has woven a silver thread of promise through your create a tapestry of wholeness, healing, and hope for your children, neighbors and the world.   And take time to touch the cheek of someone you love...

with love,


photo credit: Stacey V. Barton 1991


  1. Powerful thoughts from deep down; thanks for sharing these.

  2. Kate -
    I've not had a chance before now to thank you for such a lovely post, and for all your comments about my song, Rosa Sat. The verse about the mother and daughter comes from a picture I saw in the New York Times of an African-American mother sitting on the floor of a church, crying with joy, and her young daughter holding her hand out to touch her mother's face.
    I too have a young daughter (and son) and I know the touch you speak of.
    Thank you for the insight you have brought to the song.
    Peace -
    Amy Dixon-Kolar