Within the first year of starting +Works, one of our supporters asked to meet with us. She was upset and for good reason. A few days prior, she’d been cornered at a party by two women, one of whom she had thought was her friend, and attacked for being part of our efforts.
“Every time I see your +Car bumper sticker it makes me want to puke,” the first one said, while the other — the so-called friend — stood there, punctuating the blind-side assault with her silence. We knew enough about these tough ladies to get the picture.
A few days after hearing that story, I decided to put on my big girl pants and do something. Without gossiping about it and with hands shaking, I picked up the phone, called the so-called friend and said, “It has come to my attention that you have some questions about the work we’re doing, and I’d like to give you the opportunity to share your feelings with me directly.”
There was a pause. ”Well, you certainly are the bigger person,” she said, catching me off guard. We went on to have a very open conversation about what we were doing at +Works and why. A few days later, I received a beautiful card, reinforcing in writing what the conversation had meant to her. That meant a lot to me.
I share this with you because I know that you, too, have had these character-shaping moments, when you’re shaking but determined to find your voice and speak up for yourself, your family, your school, your organization, your people. I share this with you because I love and appreciate you for joining us in this effort to create Communities of Courage for our kids in Houston, and someday soon, beyond Texas.
As Taylor Swift sings (with awesome verve) in her new song, “Shake It Off” … “The haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate” … and they will; but when we find the courage to talk to people and not about people, we can shake it off. And with each brave, new conversation, we can get just a little closer to peace.
From my mother’s heart,
Sarah and Trish continue, now in their fifth year, to do this work together, on a 100% pro bono basis, as mothers, (and on most days) with joy.