As we watched a repeat streaming of the pre-inaugural concert last night on our laptop, my husband and I held hands, marveling at history in the making. Our children asked if there was anything like this for President Bush when he was elected, and to be fair, we said that truthfully, we didn't know. If there had been, it would probably have been a different style, and in all honesty, we wouldn't have been watching.
But it was pretty darn inspiring to see James Taylor up there with John Legend, and Bono, and Bruce Springsteen, and Stevie Wonder with Usher, and Garth Brooks, Pete Seeger, and the list went on and on and on. I made the comment that I thought I was reaching my limit of inspiration. I just didn't know how many more historically touching moments my heart could take before it burst. But would that be a bad thing? I mean, after all, James T was up there singin' "shower the people you love with love..."
Friday, my youngest son passed his driving test. He is now an officially licensed intermediate driver in our state, meaning he can drive himself and members of his immediate family, but no friends for 6 months. At least no friends under 25, so we're good. It occurred to me that, as our nation undergoes this momentous occasion and is banking on change being in the air, change has come to the America represented by the Johnson house. I caught myself trying to figure out potential logistics for a swim meet later this week, when I stopped and said, "Oh, I forgot. You can drive yourself and I can meet you there." It's bittersweet, really. Convenient as heck--yet a reminder of one more way in which I'm not needed anymore, however glad I am to give up some carpooling duties.
Change is like that. Inherent in change is loss. We have to be willing to give something up in order to create something new. As the saying goes, the caterpillar has to want to be a butterfly enough to give up being a caterpillar. Many times, that is really challenging. We like our fuzzy caterpillars, no matter how many leaves of our lives they have been devouring. They are a familiar nuisance, and we carry on, encumbered, righteous in our complaints, and solidly unchanging. It's easier to say we wish we could change than to actually do it.
I hope Barack Obama inspires us to change--each one of us to make a small or medium or big change, or a bunch of little changes that add up to something. Because he can't do it all--it has to be us, inspired by what we all did to elect him. Inspired by his dream, which touches our own, WE need to be the ones to act. We need to keep the dream alive in our children, that the world can always be a better place, and it is our responsibility to do something about it. Don't be paralyzed by the fact that you can't eradicate all caterpillars. Just start with one. Take your own bags to the grocery store or stop buying water bottles or volunteer once a week in a mentoring program or buy 5 extra cans at the grocery store to donate to the food bank in your town. Don't think you can't do anything because you can't do everything. Just pick something, and make it your pledge for changing something for the better. You might even be inspired.