Today has been a beautiful day.
I spent most of it on a plane or in an airport. You learn a lot about a place at the airport.
It's also February 1st. The 1st day of Black history month. It's February 1st 2017. The year is important to note because at a time when there seems to be such a surge of hatefulness and prejudice, I had a beautiful day.
Can I tell you why it was beautiful?
I flew to Dallas at first. And a beautiful young Black woman sat next to me. She said "Hello" and immediately I detected an accent. I asked her where she was from and she said, from Ghana by way of Germany.
I told her I was Nigerian and she exclaimed "Ah, my sister!" And so began a lively conversation that included some friendly arguing about which country had the better Jollof rice. Clearly you know the answer to that question. We agreed to disagree. With a smile.
Then I continued onto California. And I sat next to an elderly white couple. And the wife asked me where I was coming from and we swapped hometown city information. Turns out they are from Ann Arbor, Michigan. Where my brother went to school. "Our alma mater" they exclaimed, when I told them he went to Univ of Michigan. "He went to law school there", I said. "He's an attorney!" She said pointing to her husband. "Retired!" He clarified. She smiled. "So much in common!"
They were so pleasant. We chatted a bit. And then it was time for refreshments. Somehow the flight attendant seemed to miss me. The husband pointed it out immediately. "You haven't served the lady at the end" He said. She patted my arm. "We won't let them get away" she said, winking. "These Biscoff are good. We deserve a sweet."
For some strange reason, I felt like crying.
And then I watched the inflight movie - Loving. The film based on the court case of Loving vs Virginia, about a biracial couple who were at the center of the fight to change the anti-miscegenation laws during the time of the civil rights struggle.
I watched the movie and I cried for real.
And my heart was full.
The day was a reminder. I felt sick with cold symptoms but I felt well somehow. My mind felt well. It is well with my soul.
Despite what we hear on the news and when we see the worst of people, there is still good. Still people who can connect the dots between countries and delicious rice and declare, "my sister". Grandmothers who stroke your arm and fight for you to find your sweet spot because she sees a connection with you that speaks louder than whatever differences.
This is still America.
This is still the world.
There is still good here.
There is still love here.
And so with that faith. I can say, it is well. And that faith will empower me and hopefully you. To do more, be more, love more. To stand up for the world you want. To spread love and compassion. To be a force for good.
To not let anger and bitterness take root.
Truth be told, there is a lot of unfairness and ugliness. My first plane ride when I came back to this country whose passport I hold was not so pleasant. The white woman assigned to the seat next to me demanded to be moved. I found her curious, I didn't take any ownership of her racism. I left it for her to carry alone.
There have been days I have cried not from fullness of joy but from pain and so I can't pretend the hurt isn't real but..but...we must not let it take root and we can not lose hope and sink into angry and bitter despair.
We will not go quietly into that dark night.
As a matter of fact, we will not go at all.