I ended Shabbat to learn of the passing of John Lewis. Zichrono l’vracha, may his memory be for a blessing. John Lewis was a civil rights leader and a member of the United States House of Representatives, representing Georgia’s 5th District. As I write this, I put my Spotify music on, and immediately the song “Glory” by John Legend and Common from the movie Selma came on. Thanks, Spotify, I got the message! Representative Lewis represents the narrative of America that I would like to believe in. A man who started from nothing, the son of sharecroppers, who grew up fighting for equal rights for every American, who then rose to the highest levels of government and held up a mirror, holding us, inspiring us, and daring us to uphold the highest moral standards. Here’s Representative Lewis in his own words: “History will not be kind to us. So you have a moral obligation, a mission and a mandate, to speak up, speak out and get in good trouble. You can do it. You must do it. Not just for yourselves but for generations yet unborn.”
I spent a good part of my day reading Glennon Doyle’s newest book Untamed. Without divulging any of the juicy details, she implores readers to tap into what she calls your inner Knowing. To not conform to societal expectations, to not live by anyone’s rules but the ones that matter to you. I think she would resonate with this idea of Good Trouble.
What is the legacy we want to leave? Do we wake up everyday, jump out of bed like a lion like the Shuchan Aruch suggests, to pursue justice? What if it’s a struggle somedays to get up? Did John Lewis understand the legacy he was creating while he was creating it? How are we meant to understand our own contributions toward bending that moral arc of the universe? How can we do that during a pandemic, when just taking care of the people in our own homes feels urgent and perhaps takes all the energy we have to spare?
I don’t have the answers. I do have a lot of questions. For myself, for our community, for our country. I’m committed to continuing to ask. And I want to get in some Good Trouble. Maybe you’ll join me.