I added an item to the list today, for the first time in years. If you look at the list on the side, and you scroll down to the bottom, you will see that there is now a #114, which I added today. This week, Time Magazine published their annual "100 Most Influential People" issue. I love that this issue inspires me in so many ways. I used to see these heroes, these giants of media, activism, art, and politics, and think, "Wow... what drive these people must have! What talent!" I saw them as extraordinary. EXTRAordinary. Brave people who have extra courage and extra skill, and they have a drive to do these things that are going to massively change the world. Me, well, I'm just a teacher.
I'm just one woman, and all I aim to do is make a difference in my little corner of the sky, which isn't extraordinary, and I'm not brave enough to make any real waves. Yeah, I'm outgoing, but if you really knew me, you'd know that I fear confrontation, and that I hate nothing more than when someone is feeling angry at me (which isn't easy, because I am not the most sympathetic person, and I often find filtering myself difficult). You know who the most influential people in the world are? They are people who are not afraid. They are people who do extraordinary things, fearlessly, who can shake off the comments of people they might offend along the way.
But lately, it seems, the older I get, the more the realize that what I want out of life is so much more important than rejection and the more willing I get to jump into things fearlessly when the stakes mean a lot to me. And so I've been speaking up more about the things that really matter in my life.
And then I saw that Time included an educator this year: Kira Orange Jones.
She isn't famous; she's just worked, really, really hard to improve things like graduation rate and student choice in New Orleans. She changed a city. If you can change a city, why not a world?
Sometimes, it is easy to get horribly frustrated at a system that is so broken that you feel like change is insurmountable.
But 10 years ago, Marc and I left a church when we refused to apologize for something we knew wasn't wrong -- socializing with gay people and inviting them to church. We left hurt, and I left seriously doubting if I'd ever again truly be able to sincerely support my husband's desire to spend a lifetime in ministry.
It's been a remarkable ten years, and really, is a decade so long in the big picture? I think not.
And in the past week, two really cool things happened:
1) Time Magazine published a complaint I sent in about how their magazine cover misrepresented Christian's after the RFRA situation in Indiana. My words, apparently, do not go completely unheard.
2) Our church voted to become a reconciling church and officially welcome people of all sexual orientations and gender identities into our church family, no qualifications or reservations or judgement involved.
Change is possible folks. It's possible.
And maybe if one hardworking educator in New Orleans can be one of Time's most influential people, so can I.