Mindful March.

Wanted to recap March before we got TOO far into April (yes, I know it's 1/3 over)...

March 1 marked the beginning of Lent this year, and I set for myself two Lenten "goals" (if it's right to call them that): I would give up all dessert/sweets, and I would take on praying the hours with Phyllis Tickle's Prayers for Lent Through Easter from her Divine Hours collection. Both have been good in different ways, and I hope to write some thoughts about both practices during this Holy Week.

I've had a chance to serve as a Confirmation mentor to our seventh graders at church this year; not only has this experience caused me to reflect on my own confirmation 16 years ago, it's also meant that I've gotten to scratch the surface of faith and life with these great kids. Part of that included a day retreat here in Atlanta, working in the Clarkston Community Center garden in the morning, writing a creed for Confirmation Day during lunch, and bowling at the Comet before dinner.

It's far from a bad thing when you get to listen to amazing speakers for "work," and last month I got to hear from two prophetic voices of our time: The Rev. Dr. Amy Butler of the Riverside Church in New York City (that historic church's first female senior pastor), and the Rev. Dr. William Barber, president of the North Carolina NAACP and organizer of the Moral Monday protest movement in that state. Both pastors preached stellar sermons that spoke truth to power in a way that I needed to soak in, and I hope and pray that many more are exposed to their messages of authenticity, hope, and the need to dismantle systemic racism in our country.

Can't remember the last time that I went to a movie on opening day (probably a Harry Potter midnight showing), but a good pal and I took a Friday afternoon to go see the new version of Beauty and the Beast. Sang along like crazy, of course. Music really does make me well up, especially when I realize how imprinted on my brain and heart it is, even after years of not singing it. And while seeing B&B onstage in Dublin on my first trip out of the country will always be my favorite experience of it, Hermione, Matthew Crawley, Gandalf, Olaf, Obi-Wan, Professor Trelawney, Audra (doesn't need a character name because she is a legend) etc. were all lovely. Watching it also made me pretty sure that the original is where I first heard/learned the words "provincial" and "asylum." Who knew?

We got together with a group of friends that hadn't all been together in awhile for a delicious meal, laughter, and fellowship. It also happened to be the day that Sean passed his Certified Financial Planner licensing exam (woohoo! so proud of him), so that added to the celebration!

I was thankful for two more chances to get to know others in my community and talk through important issues of social justice, specifically racial justice: another Round Table dinner at Emory (subject: March? AKA, what does it mean to be an activist?) and as part of a group from our church meeting with a group from a predominantly black congregation. Both felt so important to me, the experiences themselves and beginning to process them (like I did in this post). There's so much more to be done, and I'm excited for future discussions with both of these groups. I strongly recommend--especially to my fellow white people--trying to find an opportunity like this in your own community, and pray that more will crop up for me and for you, wherever you are.

Switching from the profound to the superficial, a thrift store near us is having a going out of business sale and I got some sweet (nearly) new spring things for a VERY discounted price. Since I go shopping approximately 1.5 times per year and only enjoy it for about 1.5 hours, this was an excellent development!

My folks celebrated 32 (!) years of marriage in March, so of course a dinner was warranted. We tried out M572 and really enjoyed it--the atmosphere and the food were both top-notch!

The next day, I drove out to a double birthday potluck for two of my best friends (happy day, A&A!), and got to see one's new house. It was a perfect spring day and besides good friends, there was pimento cheese, so really nothing could have been better. 

I spent an afternoon hearing from Edward Mitchell, the executive director of CAIR (Counsel on American-Islamic Relations) Georgia, in a talk dispelling myths about Islam and refugees. It was really great, and taught me a lot about Islam that I didn't know before, in terms of the belief system itself and the origins of important practices like prayer five times a day and the Hajj to Mecca. A really great opportunity! 

I'd love to hear: what were your favorite March moments? Or any from April already?

Sit and listen, stand and speak.

Last week, I attended my third Round Table discussion (I've mentioned the other two in my monthly recaps). Students, faculty and staff from the university where I work, as well as members of local churches in Atlanta, gathered for a meal and to discuss the question: What does it mean to be an activist?

This is a question I've been internally thinking about a lot recently--since the election, mostly, which is a very white woman thing to even be able to say. Lots of people have been thinking about it long before that. I won't say it didn't entirely enter my mind on November 9, snippets of thought about how to stand and speak up have floated into my head and heart since Ferguson. But even then--others have been asking what it means to be an activist, and defining it for themselves, for decades, even centuries, before I got here.

What does it mean to be an activist?

As it was at all the tables, my conversation partners were both black and white, female and male, a range of ages--all with meaningful stories and powerful voices (even if they spoke quietly). Some of the ideas and thoughts shared:

Activism is standing up in dissent.

Activism can't happen unless we take care of ourselves, and don't burn out.

Activism means different things for different people.

Activism means using your particular gifts to stand in solidarity. (You may not feel comfortable at rallies or marches; but maybe you're an artist and you can create beautiful signs for your friends to take downtown. You may not want to go speak up at a town hall meeting, but you can have a one-on-one conversation with someone who doesn't see the same way.)

I greatly appreciated the conversation, especially the pieces about using our particular gifts, about claiming the role of activist in different ways based on our personality, our talents, our passions. That speaks deeply to me, as an inward-looking, self-aware soul who loves deep personality tests and dumb Buzzfeed quizzes equally. I savor the sense of knowing myself, and knowing what I'm good at, and applying that to my space in the world. 

But there was something itching at me as we sat around the table, and I voiced it to the extent that I knew how at that moment, and I'm writing it down now to see if anything new comes out.

The itchy piece stems from being a white woman, and being more aware of those roles--particularly those two roles smushed together--than I ever have before in my life. The itch says, Hi y'all, I'm Claire. I'm an introvert who loves cozying up on the couch with a book or a movie. I hate calling strangers on the phone and I don't love standing in crowds, or shouting, or even chanting. If it is not made easy for me to get somewhere, I will usually make the choice to stay home.

The itch ends with the question: But aren't those some pretty shitty excuses, white girl? By the way, where have you been up til now?

I feel like maybe I've been myself too much up til now; that as a white woman, existing in that demographic that so overwhelmingly voted for Trump, even though I did not, I now have to prove extra to the world--perhaps especially the black world, the Muslim world, the immigrant world, the LGBTQ world--where I stand, and who I stand with.

They're not going to know it simply by looking at me. They're not even going to know it simply by seeing the ring on my right hand that bears a cross. 

And you know what I realized as I wrote this? Maybe that's how my black neighbors, my Muslim neighbors, my immigrant neighbors, my gay and lesbian and trans neighbors--have been feeling for an interminably long time. That they have to prove extra to the world. That the world won't know or trust or see inside them simply based on how they look. Or it will be based too much on how they look, and the ones doing the looking will make up negative things to see. And so they have to try harder.

Maybe in this itch I'm sensing a small, small part of how that feels.

The voices around my table, black and white, echoed over and over again the importance of being an activist in your own individual way, and seeking self-care and avoiding burnout in whatever form suits you. And part of me--most of me, if I'm honest--clung to that, like a permission slip to work for justice in (what I think for me would mean) a quieter way. But there was/is still part of me struggling with the need for white people, women and men, to use our base of privilege--present whether we realize it or not--to speak louder, to march more, to make ourselves uncomfortable on behalf of our neighbors who need that from us in this historical moment, and have needed it long before.

Part of me wants to say it's a balance between those elements--the what-comes-naturally and what-feels-harder. But even saying it's a balance feels a little undercutting, shallow, copping out. Not saying that it is. But for me, those exist in tension.    

Bishop Rob Wright of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta was also present at this Round Table discussion. He closed us out, sharing what he thinks an activist is: "Activists quietly or loudly point out the gap between stated aspiration and current reality."

Then he asked us to think about our purpose. "Purpose" stems from a root word (in what language, I forget) that means fire, he said. It's different than passion, he said. "It's a journey to find out what you have to do to be you. Purpose gives you immediacy and authenticity."

We are "bundled with gift and capacity, but beautifully unique," he said. "Given your unique gifts, capacities, all that you have, what does activist mean for you? What's stirring in you to try or to do or to land more squarely on?"

Yesterday afternoon, I joined about 15 church members from my (predominantly white) congregation in conversation with about 15-20 church members from a predominantly black congregation. The topic? White privilege.

We all gathered in a circle of chairs in a classroom, smiling politely at one another, writing out name tags and introducing ourselves, making small talk about how many years we'd each been at our respective churches. After opening us in prayer and an introduction about why we were here, we broke into small groups and discussed several different passages from Jim Wallis's book America's Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege, and the Bridge to a New America (which is now on my reading list).

As soon as we began, I knew that this was something I had been longing for. To be in true conversation, not disrespectful, but honest and open and tough. I have spent so much time over the past year-plus reading and posting articles, maybe having a brief Facebook comment discussion, commiserating with coworkers (often very helpful) and writing posts like these--but so little time actually listening to the stories and thoughts of my black sisters and brothers who encounter the negative impacts of white privilege every day. I shared pieces of my journey as well, but I really aimed to listen and soak it up, even when it was hard to hear. And a lot of it was.

I'm still processing the experience--which I hope will be the first of many, as our churches continue this growing relationship--but a couple of items that we discussed stand out to me in this moment.

It resonated not for the first time, but maybe for the deepest time, that we really are living in more than one America--that the way I teach my someday children about how to interact with the world will be very different than how the people sitting next to me have had to teach theirs. They are having conversations with their children that we never even have with ours. "Look for the helpers," Mr. Rogers told us, and it's a quote that's always trotted out after a mass shooting or terror attack. But what if the helpers you're supposed to be looking for don't always want to help you? I always feel that I will be respected and taken care of by forces outside of myself and my family. The police officer. The store clerk. The bus driver. The hiring manager. Never once have I thought or expected or experienced anything different.

"I don't think any of these white people would want for a second to trade places with us." It's a concept that I've heard before, but I've never heard it stated directly to me, about me. And I felt ashamed that the speaker was right.

One person said that on November 9, they weren't surprised at all, just went on with their day, while a younger white woman arrived at their office in tears. I was one of those naive white women in tears, downing a doughnut and wiping my eyes, scrolling my newsfeed, still in disbelief. I got absolutely zero work done that day. 

Why does the idea of equality for all evoke such fear, even subconscious fear, within white people? Why is there this foreboding and hand-clenched sense that in order for others to gain access to equal rights and justice under the law, we must lose something? That's not the issue, that's not what is being asked of us.

The lack of white men in attendance (there were only two from our church present) did not go unnoticed, when white men are going to be central to dismantling the structures that currently hold our country's systemic racism in place.

After two hours, I was mentally and physically worn out. But I was so, so pleased and almost relieved that we had begun to have these conversations. That our black sisters and brothers were willing to have them with us, to go over experiences and emotions that they have had no choice but to carry, that they can never put down. "We know that this is a white problem," my friend (one of the two white men) said to the entire group before we closed, "And we are thankful that even as you bear the burden, you are also willing to teach us." (Paraphrasing his eloquence here, but I hope the sentiment is understood/felt.) My eyes filled with tears as my fellow church members and I murmured affirmations of his words. We held hands and prayed, we thanked each other for sharing. I was thankful, I am thankful. 

I am a listener. I am one who connects. And this was activism as I feel called to it.

As I continue to sit and listen, may I be moved to stand up and speak. 

(P.S. I'm becoming more and more convinced that these sorts of conversations should be mandatory for, like, the whole country. Just an idea...)


The week began with planting.


On Monday, my husband and I got up early and drove to an elementary school west of the city. In the darkness before sunrise, we helped his coworkers unload bale upon bale (upon bale) of pine straw, platters of pansies, purple cabbages, and bags weighed down with soil. As it grew lighter, more people gathered--both Sean's colleagues and their families, along with the school community, principal and teachers and kids. Though the sun was hidden behind a cloud, we set to work unstrapping the straw and spreading the strands around the front of the school, in the courtyard, all the way back to the playground. Shaking hands and introducing ourselves, sometimes talking, sometimes working in silence, children scurrying from spot to spot to help.

Around halfway through, two of us began to plant pansies in an unbroken circle, underneath the school sign at the entrance. The small plot already held soil, though hard at the top, and was covered with older pine straw. Not giving it much thought, we began digging out small holes for the flower parcels without moving the old straw. But as we worked, it quickly became clear that the straw needed to be raked out, with some original plants dug up and replanted, before we could go any further.

It was satisfying to remove the old straw, to see the soil slowly start to appear beneath it, to see the marks of the rake that showed us it was still soft underneath. When I went back to my spade and the pansies, I started to discover old roots not far down, and would pull and tug and follow to see where the root led--often ending up quite far from its beginning. It had reached far.

I savored kneeling in the dirt, wheedling a pansy and its packed soil out of the planter, waving to people who walked by.


On Tuesday, I listened to Bree Newsome speak. The woman I first saw scaling a flagpole nearly two years ago, holding the Confederate flag she had just removed from the SC state house grounds, doing what needed to be done in the face of terror and hate. What should have been done long before.

"What does it mean to be conscious?" she asked. Then she instructed us to breathe in...breathe out. Breathe in... breathe out. To be conscious, Newsome said, is to become aware of an unconscious behavior. To consider the reality that exists outside one's individual experience.

After the Mother Emanuel massacre, she told us, a small group of activists met to plan how to take down the flag. But they had to determine--who was physically able to climb, who could risk being arrested? When they narrowed it down, there were three remaining, and she was the only person of color. They agreed--how important for a woman of color to remove the flag. And how symbolic for a white man to stand at the bottom as lookout.

It wasn't that she was unafraid, she told us. But the power of this particular action, the necessity of it, outweighed the fear. She wasn't fearless; she was faithful.

You have to ask yourself, she said: What will be my contribution? Where will I jump in to help humanity lift itself up?

"Every person has within them the ability to be a changemaker," she said. "Deferred dreams will not sustain us as a society."

I hadn't realized that she isn't much older than I am.


On Wednesday, I went to a forum where we could share how we think our large private university can or should engage more deeply with our city. In a place where our individual schools are so often siloed and can feel almost like solo institutions, it was fascinating and inspiring to hear voices from around campus and beyond, acknowledging that we aren't doing enough, and expressing the passion to dive in--to connect with affordable housing, public health, the business community, hospitality, the arts, our diverse immigrant population, communities of faith, and beyond. It was a dynamic back and forth on how to use what we have as an institution and as individuals to create change.


On Thursday, Woodie W. White, a retired bishop in The United Methodist Church, delivered his annual Letter to Martin Luther King Jr. in our morning chapel service. He's done this every year for decades, recounting to Dr. King the good and the bad of race relations in America over the past 12 months. This year, he began, "the letter almost did not get written." But it did, thankfully for all who were present, and for all who read it. (You can read it, but it's not the same as watching/listening--which you can do above. Bishop White's voice will be balm for your soul.) We aren't just trying to build a better nation, he said, and I imagined Dr. King nodding emphatically. "We Christians strive for a more beloved community, for what we sometimes call the reign of God. It is where love and justice prevail and where we embrace a common humanity, not just as citizens, but also as brothers and sisters."

During the prayers of the people, we prayed for Barack Obama, the day before he left office. We prayed for Donald Trump, the day before he took office.

At the end of the service, the congregation joined hands to sing "We Shall Overcome." There was no one on my left side, so I lifted that hand up in prayer. As we reached each new verse, my eyes filled more and more with tears. We shall overcome... We'll walk hand in hand... We shall live in peace... We shall all be free... God will see us through...

Why did I cry? Because of the energy of all who surrounded me, including the cloud of witnesses I couldn't see but felt, the history and purpose of the music and lyrics. Because I was humbled by my privilege, knowing my tears would fall harder in the midst of oppression. Because oppression is still deeply real and present, and I don't know what's coming next, and I want to be part of the change. Because I adored this First Family and I could hardly believe eight years have passed. Because the raising of voices in song always makes me feel that there is good, within and beyond.


On Friday at 11:00 a.m., I bypassed my regular workout and a friend and I walked downstairs to the chapel for Holy Eucharist. I needed the sun shining through the stained glass cross, the intimacy of the small gathering (where two or more are gathered... and there were just barely two or more). I loved singing two of my favorite hymns ("Gather Us In," "The Summons"), and the piano music that accompanied the entire service. The two lessons were from the prophet Isaiah--"the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light"--and Matthew, when Jesus says he has come to fulfill the prophet Isaiah, "the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light," and calls his first disciples to him. Khalia's homily shone with peace and hopefulness, and a call to follow, as that first call came so long ago. She invited the four of us up to the table for Communion, where we recited the familiar words together and served one another the bread and cup.

I've gone to church my whole life, but I've never bowed down at an altar rail and officially given my life to Jesus, never gotten "saved." It's not my way, not something I felt moved to do, and I didn't want to do it unless I felt moved. Some may say that's because I want to have the illusion of control in my life, and sure, maybe it is. But I think it's primarily because my experiences and relationship with Jesus have come organically, as I've grown up, left home, returned home, met people and communities throughout who have nurtured both my doubt and my belief.

I've always been a God girl more than a Jesus girl, because God is easier for me to comprehend, a feeling or a being deeper and wider than myself, than the world, and for some reason that has not been difficult to sense. God encompasses all elements, and there are many ways to God. I've never been bothered by, and in fact greatly love, the truth that there are multiple faiths within our human family. It's such a joy, that diversity of paths wrapped up in the same human seeking. And so Jesus has always been tougher for me--a human not fully human, yet God completely God, in the midst of a world that holds other possibilities for divine beings, and the one you believe in is often by the luck of where you were born and raised.

But Jesus has slowly become more real to me, as I cultivate who I want to be in the world, what I want to stand for, how I want to act. To be part of the great light. I'm sensing that more and more these days.

After Eucharist, at noon, we walked in the abnormal yet lovely January sunshine, stood outside a packed reception hall--the reception hall where Sean and I had our first dance as husband and wife--and listened to the strains of a Brahms quintet, in turns both leisurely and frantic. This is where I should be in this moment, I thought looking out over the crowd, frozen into music, as the clock carries us into the unknown.


On Saturday, I left the house at eight o'clock to buy poster board and markers at CVS. I guess this means I'm doing it, I thought. The downpour started not long after, making the couch more and more appealing. But the purchase of the supplies had been the deciding point--at 10:30, I kissed Sean, got back into my car, and navigated the watery highway to church.

I'm still processing a lot from the Atlanta women's march. My primary response is that I'm so glad I went, and I'm proud that I went. I felt hopeful, empowered, part of something meaningful in this polarizing age (though there's the tension--this was polarizing, too)--to lift my heart and my voice and my sign for purposes much greater than just me. I could have easily cozied up with a blanket and a book, but I did what was, for this introvert, the tougher thing. I would have missed out on the camaraderie, the hope, the adrenaline in the midst of 60,000 strong, and then when I got home, the amazement of a Facebook feed full of march photos from all over the country and world.

I wrote on my sign, "Do Justice. Love Mercy. Walk Humbly," from the Book of Micah. And so though it wasn't specified, I walked for Korryn Gaines, Terence Crutcher, Sandra Bland, Trayvon Martin, and more. I walked to show my Muslim neighbors my support, because how would I feel if I were persecuted for the most important part of me, my faith? I walked because a white man can still spend only three months in prison after committing rape and assault on an unconscious girl. I walked because my gay and married friends are my best Christian role models. Because immigrants are what our country was built on. Because refugees have nowhere left to go, and if we truly believe in the American dream, it should include them. Because the separation of church and state is important. Because 70 degrees and tornado watches in January aren't normal.

I walked because he may not be the president that I wanted, but he is the president... And I know my privilege as a white straight female shows up even in that statement, in accepting that, but I hated when some on the other side did this to President Obama, did not claim him for deeper, uglier reasons than policy, and so I'm trying, just the slightest bit, by at least acknowledging that current reality. I walked because in the midst of that current reality, I want to do all I can to be part of the great light.

To me, this is where Jesus comes in. "I do not deny that we have a new president, but I do not have to follow his example," I wrote on Instagram. (A woman on MARTA said she saw a sign that read, "He's the president, but he's not my leader.") "I'm sure not great at it, but I'm trying to keep up with this dude from Nazareth, who I believe would have marched--was marching--alongside us today." Jesus (who was not white, by the way) loves us all, but he walked with those on the outskirts, with the oppressed, with those whose rights are threatened, with those who need their voices heard. My prayer is that the new president ends up doing the same. But whether or not he does, my prayer is that I end up doing the same.

Another response that I've had after reading the thoughts of both strangers and people I look up to on social media (oh that oxymoronic space, blessing and curse, isolator and community-builder), is realizing that I need to be more humble, and recognize that I simply overcame my introvert-ism and rain clouds for five hours on one Saturday, when women and men of color and all personality types have been marching for decades in all kinds of weather, waiting for the majority of whites to join in.

No alternative facts here; just a convicting and true truth.

I think about Bree Newsome, leading us to breathe, in and out, in and out... Becoming aware of an unconscious behavior.

Because I'm not a march person, or I haven't been in the past. And I know I wouldn't have gone on Saturday if a group from church hadn't proactively gotten together and made it relatively easy for me to get there. I believe Black Lives Matter, but do I really if I haven't been to a march or a rally? I waved to the cops in their raincoats, said thank you, they smiled and waved cheerfully back, but if I were at a Black Lives Matter march, would they be as open, as smiling under riot gear?

And there's also the matter of intersectionality, which Facebook friends have brought up and educated me about as well--the truth that white feminism and the lives and rights of black women have not typically gone hand in hand. As one sign on Saturday read, "Feminism without intersectionality is just white supremacy." And the reminder on multiple other signs that while 94% of black women voted for Hillary Clinton, 53% of white women voted for Donald Trump. So I'm asking myself: What is my role, as a white woman who voted for Hillary Clinton, who can barely comprehend why a woman of any race would vote for Trump (and I know that there are also women who can barely comprehend why a woman of any color would vote for Clinton) in starting conversations with my fellow white women who are Trump supporters? I hardly know any in the first place, and those I do are family members who I don't know that well and don't want to be completely ostracized from. How can I use my privilege to listen and speak to others of privilege who I don't understand (and then share my own side)? 

Breathe in, breathe out... "Every person has within them the ability to be a changemaker."

I saw a Facebook post yesterday by Leah Peterson addressed to white women (she's white too), and I feel like I'm doing what she says not to do: "I see you out there, marching and trying to be better than you were last year, last month, last week, yesterday. I see you trying to figure out how to be an ally to the Black community and to other marginalized groups. I am too...And then I see you read something from a person who is expressing their hurt and anger, one of our Black sisters, and your old programming comes right back up *bloop* and it's hard to not just grab those old feelings and put them right back on...Stop. Just stop. Our Black sisters and other marginalized friends have every right to be angry and frustrated and impatient and sarcastic or anything else they want to be. Because they are expressing THEIR LIVED EXPERIENCE." 

She's so very right. As a writer of real life, I can attest to the value of expressing your lived experience--most especially, the value and gift of others sitting with you in it without judgment, and even better, in support and understanding.

Peterson goes on, "The best thing you can do is take in all those feelings coming from our sisters who are hurting and angry and OWN IT. Remind yourself that yes, you're trying because THIS is how they feel. You're doing what you're doing because it's RIGHT and it's how humans with empathy and sympathy and a working heart should live their lives once they figure it out."

Breathe in, breathe out... What will be my contribution? Where will I jump in to help humanity lift itself up? To lift my fellow women of all backgrounds up, especially those who have been without my encouragement?

I'm grateful that Peterson wrote those words and shared them. I hope and pray I'm owning it, hope and pray that I can hold both of those responses--my pride and gratitude in participating, my humility and knowledge of much more to be done--in tension with one another, respecting myself, those I marched with, and those who have been marching long before me.

The one thing I wish I had done more of in the midst of the energetic, jazz band, cheering and chanting 1.7 miles: Talk to people I didn't know. At one point, I turned my phone around to take a selfie in the midst of the throng. I put it back in my pocket immediately, didn't look at the resulting photo. But when I got home, I noticed the woman just over my right shoulder. Beautiful, African-American, smiling underneath her baseball cap. Her eyes also reaching my camera.

I wish, so badly, that I had sensed her presence, turned around, and introduced myself. Or just turned around in the first place to do more than snap photos.

Next time. Because for me--for all of us, especially those of us who are growing in this knowledge--there needs to be a next time.

This piece of writing doesn't really have an end. I don't feel like it can, because here we are, still working. Still grappling. Here I am, still trying to explore myself and the systematic elements of privilege that have deep roots. None of it completely hits the nail on the head, all of it is imperfect. What I say in this moment is not the end all be all. It's just a start. But, being me, I had to write it down. 

And though this piece can't really have an ending, I do believe that the the week itself ended with planting. Clearing the old pine straw out of a circle of soil, and finding soft, fresh dirt underneath the hard surface. Fashioning space for new roots to grow out from where they began, watering so that color will blossom. So that, planted side by side in an unbroken circle, we can learn and work together to be the great light.