The words you’re about to read come from a dear friend known mostly as “The Peace Dragon Lady.” A survivor of a terrorist attack and cancer, Linda Garrison Ragsdale spends her life teaching kids about making peace and she has an uncanny way of saying what so many of us feel. Especially now. It’s an honor to share her words with you.
In light of the world turning in a direction I’m unacquainted with,
I find as always, my heart leads me back to the place I need to be.
In a world so undefined and filled with illusion, I want to be very clear what kind of American I am.
I am the grown up child
Who forever feels her hand over her beating heart
And hears herself pledge, “indivisible with Liberty and justice for all.”
I meant it then.
I mean it now.
I am the American woman, who would not choose abortion as a young woman,
But know that it is a choice for me to make for me- not made for me by someone else.
I respect the decision of every person to reconcile their choices with themselves and their spiritual or non-spiritual nature, as I would hope they would respect mine.
I cannot imagine the weight of that decision, but would never force a sentence for anyone finding themselves there.
It is never a choice taken lightly.
It is a choice that is never forgotten.
But as women, we have to make choices.
And we do.
I am a woman who believes in owning her choices and their consequences.
I am the American woman who is angered by the hypocrisy of those who profess their pro-life stand, and openly deny the rights of those standing next to them, sharing the same air, but different enough to somehow be deemed unworthy of their passion of support for life, but readily offered the wrath of their limited love and compassion.
I am the American mother, who sees no boundaries for the children I am to called to care for – all children.
I ache for the child who came to speak to me with a gun, and the child who died by my side.
But I am the woman,
who’ll hold the child who comes to me after being bullied, ignored, frightened or ill.
And for those children who are searching for who they are and where they fit in,
I am their home.
My welcome mat is rolled out, and soup is on the table.
I will whisper words of strength to them and like the Iron Lady whom I’ve admired from afar, I will spread my iron skirt and hold them in my lap.
“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”
Yes- I am that American lady too.
I am the American who sees her neighbors on every continent, and wants to hear their stories. I want to know my neighbors and make sure they’re okay. I want them to be able to call on me, and me on them.
And I am the American who loves this land, this lady earth who has graciously held space for us all, while we are learning how to clean up our acts.
I believe in our parks, our sacred lands
And protecting our resources from those select few who seek a buck over a body – a living breathing body of land, water and air and us.
Yes, I am the tree-hugging, animal loving, protect-every-specie, sweetie.
I’m the American who believes we have the right to use our voice, but know only the right voice can create change.
I am the American who will not fight, threaten, trick, lie, or manipulate a fellow human being. I am the American who puts people before the party, and wouldn’t sell my values for a gun, a piece of land or a drop of oil.
I am an American who holds her word as a bond to her very soul.
What I put out into this world creates the world I live in.
I choose love.
Unconditional love because that is what my spiritual text calls upon me to do.
Those I are the words I choose to empower.
I am the American who sees a darkness on the horizon and will use every ounce of my energy into being a light, and keeping that light bright, dispelling that darkness with truth, honor and compassion.
Because I am the American, who now sees a bit more clearly the dreams I was drawn to as a child,
the America I believed in, hoped for,
if I keep my human heart beating to that rhythm.
I am that woman.
And I believe in that America.
For more about Linda’s work and links to her marvelous children’s books, please click here: www.thepeacedragon.com