The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
— Martin Luther King, Jr.
(You can see more of Dr. King’s quotes and wonderful photos at Robin’s blog.)
I am not a brave person. I wasn’t brought up to be one. I was born in one of those gray periods in Chinese history. Leaving Mainland China and relocating to Taiwan, people faced a lot of uncertainties. Separating from their families (parents, siblings…), they carried a huge load of sadness and guilt. My parents, I believe, had made a conscious decision not to talk about their past. I didn’t hear a thing about my grandparents until I turned 40. I must have sensed something that was not quite right. Ever since I was little, even though nothing bad had happened, I had this unsafe feeling deep inside. Conflicts and controversies frightened me.
Because I am not brave, I particularly admire courageous people like Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Park… etc. I wish I could/would be like them.
Still, when my daughter told me she was going to participate a march for women’s right, my instant reaction, in my head, was, “Oh no.”
Demonstration was not allowed when I grew up. One could be put in jail for doing so. Hearing what my daughter said, I paused, trying not to say anything that I would regret, and, at the same time, trying to control the fear that started running all over me.
“Really?” I finally said.
Unlike me, my daughter grew up in America. She doesn’t have any problem to stand up for her beliefs.
“Yes, I already bought the flight ticket,” she said.
We didn’t discuss further. For the rest of the week, I kept thinking about the rally, feeling somewhat uneasy. Then I remembered Martin Luther King Jr., and Rosa Park, and Nelson Mandela. I had always wondered where they got their courage and questioned “aren’t they afraid? Not even a little bit?”
For many years, I had convinced myself that they were made differently. There were people like them and people like me. Something in their DNA, it appeared to be. Now I looked at my daughter. I knew DNA wasn’t it.
I think it’s time for this mother to grow up. It’s time for me to step out of my comfort zone. I can never be like Martin Luther King or Rosa Park, but I may be able to walk next to my daughter next time.
Yes, I can picture it. 😉
Thanks for visiting my blog.