Rosa Parks writes in her autobiography that it was not exhaustion that rainy day on the bus that made her choose not to give up her seat: “The only tired I was, was tired of giving in.”
I’m always on the look out for a catalyst. It’s like finding magic on earth. It can take my breathe away at both its simplicity and complexity. Those moments, or people, amaze me.
They flood me with hope and joy. The ever constant reminder that anything is possible…. as long as you don’t give up.
Today is the memorial of Rosa Parks birthday.
Her actions on the bus that rainy day and the events that it initiated set the wheels in motion for something she probably could not have imagined…. she was not the first person to have done it, nor was she the last person, but she was the catalyst. Her good community standing, her willingness to bring change, no matter the cost, led her to become the international icon of resistance to racial segregation.
When I think of the word ‘catalyst’ I see sparks of fire and light – like some nebulae, vibrant in dark space and in which new stars are beginning to form. Creating new stars for us to follow, new constellations for us to map our life’s journey to, and new destinies for us to reach for.
I wanted to commemorate Rosa Parks today in an image and words – but didn’t know what to write, as so many incredible and wise historians have said it all already.
That is until I picked my son up from school.
“I’ve done it” he said.
“Done what luv?”
“I’ve taken a stand, I’m making a change and the wheels are in motion.”
And there it was in front of me. I was bearing witness to a bright and shining catalyst on a rainy Tuesday afternoon.
“I’m tired of it, I’m tired of giving in.”
His words echoed through time to match Rosa’s.
I don’t believe you can change the world unless you start with your own front room, or classroom, or office, your own heart.
Changing seats, or having that hard conversation, standing up to bullies, sharing histories of the world-changing people that have come before us, whispering to our children before they fall asleep ‘you can do great things’, silencing that negative voice in your head or taking the first step on a new journey as you navigate a different path in life for yourself. You hold a piece of magic inside of you – the catalyst for change.
Happy Birthday Rosa Parks, and thank you.