Last year our Jonah wrote a poem for a contest about Martin Luther King Jr.  If you’ve read my blog for a while it was a turning point during a tumultuous year for him…every time I think back about how hard last year was, I still actually feel my blood pressure rising.  Jonah still has a hard time talking about some of the events, but I truly believe it gave him a strength he never knew he had.  And this poem was a transforming event.  Not because he won, which he did – in fact he took first place in a contest that honored three school districts. Not because he was able to read his poem in front a packed room at a school board meeting, that his principal and his beloved fourth grade teacher came to see.

But because he realized that if he spoke the truth, his truth, no one could ever take that from him.

I am so inspired by Jonah.  He has taught me about resilience and drive. While we both struggle to forgive(still), we also grew so much closer through it. Because it was very hard, and heartbreaking at times.  I wish I didn’t give him my anxiety or lack of flexibility, neither of us will excel at yoga. And our art skills are nil.  He has his Dad’s work ethic, intelligence and sense of calm, and like his Dad loses things.  He has my compassion and dance skills, and unfortunately my stubbornness.  Now as we wade through what has been a whole new world of middle school, I am literally watching him grow up before my eyes, as his feet are only two sizes smaller then his Dads, and he is only 4 inches shorter then me.  He is also changing in other ways, middle school is hard but he loves it. His faith in God has grown so much and he loves to read The Word and go to two Youth Groups, as well as church. He is a faithful friend and has the best friends, and (gasp) has a girlfriend.  I find myself holding my breathe as I balance my own fears about what I think middle school is and what I’m seeing in Jonah and so far…he has been open and its been a good place for him.

Jonah’s heart is like no ones else’s I’ve ever met.  His heart is so good.  And I am so blessed to be his Mom, even on the days when I think changing middle school emotions will drive me to drink a 2 liter of Diet Dr. Pepper or wine.

So in light of that, a year later I am going to share Jonah’s poem.  I share it with pride and joy, and in thanksgiving for hope that peeks out in the strangest places on the darkest years, even if it’s on paper. That’s what Martin Luther King Jr. represented…Hope.  Love.  And Light.  I am grateful for his influence on my son, he showed him how to find his truth.  And to write about it.

Help This World

Martin Luther King Jr. was a good man

He gave speeches.

He fought to change things.

I am an Eleven year old.

I get nervous in front of people,

and I want to change things.

Martin Luther King Jr. was a good man

The laws were unfair.

White and Black people were separated.

You couldn’t vote, because of the color of your skin.

I bet it was really hard to live then.

It’s hard to live now too, sometimes.

Knowing that the people you love are sick,

or someone is hurting.

Martin Luther King Jr. was a good man.

He had a dream, that everyone was free.

And never used violence to settle things.

I have dreams.

That people will stop littering, so that wildlife can live.

That doctor’s will find a cure for cancer.

Martin Luther King Jr. was a good man.

He believed in Peace.

He spoke of Peace. He spoke of Hope.

I believe in Peace.

I want wars to stop. I want the poor and sick to be healed.

I hope for these things.

Martin Luther King Jr. was a good man.

He was a leader.  He was Brave.

He was mentally strong.  He had Faith.

I try hard to be a leader.

I wish I was more brave.  I wish I was more like Martin Luther King Jr.

I have Faith.

Martin Luther King Jr. was a good man.

He spoke the Truth.

But he died too young.

Martin Luther King Jr. said “Darkness cannot drive out darkness.

Only light can do that.

Hate cannot drive out hate.

Only LOVE can do that.”

 He was a good man.

And I hope to be a good man like him someday.

-Jonah M. W.