Dinner with the President

This morning at 6 a.m., I was breastfeeding my 4-month-old and scrolling through emails on my iPhone, I discovered that my boss had dinner with the President and  Michelle Obama last night! Talk about a once in a lifetime opportunity! She’s still in D.C., but I cannot wait to hear about it after she gets back! (Can you tell? I’m ending every sentence with an exclamation point!)  And we’re always excited about opportunities to get Rocketown‘s name out there, and how often do Nashville non-profit’s get a chance to go viral across the country? Of course, there’s a wet blanket to this story. I texted my mom this morning to share the titillating news, and she seemed a little less than enthused, firing off a l lot of questions. Granted, I sent the text knowing my parents are staunch Republicans and belong to the “dethrone Obama” club, however, you assume people can look past their differences to recognize that having dinner with a president, any president, is the story of a lifetime and definitely worth a handshake and a pat on the back, even in a campaign year. Feeling a little deflated after the text conversation I had with my mom, I worry about the inevitable onslaught of judgment and critique bound to rush in once the news circulates across our red state of Tennessee and not to mention our donors. My hope is that extremely raw energy from this week and naming Rick Santorum as Tennessee’s Republican representative will not make our supporters see red in the way of Rocketown blood. There is bound to be backlash, that’s what politics does, it divides. But I hope and I pray, that the collective “we” of Rocketown will see this as an opportunity to share the same grace with one another that we extend to the kids that come through our doors. We should remember that love, grace, and a shared mission unite us. That not only the teens that we serve, but the community will be watching us. And our actions and our words will reflect this place. This is an organization that we offer to kids as a “safe place”, a “come as you are” establishment, regardless of race, gender, religion, status, socioeconomic standing, political stance, sexual orientation and personal preference. THEY will be watching and measuring our acceptance of one another. Where we draw the line, what we argue about, what we find “unforgivable”. All that comes to mind as I write this is, “United we stand, divided we fall”. No one ever said grace was easy, we live life with people who think, act and look different than us. It’s a challenge, but it’s worth wrestling over. People are more important than affiliation. And we are one, under God, His children of equal value, no favorites. And I will start praying now, that the amazing grace that was shown to each of us, will flow forth from all of us.

Shalom, Lauren

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