The Impossibility of Good Trouble

"And That's A Brilliant Glimpse of Insight!"

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This past weekend I decided to get in my car and drive.  I needed fresh air, loud music, and my thoughts. 

A funny thing happens to me when I’m driving  with the music turned up to a level that can probably break glass, singing uninhibitedly off key, and drinking a coca cola and eating Lay’s chips ( a habit I have had whenever I take a trip).  I remember the impossible good trouble in my life that I have gotten into, to change the world.

When those memories hit me its like a flood gate opening and I feel like I did when I was young and inspired by the likes of James Baldwin, Audre Lorde, Toni Morrison, Richard Wright, W.E.B Dubois, and Zora Neale Hurston. 

I am inspired.

So, I cranked up the music in my car with Teena Marie belting out Square Biz and found myself loudly singing the chorus  

“You know I love spirituals and rock

Sarah Vaughn, Johann Sebastian Bach

Shakespeare, Maya Angelou

And Nikki Giovanni just to name a few!”

Why is it that when we are young and inspired, we know what we need to do to change the world.  Because, its what Congressman John Lewis said was “good trouble!”  When we are young, we have no fear of how we will be seen or heard.  We are okay making good trouble. 

Good trouble.  The kind of trouble that makes other people take notice.  The kind of trouble that has shaped our world from the stone age to the industrial revolution.  Good trouble.  The kind of trouble that led the Christ man to turn over the money changing tables in the temple. 

Good trouble, born of Woodstock, Black Panthers, Peace, the Chicago 7, Gloria Steinem, Bra Burning, Angela Davis, Lunch Counter sit-ins, walking across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, being hosed down or bitten by dogs, war protest, Kent state, and so much more.

A lifetime of good trouble.  Those were the memories swirling through my mind as Louis Armstrong belted out, “What a Wonderful World,”

“The colors of the rainbow

So pretty in the sky

Are also on the faces

Of people going by

I see friends shaking hands, saying how do you do

They’re really saying, I love you.”

Written in 1968 during the Vietnam War, this good trouble song was written to bring hope to the millions of victims suffering the effects of the war…from soldiers to families and children left abandoned in Vietnam.

I am inspired.  We have in this country a history of providing good trouble, even when we thought it was impossible. 

As I wound down my trip through out Colorado this weekend to see this beautiful state, one of my favorite quotes from St. Francis of Assisi came to mind, “Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”

Today and everyday let us move towards the impossible of good trouble.

And That’s A Brilliant Glimpse of Insight.

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