Running late, we pulled into the parking spot closest to the door of Drums, Etc. Josh jumped out of the car and ran in for his lesson. Sitting in the car with the other kids, I can’t help but stare at the women sitting on a motorcycle in the spot next to us. She is covered with piercings and sits there, intermittently biting her nails and smoking her cigarette on the seat of the bike. She glances over at us and her heavy-lidded, glassy eyes light up as she smiles at me. Her clothing is black and her shirt is ripped in all the right places. I wonder who she is waiting for, she looks like someone with an interesting story. Eventually, the other kids and I go in and wait for Josh while he gets his lesson. When the half hour is up and we parade through the building and back outside, she is still there, this time with a boyfriend.
“Nice mohawk kid!” the boyfriend shouts at Will as he dashes by him, towards the car.
“What do you say?” I tell Will and give him that mom glare.
The woman jumps in, “He said thanks,” and smiles again at me.
The boyfriend goes on to tell Will he should grow it out and all the different things he could do with a mohawk. He even continues on to give him hair tips, like how to use Elmer’s glue to make some really good spikes.
I laugh and say I’m not sure that would go over ok in first grade and we say goodbye.
As we climb into the car Abbey says right away- “Did you see her shirt!?”
I had. And I knew Abbey would bring it up.
Her sexy, torn tee-shirt bore the band name Bad Religion. It’s emblem was a cross that had a red circle around it and slash line going through it. I wasn’t sure what it meant, but it didn’t seem like something that felt particularly warm and fuzzy to the whole idea of Jesus or God.
I talk to Abbey as we pull away, shouting to the back of the car.
“Yes, I saw it.”
She seems taken aback by the whole thing, wonders about the woman respecting faith and then responds with this,
“She should really find something she is for, instead of just being against something.”
Now that really wasn’t what I thought Abbey was going to say. But her words hit me and then sink in. And instantly I’m reflecting.
We spend so much time in fear and anxious about the things we are against.
It may be for very good reasons. Reasons of pain and hurt. Reasons of justice and being heard.
But the idea that we need to focus on the things we are passionate about, rather than the things we are against, is SO right to me.
So I share this with Abbey,
“Remember that we don’t know her story. But you are so right. I think the people who will make the most change in this world are the ones who work on the things they are for, rather than rally against the things they are against.”
Makes sense to her.
This makes sense to me.
I pull into Drew’s work parking lot to drop Abbey off. They will go to soccer practice from here. As she gets her stuff together and climbs out of the car, she says,
“How many piercings do you think she had?”
I look down and she has been sketching a picture of this woman. The pencil marks across the page, forming into a face.
I’m not sure what she is thinking about our encounter today. But she’s thinking.
And as she often does, she’s using her love for art to find her way.