Showing Up


[Bumper Stickers on a Somerville Volvo, 2016]

Sometimes Spirit merely whispers, “Do it.” Period. Sometimes reasons are not given. Sometimes we’re supposed to simply be faithful to that Still Small Voice. But sometimes, when it’s pouring rain and you’re wondering if you’re really meant to march in a parade, you wish Spirit could be a wee bit more articulate! (Or as Bill Kreidler is reported to have said: “You want me to do what?”)

Sometimes, however, when we, indeed, Do It/ Show Up, reasons are supplied.

Reason #1: Sunday morning, wrestling with my umbrella, sheathed in long underwear, multiple layers, and L.L.Bean-sturdy rain gear, I was nervously approaching the parade-launching area when a bumper sticker caught my eye: “If it’s not fun why do it?” Oh! Right! This is A PARADE! The Honk! Parade! With marching bands! And wacky costumes!  And Somerville and Cambridge police blocking traffic so all of us, activists and street bands, can dance down Massachusetts Avenue! Oh, right: even in the midst of God-in-the-Hard-Places, there is Joy.* (Damp Joy, for sure. Bedraggled Joy. Many bands canceling because the rain threatened their instruments. But those of us who Showed Up did get to dance.)

Needless to say, the crowds lining Mass Av were pretty thin this year. But one spectator, huddled under a store awning, did Show Up despite her age and the terrible weather—and became Reason #2.  An environmentalist before most of us, she’s now retired and a widow. To see her face light up as our Mothers Out Front group marched past made my day. Because she saw young women with their families showing up. She saw, embodied, the work she’s done being carried on. She saw Sisterhood in action. With banners and red capes. (We were SuperMoms this year.)

There are some who dismiss Honk! as merely college-educated-white-people-being-(publicly)-weird. And there’s some truth to that. This year, though, just as the parade was almost to Harvard Square, Reason #3 joined us: Harvard University’s  striking kitchen workers and their supporters. What a thrill to see that long line of protesters claim Mass Av as theirs!

Thank you, Spirit!

*For me, when grappling with pain and brokenness, the joy comes from knowing that at that moment, there is absolutely nothing else I’d rather be doing than looking deeply into that “Ocean of Darkness.” (And asking myself: What am I asked to do?)

Join the Conversation


  1. Dear Patricia,

    Hi, there, Patricia, my so, so very For Always dearly special and precious soul sisterfriend who you’re For Always so, so very much!!!! Wow!!!!! Yay!!!!!! FINALLY, I’m able to write to you, absolutely amazing Patricia, and your awesome blog!!!! I’ve been away from my computer more often than usual and not at home as much, and I’ve had some appointments like yesterday I had a long dental appointment which came out very well-no cavities and I still have all of my 32 teeth with my wisdom teeth-this is why I’m so, so very full of wisdom :)!!!!! Sister, I’ve been filled with such very, very bursting eager anticipation to very, very eagerly and delightfully respond with my very thorough, detailed, and heartfelt comment, Patricia!!!!! Yay!!!!! Yay for YOU, Patricia!!!!!! Yay for your absolutely brilliant blog and other stupendous writings!!!!! Yay!!!!! Sister, this blog post article of yours here is just spectacular here, just very splendid with its keen insight and enlightenment being quite inspirational as usual as always, Patricia! The title of this very engaging blog post article is just perfect here, absolutely perfect, and perfectly adds to and complement the very theme and topic of this very cool full of spirit inspired by Spirit blog post article accents powerfully the very heart of what your sharing and declaring here, Patricia. The picture which you have very graciously and generously featured with this remarkable blog post article is just picture perfect here with the cool bumper stickers which by great and blessed coincidence match your great theme and topic here like with one of the quotes on the bumper sticker, “If it’s not fun why do it?,”

    Sister, I can so relate to your very endearing sharing here as to how you think as well that sometimes Spirit doesn’t give reasons. Sometimes I pray, wish, and hope that our So, So Very Good God would give reasons and give answers in a more direct manner. We are challenged by our Sweet Divine Spirit to keep a simple faith and trust in our God in waiting with perfect faith, trust, and complete confidence in the Very Confidence who is Spirit with such faith and expectancy of hope with such a sweetly positive optimism. Sisterfriend, I’m with you here when you express that you wish that Spirit would be a wee bit more articulate! :)!!!!!! What great dedication it took(but how fun as well) to attend the fun-filled HONK! even with the inclement weather, my friend!!!!! Wow!!! I remember how you have written about the Honk! Parade in previous years!!!!! Wow, this sounds like such an awesome community gathering for all of you to get together and to share as neighbors and in community, sister. Wow, I love the marvelous link which you have included about the Honk! Parade. The pictures are very beautiful, lovely, and pretty and look like such a grandly great and fun time! Sister, I so loved and enjoyed the great link about the late Bill Kreidler. I have a similar journey of recovery, learning, growth, and healing like he had as I am a recovering alcoholic and addict being deeply spiritual as he was in his life. His story is just very beautiful and he sounds like he was just such a kind and deeply devoted person, sisterfriend! I so, so very much loved, liked, and enjoyed all of these very interesting and fascinating links here, friend of mine, Patricia. The Ocean of Darkness link calls to my very, very heart, and very, very heart, mind, soul, and spirit. Constantly I pray and ask myself also, “What am I asked to do?,” I so enjoy and appreciate the Ocean of Light. I’m just very proud of, impressed with, and appreciative of you and the other blessedly pure in heart Quakers anyway in general, and as a black person who has ancestors who were slaves I just hold so, so very dear and close in my heart the very fine and excellent history of very, very many Quakers being anti-slavery and abolitionists. Wow!!!!! Yay!!!!! Each and every one of you as Quakers are just the very, very best and greatest, and such the very, very epitome of such very, very overall awesomeness, Patricia!!!!! Yay!!!!! Sister, for some reason I was unable to open the work she’s done being carried on link, and the striking kitchen workers link but I was able to open all of the other links. Sister, you and this very empowering elderly activist and widow just glowed along with the others with such radiant joy as you say so well even in the midst of God in the Hard Places where God as Joy can for certain For Always be found. This woman who is passing the torch on to you and the other younger persons did for sure as you very wisely say see Sisterhood in action. She is very brilliantly and absolutely astounding being very empowering. Patricia, as I read your words about how there are some who dismiss Honk! as merely being a festival with college-educated-white-people-being-(publicly)-weird I have to speak to YOU, and your amazing blog, sister, as the black woman who I am. I don’t dismiss you, dear, dear precious Patricia, and some of the other people who were marvelous white persons at Honk!!!!! I definitely think that you all as white persons are absolutely fabulous and so very cool, and as I For Always say I so, so very much love and cherish YOU, Patricia, and other fantastic white persons as children of our Good God and my sisters and brothers, very, very especially YOU, Patricia, and other wondrously wonderful white women with so, so very much loving all of you as very special and precious white women with each and every one of you being my very, very heart, and also my very, very heartsblood, and my very, very lifesblood as the black woman and the lesbian black woman who I am!!!!!! The three reasons which you listed and detailed do explain very finely how reasons are offered. In answer to the question, “If it’s not fun why do it? here is the perfect reason with Honk! being a fun-filled parade as the first reason. Then with the second reason being provided all of you were there to bear witness to an early environmentalist from back in the day and how you saw her face light up when she saw the Mothers Out Front group march along the route with the young women with their families seeing the very fruition of all of her years of activism with the Sisterhood in action as you said so very well, sister. The third reason is just magnificent here as the striking kitchen workers enacted their very agency and empowerment in advocating for their rights along with their very steadfast and undaunted allies and supporters. Wow, sister, I feel even better, brighter, and more cheerful from reading about the very uplifting Honk! parade and from the very entirety of this very endearing blog post article, Patricia!!!!! Yay for YOU, Patricia!!!! Yay for each and every one of you there!!!!! Yay for this very touching and moving blog post article and all of your other great writings!!!!! Yay!!!!!!! Patricia, I with you also say, “Thank-you, Spirit! Praise be!!!!!!!,”

    Wow, Patricia, I For Always so, so very much love and enjoy reading your awesome blog post articles and other great writings very joyfully reading all of your writings and very joyously responding with my very heartfelt, detailed, and thorough thoughts, ideas, and comments!!!!!! Yay!!!!!! Patricia, YOU are my very, very joy and blessing, and so are all of your wonderful blog post articles and other fine writings just as YOU and all of your work are for your other very, very many grateful and appreciative readers!!!!!! Wow!!!!! Yay!!!!! Please have such a totally terrific and a very thrilling Thursday, a wondrously wonderful weekend ahead, and may all of your days be so, so very especially blessed, Patricia!!!!!! Yay yay yay yay!!!!! Reading your very full of such astute and acute blog post articles and other very fine and excellent writings and responding are such joys and blessings for me which I so long for and look forward to with such great yearning, sister!!!!! Wow, Patricia, you are so, so very good for me and help me with my walk with Jesus as your sisterfriend Christian woman who you are as my blessed Christian Quaker sisterfriend!!!!! Thank-you so, Patricia, straight from the very bottom of my heart from the deepest depths of my heart!!!!!!

    Very Warmly and Sincerely For Always, my so, so very For Always dearly precious and special sisterfriend Christian Quaker white woman who you’re For always so, so very much, Patricia, with Such Very Peace and Love To You For Always, friend of mine, and with Such Very Blessings and Such Very More Blessings To You For Always, sister of mine,

    Yours For Always sisterfriend Christian black woman and For Always in the very great spirit and solidarity, Sherry Gordon in Iowa City, Iowa

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