It Was My Time to Speak up for Justice

I thought I would have a defining moment of feeling like a grownup one day. Maybe it would be the day I got married or became a mother. But no. Instead it was the day I stood in a room full of relatives who had known me since I was tiny and did this one thing ... I decided to speak up for justice.

“Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands.”  — Anne Frank

Over spring break, I went with my sons to South Carolina to visit my parents. At the end of our week, three of my aunts drove in from three different states. These are my mother’s sisters, and they have been a part of my life for as far back as I can remember.

It was a mostly good visit. We sat around telling stories, and I always love hearing about my mom before she was my mom. They told how some cousins scared her in the graveyard, and she fainted. The cousins were so afraid Mama would tell on them, they waited on her hand and foot for a month.

It’s hard to imagine my mother helping with a séance in the graveyard at night (most of their stories involve graveyards, because we are from eastern Kentucky, where every house has its own cemetery). She grew up to be my hard-working, penny-pinching, bluegrass-singing, quilt-quilting Mama, and I’d be lucky to be half the woman she is.

Unfortunately, it is an election year, so the conversation eventually turned to which candidate everyone is voting for. That’s when I had to start biting my tongue. I won’t tell you whom my aunts liked and didn’t like, but I will tell you, we didn’t agree on any of them.

I bit my tongue so often it’s amazing I didn’t come home with a bloody chin, but I digress.

I bit my tongue so often it’s amazing I didn’t come home with a bloody chin.Click To Tweet

As I sat, listening (and trying not to listen) while they justified their choices in both logical and illogical ways, I thought about how strange it is to be with them as a grown-up. If I did open my mouth and explain my opinion on a certain orange-haired man or former first lady, would they have listened? Would they have carefully considered my contribution to the conversation?

For most of my life, I was a child to them. I could be wooed with candy and puppies and new dresses. Since reaching adulthood, I rarely get to see this part of my family. We are scattered from Ohio to Mississippi, and they have not witnessed the last fifteen years of my life.

For most of my life, I was a child to them. I could be wooed with candy and puppies and new dresses.Click To Tweet

How surreal to be an adult among my adults, to be a grown-up among the very people I always thought of as “the grown-ups.”

For most of the hours I spent with my family that weekend, I remembered Proverbs 29:11: “A fool lets fly with all his temper, but a wise person keeps it back.” So I kept it back. I bit my tongue harder and harder. I met my sister’s eyes across the table, commiserating when the conversation hit landmines once again. I played games on my cell phone and pretended not to hear.

I almost made it, friends. Almost.

But politics are one thing, and they are not the only thing. On my last morning with my family, I overheard a statement that loosed my tongue. I wish I had paused and thought out my response, because my words are always better with a little editing. However, I don’t regret speaking that morning, on that subject. Someone had to speak for justice, for love, for reconciliation and equality.

Yes, the Bible says a fool let’s fly with her temper, and my family may have seen me as a fool that morning, leaving the room to cry because the words people sometimes say break my heart. But the Bible also says there is a time to be quiet and a time to speak (Ecclesiastes 3:7-8).

It was my time to speak up for justice.

It was my time to speak. #justiceClick To Tweet

I left thinking of my own place in this world. Those women were my adults, but now they are my peers. And as much as I love and respect them as my elders and my family, I also get to have a voice. And my voice matters.

For a while, crying in my childhood bedroom, I felt like a little kid again. But then I stood up, washed my face, and returned to the kitchen for breakfast. The conversation moved on. I gathered our belongings and my husband loaded the car for our drive back to Mississippi.

Somewhere along the Interstate between Mama’s house and my own, I accepted who I am. I decided I get to be me, the character I formed with my own hands. I decided that the advice my family gave me over the years mattered, and the path they set me on is the path that led me to here. It may not be the path they thought it was, because it did not twist and turn how their own journeys once twisted and turned, but it is my path, and I have walked it.

I have walked my own path and earned my own voice.

I have walked my own path and earned my own voice.Click To Tweet

Now I am one of the grown-ups. I will watch my own kids go down their own paths and earn their own voices. They will form their characters and become the grown-ups for other children. And I will respect their thoughts and opinions, even when they are not my own.

Can you pinpoint the moment you grew up?

I thought it might have been when I got married or had a child or overcame a parenting obstacle, but I was wrong.

The moment I became my own, I was thirty-four-years-old and no longer afraid to say, “I think you are wrong, and this is why.”

Can you pinpoint the moment you grew up?Click To Tweet
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Heather Truett
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Heather Truett

I drink Sweet Cream in my coffee. My DVR is set to record Doctor Who, Grey's Anatomy, and The Walking Dead. I have a serious chapstick addiction, a history of purple/blue/green hair styles, tattoos on my left ankle and my right foot, a whole solar system of freckles, and I may or may not spend an inordinate amount of time trying to convince my kids I am a Time Lady from Gallifrey.
Heather Truett
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Latest posts by Heather Truett (see all)

About Heather Truett

I drink Sweet Cream in my coffee. My DVR is set to record Doctor Who, Grey's Anatomy, and The Walking Dead. I have a serious chapstick addiction, a history of purple/blue/green hair styles, tattoos on my left ankle and my right foot, a whole solar system of freckles, and I may or may not spend an inordinate amount of time trying to convince my kids I am a Time Lady from Gallifrey.

  • How surreal to be an adult among my adults, to be a grown-up among the very people I always thought of as “the grown-ups.” – Yes it is surreal! The moment that I realized I had grown up was when I moved out on my own, and I saw that I could take care of myself just fine. 🙂

    • heathertruett

      I never did that, moved out on my own. I moved from my Mom’s to my Dad’s when I finished school. Then I moved with my husband to an apartment. I never lived alone, never once supported myself. Maybe that is part of what has taken me so long to learn to trust myself.

  • I can totally resonate with that weird feeling of disagreeing with my parents… and now being completely entitled to because I am an adult too. Having grown and learned a ton about the world and who I am and who God is while in college, I have some different opinions. It can also be a little unsettling to not just trust their opinions as the “grown-ups” anymore and think things through for myself!

    • heathertruett

      It’s a somewhat scary feeling… responsibility for myself.

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