Word Prompt: Repeat | Story Prompt: from the book “Quiet” by Susan Cain

Write It Out: Instruction Video

“Montgomery, Alabama. December 1, 1955. Early evening. A public bus pulls to a stop and a sensibly dressed woman in her forties gets on. She carries herself erectly, despite having spent the day bent over an ironing board in a dingy basement tailor shop at the Montgomery Fair department store. Her feet are swollen, her shoulders ache. She sits in the first row of the Colored section and watches quietly as the bus fills with riders. Until the driver orders her to give her seat to a white passenger.

The woman utters a single word that ignites one of the most important civil rights protests of the twentieth century, one word that helps America find its better self.

The word is “No.”

The driver threatens to have her arrested.

“You may do that,” says Rosa Parks.

A police officer arrives. He asks Parks why she won’t move.

“Why do you all push us around?” she answers simply.

“I don’t know,” he says. “But the law is the law, and you’re under arrest.”

On the afternoon of her trial and conviction for disorderly conduct, the Montgomery Improvement Association holds a rally for Parks at the Holt Street Baptist Church, in the poorest section of town. Five thousand gather to support Parks’s lonely act of courage. They squeeze inside the church until its pews can hold no more. The rest wait patiently outside, listening through loudspeakers. The Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. addresses the crowd. “There comes a time that people get tired of being trampled over by the iron feet of oppression,” he tells them. “There comes a time when people get tired of being pushed out of the glittering sunlight of life’s July and left standing amidst the piercing chill of an Alpine November.”

He praises Park’s bravery and hugs her. She stands silently, her mere presence enough to galvanize the crowd. The association launches a city-wide bus boycott that lasts 381 days. The people trudge miles to work. They carpool with strangers. They change the course of American history.”

***

When I think of the word “repeat” these days, I think about circular motion. Going around, and around. Some days it may feel like “chasing my tail”, but I really think that at some point I do make progress. First of all, I need to see that there is a pattern – that I am repeating a particular behaviour. Once I can see the pattern, I may still continue in that circular motion – but with a difference. I begin to spiral a little each time – to get closer to the central issue or truth while expanding outward and growing. I have moved forward from where I’d begun the last time around. Some people are able to make great gains all at once, but I relate more to the concentric circles of the growth of trees. I move ahead just a little each time. How much I grow depends on how much light, how much water, how much I pay attention and allow myself to receive.

I am thankful for all the teachings of nature – including this one. What wisdom did you find in your writing today? Share your thoughts below!

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