Hidden Figures

Yesterday is gone, but clips from the day have traveled into the future with me. Between loads of laundry and two cups of Columbian coffee, my husband and I slipped away for a few hours to grab lunch and a matinee. We saw Hidden Figures — though most of the world had already seen it. If you haven’t, don’t wait any longer, it’s definitely worth your time and money.

I knew I wanted to see it ever since I discovered that the three ladies about whom this story is told are my Sorors — sisters in service to Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. I wanted to read the book first though, but time just didn’t permit. What I expected to see was an inspiring story — one that would prompt me to pursue my dreams now rather than later. In that regard, it surpassed my expectations. What I didn’t expect was the range of emotions I felt while watching. I felt sad and angry when I saw the “Colored” signs posted on restrooms and water fountains. I felt relieved and vindicated when the manager tore down the “Colored” sign from the ladies’ restroom and peeled the “Colored” label from the coffee pot. My heart leapt with joy when the widowed main character found love again. I felt angry and ashamed during the scene at the public library.

If I could sum up this story in a poem, it would be Mother to Son by Langston Hughes because life was far from easy for these women. In my opinion, things haven’t changed that much. The looks, the jeers, the assumptions, the loathing, and the comparisons have traveled to the future. They didn’t remain in the 60s. Unless you’ve lived it, you’ll never understand how it feels. And when you defend yourself, you’re labeled as angry, militant, or hostile.

I’m thankful that I learned to go high when others go low long before Michelle Obama mentioned using that strategy. What I rely on are my personal hidden figures — the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit to help me bridle my tongue when necessary, smile instead of scream, walk away instead of laying hands, and pray for better days and better ways to tolerate the intolerable. Life for many ain’t been no crystal stair, but we should look to those who have walked this road before us.

Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith. ~Hebrews 13:7

We all play a part in the lives of those who are watching us. As educators, we have the power to determine the stories our students tell when they get home. We have the power to inspire them to do great things. My third grade teacher told me I was smart, and I never forgot that. She recommended me for a summer program at the university I eventually attended years later. I  took creative writing classes for two summers while in elementary school, and I met kids from other schools who also loved to write. I credit her — Mrs. LeBlanc for seeing something in me then that brings me so much joy now. She was a hidden figure for me — building my confidence all those years ago. She also gave me Cs in conduct, and I think she was generous in doing so. I talked too much back then, but she used it to her advantage by asking me to be her helper instead of squashing my need to chit chat.

We are who we are because of all the wonderful hidden figures who worked behind the scenes to make our launch into adulthood a successful one. Who are your hidden figures? Scroll down to the comments, and give them a shout out.

Lord, thank you for all those who have played a pivotal role in our lives. Whether they are with us ’til the end or only make a few cameo appearances, bless them for speaking the word of God to us and allowing us to imitate their faith. May their latter be far greater than their former years as a reward for their service to all whom they’ve touched. May blessings abound! ❤