Wednesday, December 19, 2012

'Our Ladies of the Highways,' A Kick-ass Group of Gals

Today I met Miss Lyn. The "Miss" is the Southern-style way of referring to women, no matter their status. Lyn Manz-Walters is the head honcho of the Pride of Mobile, AL, better know as 15 Place.

She's a kick-ass, take-no-prisoners kind of gal, and she's been running this center that cares for/with homeless folks, those most people avoid, for years.

Sitting down to write the post tonight got me thinking about the dynamic women I've had the honor to meet and see in action along my HEAR US journey. The thought left me inspired.

My too-tired brain is not going to try to list or describe these women. Someday, maybe I'll write a book about "Our Ladies of the Highways." But let me offer a few thoughts....

Women I've met, and many more I'd like to meet, are doing the work of compassion that most people run from--serving populations deemed too dangerous, too far gone, too much of a waste of time. These women do what they do, not for money, but because it's what we as humans are called to do.

They buck systems, stare down naysayer authorities, hug the "unlovable," stretch too-thin resources across giant needs, laugh in the face of absurdity, comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable (Finley Peter Dunne).

They're the spark in their community. They're the sparkle in the eyes of the disenfranchised. They're the reason things aren't even worse in society. They're conscience and compassion inciters.

If you know someone who fits this description, emulate them. If you have young girls, let them see what women can do. Stand with them when the going gets tough. Encourage them to run for office. Clone them.

My day is better for popping in on a whim to see if I could catch this whirling dervish. Her southern charm not withstanding, I'd much rather be on her side than going against her. And I will do all in my power to return to this quirky little city of Mobile, where the phrase "Damn the torpedoes" was born.