For my first written blog I would like to share something I wrote for my mother’s service of remembrance. She lives within me, through me: in every thought, every word, every song, every dance step...she is there. She transitioned on February 2nd, 2011. I will say more about my experiences during the last 9 years at a later time. For now, meet my mother, Patricia Marie Dickey Scott.
When I think of my mama the words of Howard Thurman come to mind. "Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs are more people who have come alive."
My mother encouraged people to live fully… to dare to be more… to dare to take a chance on living their dreams. She’d say, “You can be anything you want to be… do anything you want to do…because anything you can dream, you can do.” She knew this… and somehow her knowing became your belief and suddenly the Universe was opening in extraordinary ways… and the life you were dreaming was becoming reality all around you.
This was my mother at her best… planting seeds and dreaming others into being. Of course, it took hard work. One of mother’s refrigerator affirmations was, “whatsoever your hand finds to do… do it with your might.” And she did. She was the “Cool-Aid Mom”. The mom who organized ‘fun’ for all the kids in the neighborhood… she was the safe space for kids to be who they were… and the sage who led them to their better selves. Mama was completely invested in the potential of each young life that she touched… including my own.
When I was 9 years old my dad promised to get me a B.B. gun for my birthday. Mama was fully opposed to the idea… and I can only imagine the “discussion” they had around it. Miraculously, dad won the battle and convinced her that I should have the gun. On the day that I opened it, I grabbed it and began to run outside. Mama said, “Hold on, not so fast, young man. Sit down, I need to talk to you.” I knew this was serious and I sat down on the sofa before her. She knelt down to me and said, “Son, you got the gun. I didn’t want you to have it, but your father wanted it, and so you got the gun. Now, before you can go outside and shoot it you have to promise me something. You have to promise me that whatever you shoot…. you will go and look at.” “I promise,” I said, thinking that her request was a very simple one and that it would be no problem to fulfill. Out the door I went.
The first day I shot at tin cans. Tin cans on fence posts, tin cans in lines, tin cans in pyramids, tin cans on sticks… tin cans. The next day I graduated to glass bottles. These were more fun because they broke… there was a greater impact… much more dramatic than tin cans. On the third day my attention was captured by the movement in the yard… the birds and the squirrels… I wondered if my aim was good enough to shoot a moving target. I practiced shooting at them… missing on purpose… shooting just beside them and watching them fly or scurry away. This soon lost interest and a desire began to grow inside of me, the desire to really shoot one of these creatures…to kill it…dead.
I saw a Robin Red Breast sitting in a tree. I snuck up on it… took aim… and fired. The little bird fell to the ground like a rock… a wave of terror ran through my little body and I began to run away…only to find my mother’s voice stopping me dead in my tracks. “You must look at whatever you shoot.” And my response, “I promise”.
I turned around slowly and walked to where the bird had fallen. At first I didn’t see it and thought that maybe I had imagined the whole thing… that the bird had flown away and I was off the hook. Then, I moved the branches of a bush aside and there was the tiny Robin lying on the ground, twitching….and twitching…and twitching. I watched it for a long time… and as I watched something inside me was rearranged. I realized the power that I held in my hand and the power that lived within my heart… and I realized the responsibility that came with each of these powers.
In that moment I remembered another story that my mom had shared... it was of an old dog that had the mange… her stepfather, Billy, had done the humane thing and put the dog out of its misery by shooting it. I put the B.B. gun to the little bird’s head and pulled the trigger… the twitching stopped. I cried… and I never shot another living thing.
This was mother’s way. She would plant a seed that would, in the right moment, take root and grow into a way of being. She allowed me to experience life and to learn the lessons that life had to teach me… on my terms… for myself. And she did this for so many people throughout her life.
The earth is a better place because Pat Scott walked upon it. May the same be said of us all… because that would be my mother’s greatest wish… and the highest honor that we could bestow upon her.