“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”
– Lao Tzu
Sometimes breaking the law is the right thing to do.
Growing up, in my east coast town, angry teenagers looking for a way to express themselves would climb the water tower and paint something on it. This weekend a band of suburban moms did the California version of a water tower, triumphing over barbed wire and steep hills to paint the big rock that looms over our town.
Six broken hearted angry middle aged women climbed a hill (several hills actually, it was like the Sound of Music out there. If the Sound of Music was set in Northern California, at night, eerily lit by a bunch of PGE lights that surround our community sinkhole.) We slogged through a mini river, prayed that the cows were off in another pasture, sopping the bottom of our yoga pants, climbing ferociously up STEEP grade hills, sliding uncontrollably down the back side of the hills, backpacks filled with spray paint and light beer. We became goat-like despite wearing Nike Free runs that were a poor choice of tool for the task. With head lamps borrowed from our boy scout sons we levered ourselves like lithe mountain climbers (which we are not but our mission made us into) to paint the town rock. A rock that is normally commandeered by high school students and the occasional crazed swim dad pod (you know who you are, M).
Do you know why this set of suburban moms met at 10:15 pm (yes, I said pm, as in at night) to commit this mayhem? A group of women who for the most part would have already been asleep, if not raging at their teens/tweens to be asleep? A group of moms who, at least half of them would never consider breaking a rule (the other half long out of practice at breaking rules)? They, we, were out there out of the desperate love for a man who changed all of our lives before leaving this earth too **** (insert your own swear word here) early. MAZI. Mazi Maghsoodnia. The Man. The Man who could get a bunch of law abiding moms (not a few of whom have anxiety issues) off their butts and out of their houses to climb what felt like a mountain to spray paint his name on a rock. In the dark.
We scrambled around the bottom and sides and top of the rock, one of us even hung off the top of the rock, with two people desperately grasping the back of her sweatshirt, to write the name MAZI on this rock.
And to add a soccer ball and a heart because, well, Mazi.
We were so desperate to make this work we took advice from teenagers.
Yes, we asked our teenage children what they knew about making the rock message stand out and, yes, hold on here, we listened.
And we were told how to access the hills and trail to the rock. And we were told to ‘make the letters BIG’ and we did.
After reconvening on the side street where we had parked our cars we drove into the gas station at the bottom of the hill to yell confirmations to each other like we were the Seals team that just took out Bin Laden. We yelled and gave each other thumbs up as we looked up at the dim hillside with a big rock on top that clearly, even in the dark night, said “MAZI.” The man we all loved and admired and appreciated and missed.
Mazi. You are perhaps the only person who could get this group of women out past 8:00, and not only out of their houses but climbing steep wet hills, with paint! At 12:30 we were all still texting each other in excitement, sharing pictures, imagining what you might have made of this.
You are gone but the powerful passion for life that you brought to everyone around you lives on in all the lives you touched. It fueled us all that crazy hill-climbing night, made us greedy to live large in your name. Thank you for inspiring that kind of fiery joy.
I know God has already blessed you, I know God has blessed us with knowing you, I only hope that God blesses those left behind with some ways to get along until they are with you again. With you again to play your beloved soccer, watch you dance with your beloved family, to once again stand in the light that was so uniquely yours. God bless and hold you for us all.