What Now Michelle Obama?

I’ve been sitting in my car next to Michelle Obama for months, listening to her tell me her life story.

I heard all about growing up on the South Side of Chicago in a working class, very tightly knit family. She shared lovingly about her father who struggled silently with diabetes and whose actions taught her about dignity and strength; also about her straight-shooter mom who never got caught up in pretense even when she was living in the White House. She shared about the strengths that had her excel academically and professionally, and also her shadow sides that got in the way. I got a kick out of hearing about how she met Barak, and really appreciated hearing about her journey to stay true to herself, while at the same time pushing her limits and growing beyond what she thought possible.  I learned about the intense, disorienting, energetic, confusing, complex journey to two terms in the White House, both as First Lady and as a mother of two young girls; and finally her mixed feelings when it was time to close that chapter and move on.

Michelle Obama’s voice narrating her memoir ‘Becoming’, has been a source of joy and connection throughout the winter.  As an 18+hour audiobook it went with me all over the place. And now that’s over, I feel a loss. She returns to the world ‘out there’, leaving me with the CBC. I miss her.

Listening, as each chapter unfolded I was moved by her intelligence, authenticity, vulnerability, courage, passion, dedication, insight and heart. I am left deeply inspired by the person she is, and by the integrity that grounds both her and her husband. This integrity, along with the grit and wisdom they both possess reminds me that effective and true leadership in the best sense is alive, and gives me hope that it’s waiting to step back into the spotlight. I just pray it doesn’t wait too long.