Brave and strong

Rose McGee and Sarah Jackson
Rose McGee and Sarah Jackson

It isn’t easy living in the modern world. Watching horrifying events on the news and hearing devastating updates from friends and family about their trials — as we, meanwhile, are facing our own challenges — can make us feel overwhelmed, paralyzed by guilt or sick with helplessness.

Rose McGee of Golden Valley knows this feeling. Having just survived a traumatizing period in her own life, she found herself watching a heartbreaking newscast about the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014.

Deeply troubled, she was suddenly overcome by the need to take action. 

“I feel it was the Lord who spoke to me: ‘Get up and get some pies down there,’” McGee said.

So that’s what she did. And today that one grand gesture — a long-distance road trip to deliver 30 handmade sweet potato pies to Missouri — has blossomed into something even grander: Her Sweet Potato Comfort Pie project is now in its sixth year and it is, I’d argue, actually making the world a better, gentler place. 

You can read McGee’s inspiring story — and even learn how to make her amazing pie — in the pages ahead. And guess what? Hers isn’t the only story of hope in the issue. This month Dave Nimmer writes about 67-year-old Mary Johnson-Roy, who found it in her heart to forgive the man who killed her son when he was 20 years old. She went on to create From Death to Life, an organization that hosts “healing groups” for mothers whose children have been murdered and mothers whose children have committed murder. A new book that captures the tale of forgiveness, Beyond Belief, is coming out next year.

This month, we also have a Minnesota Historical Society piece that looks back at the first four women to hold office at the State Capitol. They won their races back in the 1920s in the first Minnesota election in which women were allowed to vote. Imagine! That was nearly a century ago. Just looking at their photos gives me chills.

Though Carol Hall didn’t know about that story, she just so happened to write this month about how she and many of her friends made the controversial decision in the 1950s to not have children and instead focus on their careers. 

I can’t help but marvel at the bravery all these women in these stories showed. 

I’m grateful to know them and to tell their stories in Good Age. Happy Thanksgiving.