Rejoice and Plug Your Ears

Incredibly, unbelievably, FINALLY, today the U.S. Supreme Court struck down bans against same-sex marriage in all 50 states. If Facebook, where I spend all my e-time, is any indication, people are rightly freakin’ thrilled.

This means that love wins. But it means more than marriage. It means security for families. It means being able to visit and make end-of-life decisions for ill partners. It means the protections that come from being legally married are extended to all U.S. citizens. So, you know, civil rights. Equality.

I made a vow to myself today NOT to read any comments under any of the remarkable stories, beautiful pictures and triumphant posts I read. I have a tendency to do that. To look for and marvel at the ugly, to sit and stare at the nastiness with my mouth agape, while my blood pressure rises and I think, “Why?? How can you..?? Really???”

Not today. There were so many pictures of people hugging and kissing and celebrating, and I refused to give any hateful asshole a voice by reading their nastiness. It was hard not to click, but I succeeded.

However… (why has there to be a however?) I witnessed Facebook friends who are also Christians respond to, reprimand or try to talk reason to other Christians who were obviously making those comments I refused to see.

These heartfelt entreaties all read pretty much the same: What I am about to say will offend some people, but… Jesus is about love. We are called to be loving and accepting. We are meant to be examples of caring.

And then. All of them, every one, no matter how well written, hits it:

SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSsin.

And they lose. It’s over. It doesn’t matter how reasonable and loving and caring they are trying to be. Once they say the S word, it erases every open-minded and loving thing that came before.

Yes, they say, I know it’s a sin but… I sin too. Don’t judge your neighbor.
I’m not sure how saying something (or really, someone) is a sin isn’t judging your neighbor.

Ah this one. I have heard this before:
“Love the sinner, hate the sin.”

I’m sorry, but I can’t really see anyone benefiting from that flawed, judgmental, conditional love. And I can’t see anyone being surprised by that hate.

I am very, very lucky to know what love is, and I promise you, it’s not that.

What I read in this is a kind of shaky, self-congratulatory acceptance. “It is so good of me to welcome you to our church. I want you to know I can see past your sins, even if most of us in here can’t.”

That, to me, makes the wide-open church doors seem to be spring-loaded and edged in jagged metal teeth. It does not look safe to me. It does not look comforting to me. I can’t imagine finding peace in there. If the voices speaking loudest are accurate, then the people inside those doors are hurtful and angry and confused about what love is.
I’m not saying that this is actually the case, I’m just saying that that’s what the PR says.

Outside those doors and free from that confusion, the people I love and respect and cherish have been granted the civil liberties they should have had all along. It almost seems wrong for me to celebrate, because I am disgusted that it took this long. But things are righter than they were before. I am filled with unqualified happiness for the people whose lives are more secure and filled with love than they were yesterday.

If I got to decide what God felt like, it would be how I felt when I read that ruling this morning and felt clean happiness for so many people.

Check out all this God: From Human Rights Campaign

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From UpWorthy Lenny and Pearl

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#ProudToLove – Celebrating Marriage Equality and LGBT Pride Month

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Women Writers Wednesday 6/17/15

I had the honor of being the guest reviewer for Angélique Jamail’s wonderful series Women Writers Wednesday. I talk about my relationship with Anne Shirley. Enjoy, and follow Angélique if you are not already. There is so much good stuff on this blog!

Sappho's Torque

This week’s response is to one of my childhood favorites, Anne of Green Gables. I could tell you stories of how that book mattered to me when I was in junior high (now called middle school), but it would seem utterly banal next to this lovely response from J.G. Lucas.

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Anne of Green Gables and Me

I have no place reviewing Anne of Green Gables, by L.M. Montgomery. It is wonderful. If you haven’t read it, you should. The book has been around for 106 years and has sold millions of copies. There is nothing I could write about its contents that hasn’t been written before.

That said, the beauty of writing or art of any kind, is the way it transforms when experienced by each person. Anne changed and continues to change me, and I change her by the way I experience her.

My first exposure…

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Little Heartbreaks

I have plans for you, eggs

I have plans for you, eggs

Once, when my son was three or so, I overheard him talking to himself while we were getting ready for work/preschool.

“This is gonna be fun!” he said.

So I had to look. He had gathered up some plastic Easter eggs, and was smiling at them.

“What’s gonna be fun?” I asked, overwhelmed, as always, by his beautiful little smile at some delight he found on his own.

“I will play with these with my friends.”

Oh no. His school had a prison-strict policy against bringing toys to school.

“Oh, sweetie, you know you can’t take those to school right?”

“OK,” he said. And he was fine. It was fine. But I wasn’t. I felt like I had killed a small creature, his little hope creature, his little fun creature. I have no idea what he was planning to do with the eggs, but it would have made him happy, and even better, he would have shared with his friends and made them happy. And I couldn’t let him. It crushed me.

I know I can’t give him everything he wants. There are some things he wants that aren’t good for him: lots of sweets, no bedtime, a pet dragon. There are some things he wants that wouldn’t really contribute anything to his life, like another truckload of toys. But these little plans, his own first victories, his fledgling imaginations, these are the things that I want him to have, that I feel like a monster for keeping from him.

Plans

Agent C is incognito

I took him to school, sans eggs, and cried all the way to work.

Yesterday at camp, my boy missed out on popcorn. Popcorn is a treat, so much tastier because it is special, made just for movie time. He came in late, and the popcorn was already doled out, and the rules say he has to stay seated.

He told me about it last night, and already, already at four, he’s learning to hide his small heartaches. He didn’t want to look at me when he told me, and he tried not to let his voice shake or that tear escape. And I hugged him, and he hugged me hard. Thank goodness we still have that. I wanted my hug to tell him that it mattered. I knew it was more than popcorn.

This morning I asked his teacher what was the right thing to do if he comes in late from another activity and the popcorn is already handed out.

This woman, who I would now like to adopt into my family, gasped. She covered her mouth in horror.
“WHAT? OH NO!! HE DIDN’T GET POPCORN?? Oh, punkin, I’m SO sorry!!”

She looked like she would cry. I felt like I would cry. She understands. And my little boy’s heart is safe with her for the summer.

It all sounds trite, plastic eggs and popcorn. And my soul bleeds for the moms and dads who cry because they can’t feed their children, or can’t see their children, or have to work so many hours that they can’t be sure their care providers are safe, much less concerned about whether or not they get a cup of popcorn.

I know how lucky I am to have the luxury of crying over these little things. Maybe I should toughen up. But maybe if I can do a better job with these things, I can raise a compassionate person who wants to help solve the world’s problems. Or at least one who will hug his own child when she or he cries over popcorn and plastic eggs.