Wednesday, June 15, 2016

I have been waiting to talk about Orlando-Dropping rocks

I wasn't sure when inspiration was going to come to me because it always happens organically.  There it was today, like a Mac truck barreling right towards me, so here I am, pouring it all out to you, my faithful audience. 

 I have a friend who happens to be part of the LGBTQ community. He is one of the most uplifting people I know, but today he is struggling. Every Wednesday he prints out inspirational quotes and hands them out to his clients in the place where he works. He always has the ability to see the good in everything and fights for causes that are good and just. He is kind, even when he faces adversity. He is the type of person people want to know because he makes you feel important.

Today he is struggling. There are no inspirational quotes. There are no cards. Inspiration has bled out of him because of the ugliness people have been showing each other in the days after the Orlando tragedy.  It's not bad enough that a terrible human who's name I will never say, took the lives of all those beautiful people. The aftermath has been downright painful.  

My heart aches and I still cry every time I think about it. Every cell in my body weeps for the families of those who were lost and the ones who were left behind. I ache for the terror each of those people experienced in their last breaths. 

I have been waiting for my emotions to come back to reality so that when I put my thoughts on the Orlando tragedy into the world, it's not an angry garbled mess of emotions. I don't want to bleed out on my audience, I want us to start having educated dialogue. No, I want us to start having enlightened dialogue. 

The most important thing  I can say is that we are the only thing that is going to make a change. The way we live our lives and the way our light shines from within us is the only thing that will change the view of people around us. The grace we show when someone makes an ignorant comment is important.

My favorite dramatist in the entire world is a Christian woman named Nicole Johnson. Many times when I find myself struggling, I look to her work to help me make sense of it. In one of her skits, she talks about a woman, who in the eyes of the community has committed a sin.  This woman, in ancient times, was found to be guilty of her sins and was to be stoned to death outside the city. They took her out, picked up their stones. That's how things were dealt with in her place and time. No one stood for her, no one vouched for her, but they all picked up rocks to hurl at her. Being stoned to death is not a very good way to go.  It's slow and takes some time before the person being stoned takes their last breath.  You'd be surprised how much trauma a person can live through, and blood was going to be spilled on the ground that day.  Everyone stood ready with cold hard rough rocks heavy against the palms of their hands. Without a word, Jesus stepped forward and wrote something in the sand.  Everyone dropped their rocks and walked away. No one will ever know what he wrote or why it changed the minds of those people, but whatever it said changed them forever. They weren't changed with harsh words or violence. Just something written in the sand.

Johnson goes on to say that it's easy to see things as black and white until they have a face and eyes. It's easy to vilify an entire community for who they are until it's your son, or your daughter staring back with pleading eyes as you feel that heavy rock in your hand. Then it's not so easy to hurl stones at them. It shouldn't have to take that much of a connection, but in the minds and eyes of most people, change doesn't happen without some sort of connection. I wish the human connection was enough. The overall point of the skit is to get people to drop their rocks and walk away. Hear them hit the ground and let that sound solidify your decision not to throw stones.

I wish that everyone could just drop their stones.

My Damsel sisters and I, and...well Damsel in Defense as a whole really, has been talking a lot about adversity this year.  It seems to be the theme of everything we do.  We're fighting against it every single day.  What is happening right now in the wake of the Orlando tragedy is adversity.  I have watched helplessly as people who called each other friends have fought to the breaking point and chosen to walk away from each other forever.  I've watched houses divide and have read and heard the most ugly things that can come from otherwise good humans.  I watched complete strangers attack my own daughter's words without even knowing that she is one of the most caring and respectful humans in the world who would fight for each of those people so they could live a happy, healthy, and safe life.  My heart breaks with everyone who continues to lose friends, family members, and a piece of themselves in the turbulence left behind by a tragedy.    

Enough is enough.

A very good friend once told me that when we face adversity, we have to sit in it. We have to sit in it and endure it and be the light that shines within it because we know that whatever comes after it is going to change the world.  The world will never change if we're angry and hurtful towards those who are angry and hurtful towards us. The only thing anger and hate breeds is further adversity.

Every change starts with one person who sends a ripple out into the world. If each person that ripple hits is inspired and enlightened, the ripple continues to grow. If the ripple hits them like a sneaker wave and drags them into the dark cold murky water, it ends and becomes a black hole of fear that no one is willing to go near.  Fear breeds more fear and eventually turns to hate.  

I don't say all of this just because I am a LGBTQ mom who would fight and die for the ability of her children to live a life that is happy, healthy, and safe.  I don't say this because I follow Christ (who would be pretty ashamed of what he's seeing by the way).  I say this because enough is enough.  It's time to drop your rocks.  

Why?  They are heavy, they hurt, and there is enough adversity in the world.  We should come together instead of ripping each other apart like a pack of wild dogs.  If you can't agree, agree to disagree and still love one another.  

Instead of breathing  hate into the people around us, let's breathe inspiration instead, that way no one we love will be left in a colorless empty place.  

Let love explode.  

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