My People

My People
My matched set of grandchildren - Oliver and Cosette

Sunday, December 19, 2010

what are we afraid of?

I've been watching Fox and Friends this morning (in between old movies on TCM) and there's a big stir about the whole "Don't Ask Don't Tell"... ban on gays in the military.

I don't get it. I mean... I'll admit that I've never been in the military... and I have no idea what it's like to be in combat... but... I think about the gay men that have come thru my life over the last ten years and I can't imagine that we should be afraid of having them in our voluntary militia.

I wonder (because I wasn't alive to really know) if this is similar to the fear that people had about desegregation. I mean... why should black people have had to drink from different water fountains? Why couldn't black people marry white people, if they loved each other? Why did they have to sit in the back of the bus? Why couldn't they go in certain places and why couldn't black and white children go to school together? What were we afraid of? It's not contagious.

I've had friends of all colors, shapes, religions and creeds during my journey here on this planet and there's been good and bad in all of them. I don't know how I would have survived those single mom years without Purple Michael and Barry. A gay man and a black man helped me raise my children... and raised them well. It's rare that Austin will call or text his dad but he texts Purple Michael all the time. A large part of Cody's work ethic came - not from his biological father - but from Barry, who coached him for so many years but more than that, emulated his own strong work ethics and calm demeanor for him. And I know you all love reading the incredible advice that Mr. Drake leaves on my blog - my precious, Jewish friend who has been a great influence on my life. Ryan learned his trade, gathered all the skills that allow him to have the good, solid income that he has thru my friend Charlie - also a gay man. It was Charlie who helped Ryan set up housekeeping in Pennsylvania... who taught him to cook... who, to this day, is his roommate and the reason I don't worry about Ryan. I know Charlie is keeping a close eye on him.

My point is that there weren't a lot of straight, white, Anglo-Saxon, protestant men who were there for me during that time of my life. I was blessed... and yes, I believe these men were heaven sent... to have the ability to think outside the box and to get beyond the prejudices that you would expect from a southern conservative Baptist woman. And I would not presume to speak for the Almighty but I feel that He has honored those friendships and that my life has been richer, my journey more pleasant and my world enhanced because I wasn't afraid of people who are different from me.

Even now... I find myself bending and opening my heart and mind to people who are different, here in this small little community. People who think that the King James Version of the bible is the only one holy enough to bother with. I disagree but those people are still valuable and still have a lot to offer. There are people in my life who think a glass of wine is an abomination against the Lord and... well... I don't... but I would not do anything to offend them. There are people in my life who don't like cats. People who think your socks always have to match. (why?) People who hate coffee. People who thinks Starbucks is a waste of money. People who eat transfats. People who are into a bit more hocus posus stargazing than me. People who are fat, thin, beautiful, ugly, talented, boring... and I am better for having known them all.

I'm against "don't ask, don't tell" in anything... because I think it's the differences that make our world a beautiful place. I want to know people, I want to know their deepest, darkest secrets. I want people to be transparent with me because I want to be transparent. I think it is in our humility and honesty that we are able to truly connect with people. I know... without a doubt... that it is my openness that brings a lot of you back here to read my blog day after day. I know that I'm not one hundred percent biblically correct one hundred percent of the time and I think admitting that makes me closer to what God wants me to be and allows others to not be afraid to approach my God. I mean... if He could love ME... couldn't He love you?

During my whole marriage to Michael, I never knew that he hadn't paid taxes in years. I never knew about the tens of thousands of dollars of debt he had amassed. I never understood the financial pressure he was under... and it was impossible for me to reconcile his elaborate spending habits with his demands that I live frugally. He wasn't willing to be vulnerable with me enough to share his burden... and so the burden stood to divide us, to the point that our marriage, in all honesty, was a complete sham. Had he told me what he was facing, had he been willing to trust me, I could have helped. I would have helped. I would also have discouraged him from some of the foolishness he was participating in... $600 for fireworks... for example... and he didn't want my opinion.

I didn't ask. He didn't tell.

But when I met Purple Michael... he was transparent with me about who he was... and his honesty allowed me to be honest with him... and throughout our friendship, I've been able to tell him things without fear of judgement... things that I wouldn't even tell my blog! I asked. He told. He asked. I told.

I would think... that it would be a better world, a better military... if there was that kind of transparency among the people who have to depend on each other for their very lives. And honestly... how can you live and work with people without them knowing your true self? Wouldn't that put added stress on everyone? Are we afraid that gays are in the military on some kind of recruiting mission? Is that what we're afraid of? Are we afraid for them to see a Private's privates? That it may make them lust and be a distraction?

I ran across a small town boy who was uncomfortable with the gay men in my life... and when I pressed him for a reason... he said, "as long as they don't come on to me"... is that what we think? That they're on the hunt? I'd say they are no more on the hunt than any heterosexual young man or woman. And so what if they ARE attracted to you... being crushed on never hurt anyone and just might... in the heat of battle... make them work a little harder to protect you!

So... in the spirit of the holidays... in the spirit of peace on earth, good will toward men... I encourage you to find someone different from you... and love them just as they are. Don't let fear prevent you from enjoying the kind of blessings that can come from being open minded.

Love and hugs, y'all!


Adirondackcountrygal said...

Good post!

life with bobbi d said...

Well said. Biblicaly we are all sinners and noone is sin free, love the people hate the sin. Enjoy the variety of people that we come in contact with and we will all be happier.

Becky said...

Amazing post, and I agree TOTALLY.

Minor point in light of the DADT issue, but I can't figure out the bit about Christians who believe a glass of wine is an abomination-- didn't Jesus turn water into wine? Wine is a very healthy drink.

Anonymous said...

Excellent post! I've always wonder why people think gay people are always having sex somewhere that people can see them! Ugh.....amen to your post! Oh and Merry Christmas to you and your family and your gay friends and jewish friends and purple friends get my point! :)

Anonymous said...

Don't be deceived by a media that likes to call any opposition their views "fear" when it is not necessarily so.
Some people may be afraid of gay people, but I doubt very many are.
It's the fear of the Lord, perhaps, for a country that would embrace homosexuality when the Bible tells us it is an abomination...for a Bible believer, that is. That would be my guess as to the biggest reason why there is "such a stir."
Having said that...we all have a sin nature. Gluttony is a sin. Taking that pen from work? Sin. White lies?...sin! Sex outside of marriage? ditto. It's a shame how many "Christians" will rationalize such things in their own lives, but stand in judgement of another for their sins.
If a gay person is not claiming to be a born again Christian, a born again Christian shouldn't expect them to live like one. As far as your comment "Don't let fear prevent you from enjoying the kind of blessings that can come from being open minded." The Bible does admonish us to shun the very appearance of evil. Therefore, (for a Believer) if being "open-minded" involves embracing something the Bible calls an abomination, they may want to reevaluate.
The above begs the question, "What should a believer do whose child is gay?"
I have no answers.
There is a difference between desegregation and homosexuality. I don't believe fear was the motivation for desegregation, I believe hate was. I have to say that gays probably experience some haters. Black people, Asian folks...obese people do, too. It's not a fair world.
The good news is that God can deliver the glutton, the liar, the drug addict, the homosexual, if they want deliverance.
All of us (none of us will be exempt) will stand before the judgement throne of Christ and give an account...

Jim Gant said...

Having lived in the time of segregation I can say freely that fear was the underlying motivation for the hatred that developed between the races. In my opinion, fear is the underlying reason for the majority of the bad acts we do to each other.

Our role as believers in Christ Jesus is to share the message that God loves you so much that He died in your place for the sin in your life. Yes, we should avoid sin or the very appearance of sin ... but we must not reject those who are in sin in the process. As John says, we are to be in the world but not of the world ... sharing Christ wherever we go.

Having a friend who is gay does not mean one condones homosexuality. Your friendship may be the only testimony that person will respond to ... goodness gracious, we have seen how positive the response has been to the Westboro Baptist types.

Ultimately each one of us will stand in judgment ... and none of us would be able to stand on our own merits. All of us are guilty. The difference is the covering of the blood of Jesus Christ.