You know how you can read something that draws you in, you find yourself taking a little mental side trip, and then suddenly somebody smacks the reality right back at ya? Here’s how it went for me today… While taking a break and checking out Facebook on my phone I came across a posting that caused me to take that mental side trip. It read, “So, let me get this straight…Charlie Sheen can make a “porn family,” Kelsey Grammer can end a 15-year marriage over the phone, Larry King can be on divorce #9, Britney Spears had a 55-hour marriage, Jesse James and Tiger Woods, while married, were having sex with EVERYONE. Yet, the idea of same-sex marriage is going to destroy the institution of marriage?” When I read it I sort of chuckled because of what I perceived to be the simple, and almost absurdly obvious, point it made. I was so wishing that I had an internet connection to copy and paste it onto my page but I didn’t. So reminding myself to do just that later, I returned to the mission at hand and stepped back up to the station I was manning.
As I was reflecting on the post, and greeting passers-by, I thought about the fact that next week we will celebrate our 25th anniversary. That is no small accomplishment in our circles. It hasn’t always been perfect, but we’ve endured and continue to grow ever stronger with time. There is so much to celebrate in that, but it also comes with the reminder that our relationship holds less privilege, value, and credibility than even those in the quote. The implication is that I somehow am partly responsible for all that is evil/dangerous in the world. Now, rest assured that I don’t hold that opinion, so I left that train of thought and went back to thinking about our anniversary. I was thinking about all that had changed over the last 25 years, how our families and friends have embraced our life, how much social support I have felt when the issue of marriage or unions has come up, and that even though we still couldn’t legalize our partnership we were living our lives as though it didn’t matter.
And that is when it happened… a middle-aged man was scanning the information on my table. I greeted him enthusiastically, but his response was less than affirming about anything that I stood for. He was never hostile in tone, but he was certainly hostile in heart. He started by telling me that he would never support an organization like ours… that we were not sharing the right values, our Christian roots, and were “remnants of those feminist times”… he managed to get in “welfare” (of course he did), Obama (go figure), fatherless children with welfare moms and how his taxes were paying for healthcare, etc., and that nobody felt they had to be responsible about anything. And THEN, he even got around to saying that the revenue from the “American Girl” dolls supported NOW and “the homosexuals.” Are you kidding??? I’m giving you the short version, cause he went on and on… What was most frightening to me was that he mentioned that he mentors young African-American men in this community. What was most bizarre was that before he finally stepped away he shook my hand and gave me his card and then he said that he had “an expansive resume of topics he could speak or teach on” if I was ever interested… Again I say, REALLY??? John Woods (yep, his name) was not ranting or threatening, but his arrogance was clear.
So there you go… it DOES matter. I am comforted by my family and community (as I define it) and affirmed by my faith, but it is actually a pretty insular comfort. It ALL matters. John Woods can NOT define me or affect who I am, but he (and others like him) will only continue to breed malice and hate in others. We can’t let that happen. We have to hold firm that we are not asking to be more than… only equal to! I KNOW that I am worthy but apparently my government has forgotten.
Thanks for taking this ride with me. I’ll look forward to doing it again soon! For now, I’ve got an anniversary to prepare for!