Before cell phones, easily 20 years ago, probably longer, I answered the phone at my parents house and was asked to accept a collect call. It took a second to recognize the voice, but the distress inherent in the tone across the wires had me yelling for my dad. My aunt had suffered a stroke. Her long term roommate could not authorize medical care for her. Half a country away, my dad had to make decisions based on a 20 second phone call instead of the person that knew her the best. Being young and innocent and not really sure how the world worked, I really didn’t get why they were calling. In fact, I still think it’s bogus, but there you are. As of yesterday, that kind of thing doesn’t HAVE to happen.
It means that my aunt and my other aunt can make decisions about each other as a couple that come from a level of trust, commitment and knowledge that a far flung relative really can’t effectively do. The ability to hand down property and other such things without involving anyone you don’t want to is helpful, as well, I’m sure. They raised 4 kids together and happily post grandchild pictures online. They don’t have to hide their relationship or pretend. I know as a child and young teen, I was really confused, and perhaps some of it was that my folks either didn’t want to tell us kids, didn’t really know themselves, or we never outright asked the really hard question of ‘why do 2 women live together’ that really crossed our minds whenever we thought of them. Eventually as a young adult, I just assumed, and once I was already married and visited their house, I saw their memory items from having a civil ceremony a few years before. I complimented their cake topper, smiled, and finally as an adult knew the truth. They’re married now. They’d been together at least 20 years by then. For them and all my friends who identify/were born as gay or bisexual, and a long distant relative who is trans-sexual, I share my support.
As it is,
we’ve I’ve had recent talks about race and a brief overview of what gay means as well as marriage with my own kids. I can’t even pretend to really and fully understand either issue. But I do my best to be calm, rational, and not bring any notion of hatred or fear of either issue up to the kids. The world will do that in time. Being straight and white, I haven’t had to deal with a lot of flack about color or rights in that way. I have run up against a lot of ridiculous speech about sex/gender, and really don’t appreciate it. Especially as the mom to 3 girls already with a baby on the way. Knowing what it’s like not to be valued based on something you were born into helps, I think, even if you can’t identify with the specific prejudice, experiencing it yourself can be a big eye-opener. It changes how you see the world. It makes you stop and question ANYONE trying to base a prejudice off of something that a person is quite literally born into.
At some point this will come before our church and religious freedom will pop up in all of this. Here’s my abstract take on that. I mean, if you think about it, pointing out all our own sins is going to make us a lot more honest with how we feel about these hot button topics, don’t you? There stands to be a quite large divide in our denomination. As a couple + kids that makes up over 1/2 of the under-40 population in our church, we tend to be more on the liberal side of this whole discussion. I have an idea that a lot of the older folks would faint if an African American walked in, let alone someone who is gay and proud of it. I just hope that I can walk in the footsteps of Jesus and not be intolerant of the intolerant. Not be condemning of those who condemn. Not shame those who shame. Statistically most of our church falls into the intolerant age group. Perhaps that is BECAUSE of the intolerance shown in years past to those who are ‘different’– I’m not sure. Based on how they recently treated someone who got divorced, I’d have to say probably.
I can’t pretend to have any, let alone all the answers. I do know I want to be ready to stand up. Treat others how they want to be treated. Walk how Jesus walked. Say the things that he said. Do what he would have done. Love how he would have loved.