Love: A Personal Interpretation

Love is patient. Love is always patiently waiting for us to get it. No indoctrination, no fear mongering to scare its audience into blind submission. It is patiently waiting for us to understand that we can never truly understand and it’s not the understanding we are called to. It’s the intrinsic knowing. Knowing that something greater can live in and exude from us.

Love is kind. Love is a kind of disposition that I’m trying to hone in on like some emotional craft to be mastered. My cheeks are chapped and raw with the lesson of it all.

It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It takes everything in and decides that choosing a life-giving response is more important than even an inch of self-preservation or entitlement or recognition or…

It does not dishonor others. It protects the humanity of everyone around it. Not in the way of some brutal attacker standing at gates waiting for someone to poke around. No. Something more like a weathered old man standing in front of rolling tanks. Or Jesus whispering, “peace be still” to a savage storm…

It is not self-seeking. Never ever.

It is not easily angered. Even when someone calls it a faggot. Even when someone condemns it. Even when someone deserves all the wrath in the entire existence of wrathful responses. It knows there is always a reason for hateful dispositions and instead of asking for an eye or a tooth in response, love bends down and washes the feet of those who were never meant to be its enemies in the first place.

It keeps no record of wrongs. It sees the beauty in letting go of things that only bring toxicity to the soul. And so here I am.  I’m throwing out my detailed list, my ledger of offenses, all the reasons I have for denying love. Every single reason. God, help me.

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. Not the truth we construct to justify bad behavior. Not the truth that gives us the right to create categories of “us” and “them.” Not the truth that inevitably turns malignant. The truth that binds up the brokenhearted and sets captives free, free, free.

It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  (This.)

Love never fails. It just doesn’t.

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Violence

It’s disheartening, really. Overwhelming at times, most definitely.

That there are people who so vehemently despise my existence that they would resort to violence. 

And I’m not talking about physical punches being thrown.

I’m talking about another sort of brutal attack that lingers beyond bruises and broken noses.

It’s that other part of the definition of violence: “an unjust or unwarranted exertion of force or powers, as against rights or acts” or “rough or immoderate vehemence, as of feeling or language.  

Unjust or unwarranted. Rough or immoderate vehemence. Against rights. 

My rights.

To love another woman. To commit myself to a woman. To pursue a family with a woman. To be able to provide basic benefits for my future wife and children. 

A violent attack on the lives and the rights of me and my lgbt family.

It hit particularly close to home last night when over 10,000 individuals signed a petition to repeal a law that allowed same-sex partner benefits to employees of the city of Chattanooga. My city. 

If our city council doesn’t vote to repeal it, then it will go to a ballot in August. 

But we will always fight for our rights. 

Our tactics will not be violent. They will be kind and loving. We will show them our humanity. We will continue to fall in love and have families and work for the full rights we have earned the same way that our heterosexual counterparts have earned them- by being human beings. 

You see, there is still hope (there will always, always be hope) that the hearts and minds of our most violent attackers will be changed. There is hope that if it goes to a vote, the city of Chattanooga will rally to support the lgbt community. That in a city with a population of over 160, 0000 people there are more than 10,000 who acknowledge this as an unjust and unwarranted exertion of force against the rights of lgbt persons. 

It’s disheartening, really. Overwhelming at times, most definitely.

But at the end of the day love really does win. 

9 Things I Want to Share With You

(2) One of my favorite people reading an essay she wrote about her tumultuous relationship with faith. Wish you could hear more clearly. Beth is legit. Some would even say to the extent that she is incapable of quitting. Bam.
(3) This video that makes me want to write everyone I love a letter telling them what they mean to me. Maybe I will just stick with a group text. That’s meaningful, right?
(4) Mr. Rogers. Always Mr. Rogers.
(5) Restore your faith in humanity here.
(6) Do you know who David Rakoff is? You probably should.
(7) Insert laugther here.
(8) Humans of New York. How have I only just discovered this website? You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, it will move you, etc.
(9) This Bon Iver mashup album.

Dear Human:

Dear Human: You’ve got it allllll wrong. You didn’t come here to master unconditional love. That is where you came from and where you’ll return. You came here to learn personal love. Universal love. Messy love. Sweaty love. Crazy love. Broken love. Whole love. Infused with divinity. Lived through the grace of stumbling. Demonstrated through the beauty of… messing up. Often. You didn’t come here to be perfect. You already are. You came here to be gorgeously human. Flawed and fabulous. And then to rise again into remembering. But unconditional love? Stop telling that story. Love, in truth, doesn’t need ANY other adjectives. It doesn’t require modifiers. It doesn’t require the condition of perfection. It only asks that you show up. And do your best. That you stay present and feel fully. That you shine and fly and laugh and cry and hurt and heal and fall and get back up and play and work and live and die as YOU. It’s enough. It’s Plenty.

Quote by Courtney Walsh

Coming Out as Affirming

I know I have already talked about how incredible my support system is and, to be honest, I will probably talk about it roughly one million more times. Because I am super duper lucky and I don’t ever want to forget. Or fail to give credit where credit is due.

So this is one of those posts where I focus on my straight allies.

They have it pretty rough. Let’s be honest.

I am queer and so there’s an obvious reason why I am personally invested in the cause of the lgbtq community. It directly effects my life and so I have no option but to feel the wide range of emotions that come with living in a non-affirming culture.

But there’s something really incredible about allies, I think. They make a very difficult choice to stand up for those they love even when they could blend into a heteronormative background and spare themselves the backlash.

My best friend has to “come out” as affirming on a regular basis. She talked about feeling an anxiety but not being able to be silent about her support of me.

“This is personal for me,” she says.

People believe that my soul/blood is on the hands of anyone who condones my “lifestyle choice.” What a heavy charge.

But allies stick it out. They get just as pissed and indignant about oppression because for them it directly correlates with someone they love.

And I am very well loved.

So I want to express the type of gratitude that feels inadequate when framed into words. My survival has hinged on the type of support that I have been freely given and I know that no meaningful journey is meant to be walked alone.

I acknowledge that it is difficult for you at times and I hope that I never fail to recognized that.

All your musterings of the courageous kind.

All the times you normalize and reaffirm.

All the times you cultivate safe spaces.

The questions you ask.

Understanding that you can’t understand it fully, but trying.

Allowing me moments for anger and moments for celebration.

Modeling unconditional grace.

Standing up when you could have sat down.

The times you get more indignant than I do.

Coming out of the closet with me and helping me to board it up when it feels impossible.

Making me feel loved so profoundly at every turn.

For all of these things and more, I am thankful.