Yesterday I wrote about what I love about myself and the fact that I empathize with other people and feel what they feel and so on.
I don’t remember my mom sitting me down and saying “You HAVE to love all people, no matter what.” I don’t remember her saying “He’s gay, but you still have to like him.”
I do remember when in high school a boy in my class was clearly gay. But of course couldn’t come out and say it for reasons of well…religion, small town politics, and other bully bullshit. But I remember one of the other boys in class saying “Yeah I think he’s gay, but it doesn’t make a difference, I still like him.” But then, once he did come out after graduating, I heard all sorts of nasty words from people, I didn’t understand. Coming out and being who he truly is didn’t CHANGE him. It didn’t make him a different person. It made him complete, in my mind. It didn’t change my view of him, I still thought he was a wonderful person. It gave us a chance to compare notes about boys in high school a little more open though. 😉
My mom never said to us, “he’s gay and you have to like him.” I don’t remember what she told us, I guess by that time I had already made up my mind about him. I wasn’t there when he lived at our house to tell you what my brothers thought about it, but they too, I thought, accepted him for him. Because you don’t accept people based on outside appearances, or who they love. You accept people for who they are on the inside. Just like I can’t accept Glen Beck because on the inside, if you really listen to his words, is a hateful scared man, and in my opinion the epitome of a bully. I will never be able to accept people like that.
What it comes down to is what we show our children. If I tell Oscar “this man is gay and you have to like him.” It won’t do anything for him. But if I SHOW him that I don’t care whether that man is gay and his being gay has no bearing on whether I like him or not, I hope that he will be able to do the same. I hope that by me being accepting and showing love to everyone (except bigots and bullies) it teaches my son that he can do the same. My mom never sat me down and said “treat everyone how you want to be treated.” She lived it. She is wonderful to EVERYONE, and I lived with that, and I soaked it in, and I feel like my siblings do the same.
Sure I judge people, and harshly, and probably wrongly. But whether a crack head or a saint comes through my line at work, I say the same things to both of them. I say “How are you today?” and “Have a good day.” I don’t change my tone, I don’t change my words. Because if you treat one person decently who’s to say that they don’t turn around and treat someone else nice because of it.
I don’t read the bible. I don’t go to church anymore. But I do believe in the core beliefs of Jesus. I still remember the large plaque at the back of my church. I would read it over and over again while the priest was giving his sermon. It said “A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so must you love one another.” I don’t remember if these are the exact words. Every time I go home and go to church with mom I look to the back of the church, but the plaque is no longer there…and I wish it still were. More then ever now, people of church communities need to remember that.
He said “Love one another…” not just the straight people, not just people that believe the same thing as you. “LOVE ONE ANOTHER.”
This is what I want to live by, and what I want Oscar to live by.
To love and understand people.
To embrace the differences in life.