Monday, June 29, 2015

Thank You

Thank you so much to all of you who have dropped me a note or encouragement or solidarity with the post Speaking of Pride. I know that not everyone agrees with me and that's ok. I had a taste of it back when I wrote a post a while ago about participating in the pride parade. I, like many, like to be right over wrong, smart over dumb. Now,  I am finding a way to be okay with disagreement and respectfully allowing people to share their opinions. It's all about discussion and learning and openness anyway, isn't it? I read something yesterday from Donald Miller's new book "Scary Close" and with great apologies to my friend, Jessi, who loaned me her copy, I read it while floating in my friend Margie's pool which she so generously offered me the use of while she is on holiday.  (Let's just pause a moment in gratitude for amazing friends!) It's a salt water pool, and it's a good thing, because I topped it up with some tears of my own yesterday.

In his book, which I prematurely and incorrectly said I didn't love as much as his others, Donald has a chapter that I'm not sure if I missed the first time through or if it just wasn't in the book I read the first time through (ahem). I may have been skimming but the chapter is called "The Risk of Being Careful" and wow, did it ever cause something to break free in me yesterday floating around the pool in 30+ degree heat. So, tears streaming, salt water to salt water, I read this list of freedoms that Donald wrote for himself in regards to his writing. It reads: 
I am willing to sound dumb. I am willing to be wrong. I am willing to be passionate about something that isn't perceived as cool. I am willing to express a theory. I am willing to admit I'm afraid. I'm willing to contradict something I've said before. I'm willing to have a knee-jerk reaction, even a wrong one. I'm willing to apologize. I'm willing to be perfectly human.
This is what I felt the other day writing the post on celebrating gay marriage. It felt like a risk. It felt like I was contradicting something I used to believe. Wow to Donald Miller for writing what over the last 24 hours has become a mantra, replaying itself over and over in my head like a soothing voice to my own anxious humanity. The truth is, it was freedom for me to express the truth of what I feel and what I sometimes hide knowing in some circles it's unpopular, antagonistic and downright blasphemy. Yet, the people who responded in kind are some of the people I respect most in this world from all walks of life and that in itself seemed to confirm that the feelings I have are shared and celebrated by many. I wanted to punch myself in the face a little, for how painfully slow I am to catch on to these things in myself. Why on earth would I write a blog anyway if not to speak the truth and my thoughts freely? I don't have to edit myself for safety or acceptance. No one should have to - not in marriage, not in love, not in life - especially not someone like me who has the freedom to speak and write freely simply because of where I was born. To not exercise that freedom is foolishness. I'm such a slow learner.

This list of freedoms, so apt, catapulted this latest book up to the level of his last one, A Million Miles in a Single Step, in which I found myself over and over again repeating, "I'm a tree in a story about a forest."  He really does come up with a few very pointed and defining sentences on a regular basis.

So, laying in Margie's pool, thankful for the friendship that has spanned the years since high school, the distance of separate provinces, separate countries and 8 kids between us...and let's remind everyone, I only have 2... I felt a reminder that if I'm worthy of her friendship amidst the obstacles, I can cut myself a little slack now and then and embrace my inadequacies just as my friends do. And truly, this week, through discussions and questions, comments and texted arguments en route to backyard bbq's, I understand a little more that it's ok to be dumb or wrong or passionate or afraid. And that being those things doesn't exclude you from the right to be loved and disagreed with simultaneously. I'm surrounded by people who love me and have at one time or another probably muttered, "Oh my gosh, she's dumb" or "Seriously, you believe that?" out loud...I'm thinking of you Jacqueline Nadon. I'm thankful for friends who think differently than me, who challenge me and who applaud me when I finally get it right, and laugh with (at) me when I don't. I wish that was a requirement for all who huddle in to likeminded circles and just affirm their collective thinking...how much they miss out on.

So, Jessi, my dear friend, I loved the book so much that I'm buying you a brand new copy for your very own. And it has nothing to do with the fact that your copy is now dog eared, tear stained and perhaps spent a little time of its own, floating around the pool in Margie's backyard.

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