exhale. thank you all so much for the heartfelt, uplifting encouragement you offered on my words post. the subject matter is more delicate than i thought it was. and i think it has something to do with the fact that yet another person from my past has surprisingly surfaced. this person, unsurprisingly, does not approve of my life. for she is the wife of my childhood church’s pastor.
she, like the friend i wrote about here, is a strong woman who played an integral role in my becoming. when i was an awkward teenager, she helped me find my self esteem. she believed in my chosen-ness; she once told me i would “save millions of souls” someday. God had a plan for my life, she reassured me, and i was on his path.
fast-forward fifteen years, and here sits a facebook email exchange. the essence of it culminates with her saying:
From your email, I can see you’ve carved out a new life for yourself…It’s probably no surprise that celebrating your new lifestyle is something I struggle with, but it does not diminish my love for you. It just makes me pray.
there is so much to deconstruct in this sentence.
1. my “new lifestyle” smacks of the same stuff as “backsliding”.
2. she is trying very hard to be gracious in a “love the sinner, hate the sin” kind of way.
3. her prayers are obviously not for the health and wellbeing of my family, or for justice in our struggle for civil rights…
i have no idea where the conversation will lead from here. though, in my heart, i leap to the defensive, i remain calm on the outside, and remind myself: just because she disagrees with me doesn’t make me wrong. that’s my mantra, over and over. furthermore, i do not owe her, or anyone, justification for my life. i am living my life bravely and honestly, and i am a free woman who still seeks the divine. amen? amen.
if this kind of confrontation had happened as recently as three years ago, i think i may have emotionally buckled under the pressure. now, however, i am a whole lot stronger than i thought i was. i owe much of that strength to jude. my willingness to engage these people from my past who i loved so much is based on the pride i have in jude, in the family that h and i have created. and my unwillingness to play the “let’s argue what the bible says about homosexuality” game is based on my earnest belief that one cannot argue someone else out of their own judgment.
show me leviticus, show me romans, and my reply is: here is judith, the most joyful, peaceful child i’ve ever met. she is the product of my “lifestyle”. if ever there were a question about the wisdom of the life i’ve carved for myself, spend an hour with my daughter. she will define for you amazing grace.