Making the World a Better Place

About once a week I walk into town to buy a hummus roasted veggie sandwich and to see my friend, Frank, who works at the sandwich place. Frank is gay. We’ve never talked about his gayness or my not-gayness or anyone’s whatever-ness in conversation – I mean – it’s not like people usually approach a new friend, shake hands, and introduce themselves by their labels – “Hi, I’m Karen and I’m a progressive bleeding heart liberal heterosexual female Christian Scientist of mostly European ancestry (although there might be some Basque Reptile alien in there, too) – and how about you? What are your labels?” – but, yeah, Frank is gay.

This week when Frank asked me how I was, I gave the usual, “I’m good. And how about you?” And he gave the usual, “I’m good.” But this time something made me stop and really look at Frank. And I asked, “Frank, how are you really?” Frank said it had been a rough week.

He said he’d been in a bar earlier in the week, and he’d heard people at the next table over saying – in deliberately loud voices so Frank could hear – “Yeah. Those people in Florida deserved it.” Frank had tried to remain civil to them – he and the bar-tender had had their own conversation – loud enough to be heard – about the terribleness of the tragedy. And the people at the next table spewed out some more hatred. And Frank wondered about them: Hadn’t they ever been targeted for being different in some way? Didn’t they know what that felt like?

I started tearing up. “Frank, where does that hate come from? I don’t understand it.” Frank shook his head sadly, and said he thought it came from ignorance – from people being afraid of what they don’t know. He said he leaves those people in the hands of the Lord – and he didn’t mean that in a vengeful way – but in a “God will help them” way.

I told Frank that I was with him. I told him that he wasn’t alone. And he thanked me and gave me a hug.

Later on I was thinking about what Frank had said – his wondering if those people had ever been targeted for being different – and it made me remember a time, years ago, when I’d been watching a local “town meeting” on television and I’d heard someone say that “All Christian Scientists should be lined up against a wall and shot.” It had been strange and disturbing to hear someone who didn’t know me wish me dead. It stuck with me. I learned something from that.

Anyone could become a target – hatred is a form of insanity, really, and it doesn’t have to make sense – maybe tomorrow it will be stubby people, or extra tall people, or people with green eyes, or left-handed people, who will become the targets.

I think when we take the time to get to know each other – to try to understand each other without judgment or condemnation – to listen to each other – when we take the time to get rid of our own ignorance – we are doing a lot to make the world a better place. It’s been said so many times, but I think it’s true: Love really IS the answer.

getting to know each other

The Right for All Consenting Adults to Marry the Person They Love…

wedding photo

Scott and Karen on their wedding day, March 31, 1984 (photo by Bob Harbison)

Happiness is spiritual,born of Truth and Love. It is unselfish; therefore it cannot exist alone, but requires all mankind to share it. – from the chapter titled “Marriage” in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy

I believe that every citizen – regardless of race, ethnicity, social and economic status, religion, non-religion, gender, or sexual orientation – should have the exact same rights as every other citizen – including the right for consenting adults to marry whom they love.

This week my husband and I will celebrate our 31st anniversary.  Every year about this time I find myself thinking back to that happy day and the days leading up to it.

You know those shows you see on television where the bride spends HUGE amounts of time, thought, and bucks choosing just the right ring, dress, caterer, flowers, music, photographer, and reception venue  for her “big day” – those shows where every minute detail  of the wedding production is analyzed, critiqued, and judged for its merits on visual perfection? Where the ceremony is somber and refined and the highlight of the whole shebang is the dress the bride wears?

Yeah. That wasn’t us.

My engagement ring was a little garnet ring I picked out from a small jewelry shop in Pike Place Market in Seattle, and the man who sold it to us was cheerfully, flamboyantly, hilariously gay – he had us cracking up the minute we walked into his shop. My wedding dress was the first dress I tried on from the sales rack at our local Bon Marche. Cost me $120. Our minister was a hoot – we’d met with him for a required counseling session, and when he told us that anything he had to say to us would be pretty much useless at this point – because it’s really only AFTER the wedding that the bride and groom realize what they’ve gotten themselves into (we later learned that he’d just recently been divorced), we immediately recognized the man had a sense of humor, and he was, for sure, the minister we wanted officiating our nuptials. The wedding was a joyful, light-hearted affair in a small Methodist church in Gig Harbor – I remember the minister asking us if we really wanted to hold the service in his church – it was very small – could maybe hold 100 people – and very old (it’s since been torn down and a larger church built in a different location) – but, for our purposes, that little church was perfect – I liked the cozy smallness of it and the stained glass windows – and from the church’s steps we could look out across the water and see Mount Rainier rising above the hills in the distance.  The wedding itself was simple, joyful, and natural. We weren’t too concerned with “perfection” – we just wanted our guests to feel comfortable and loved. The reception was held in my parents’ backyard – with the sound of laughter, and the smell of daffodils and plum blossoms, filling the air. And we played volleyball in the pasture – the groom’s team won, but it was a close game.  The minister came to the reception, and fit right in with our hooligan families and friends. Before he left he told us that sometimes he’s really worried about the future of the newlyweds he marries – they often seem more concerned about the wedding than the actual marriage – but, after watching us yukking it up with our families and friends, he felt good about being a part of our ceremony.  He knew we were going to be alright. We knew how to laugh.

When I think about that day, I can’t imagine why anyone would want to deny other people the right to a wedding, and to a life-long commitment in marriage with the partner they love.  I can’t understand why any heterosexual couple would feel their own marriage is threatened by giving homosexuals the same rights that they have.  I feel a real yearning for other folks who love one another, and are brave enough to make a commitment to each other, to be allowed to have what my husband and I were allowed to have.

***

“Matrimony should never be entered into without a full recognition of its enduring obligations on both sides. There should be the most tender solicitude for each other’s happiness, and mutual attention and approbation should wait on all the years of married life… Kindred tastes, motives, and aspirations are necessary to the formation of a happy and permanent companionship… Marriage should improve the human species, becoming… a centre for the affections. This, however, in a majority of cases, is not its present tendency, and why? Because the education of the higher nature is neglected, and other considerations, – passion, frivolous amusements, personal adornment, display, and pride, – occupy thought… The scientific morale of marriage is spiritual unity… Marriage should signify a union of hearts… Behold the world’s lack of Christianity and the powerlessness of vows to make home happy, the human mind will at length demand a higher affection. There will ensue a fermentation over this as over many other reforms, until we get at last the clear straining of truth… Matrimony, which was once a fixed fact among us, must lose its present slippery footing, and man must find permanence and peace in a more spiritual adherence.”excerpts from the chapter titled “Marriage” in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy  

Marriage Equality

I feel a real yearning for other folks who love one another, and are brave enough to make a commitment to each other, to be allowed to have what my husband and I were allowed to have.

Adventures of the Madcap Christian Scientist

wedding photo

Happiness is spiritual,born of Truth and Love. It is unselfish; therefore it cannot exist alone, but requires all mankind to share it. – from the chapter titled “Marriage” in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy

I believe that every citizen – regardless of race, ethnicity, social and economic status, religion, non-religion, gender, or sexual orientation – should have the exact same rights as every other citizen – including the right for consenting adults to marry whom they love.

This weekend my husband and I will celebrate our 29th anniversary.  Every year about this time I find myself thinking back to that happy day and the days leading up to it.

You know those shows you see on television where the bride spends HUGE amounts of time, thought, and bucks choosing just the right ring, dress, caterer, flowers, music, photographer, and reception venue…

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