When I started thinking about this post last night and this morning it looked very different from what I think I may write. (No, I'm not always sure.)
Several things have happened this week that have caused me to question or at least examine my views on certain issues.
1. This past weekend I witnessed a non-traditional public joining of a couple. They did not use the word marriage, but instead called the ceremony a binding or handbinding. It was no less than a public commitment ceremony between two people who love each other than what I would traditionally define as a wedding.
2.The United States Supreme Court has heard two cases this week concerning gay marriage. Another non-traditional view of a public declaration of commitment between couples. In the first case, the Supreme Court listened to arguments to determine if the repeal of Proclamation 8 in California was constitutional. Essentially, California legalized gay marriage, a bunch of people got married, then the government said, never-mind its actually illegal, leaving many couples in limbo. The Court is also hearing arguments about DOMA, Defense of Marriage Act. This Act restricts who may receive federal benefits in a marriage. For instance, if Massachusetts has legalized gay marriage, DOMA will still prevent a spouse from receiving any kind of social security or death benefits for a spouse, and insurance companies can restrict family coverage.It will be a while before we hear the findings of the court, but many view this as important to Civil Rights as the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
3. A dear friend of mine expressed concern for my eternal life. She is not the first, but is one of the few that I take seriously. She is not a Jesus Freak trying to convert everyone to her view, rather she is a humble and Godly woman with strong faith in her beliefs.
4. At school today, a very tricky situation arose. I knew in my heart how to handle it, but still waffled when I felt like I might upset someone or cause an uncomfortable situation, maybe at the cost of kids.
So what in the WORLD could these four things have in common. Quite simply, they all required me to search my moral and ethical belief system. They have all caused me to look at myself and evaluate whether or not I I'm talking out of both sides of my mouth to keep everyone around me happy or am I standing up for what I believe is right. Here is as honest an answer as I can give.
1. I was extremely skeptical about the handbindng ceremony. I did the same thing I so despise in others. I judged a person's faith and personal religion. I will be the first to defend the United States Constitution and Freedom of Religion. I'll pat myself on the back and brag about having Jewish friends and attending Catholic Mass. I expect all of my friends and family to simply accept my views as my own. However, I have been guilty too often of not giving these folks the same consideration. As I thought more about the ceremony, it occurred to me that I was scoffing at another's beliefs. Then I realized how brave and true they were to stand up in a very public place among friends and family and proclaim their love and commitment to each other in
an honest way. Oh.
2. I support Gay Marriage and Gay Rights. I support Civil Rights for all people. I hope I have always lived that. I do not plan to wear a PFLAGG shirt to work tomorrow, but I will answer this question honestly. I think that's right. I'll leave the red equal sign on my Facebook page until I have such an adorable picture of my son that I can't stand it, and I'll change the picture. I don't care if it's contentious. It is an incredibly small way to show my support. I can't wait until Nina Tottenburg reads the Court's decision on the radio in a few months.
3. I love my friend dearly. When she initially commented on my after-life, I was tempted to edit my response about the after-life to conform more to her beliefs, because I respect her and don't want to cause any reason for her not to "like" me. Please, that is so high school. After I pondered it last night, I answered her as honestly as I could. Without blubbering detail or rationalization. That was an epiphany, too. I don't have to defend everything.
4. And last, at school. I made a promise to myself a few years ago to protect kids when I felt like they were in a bad situation whether it had to do with a teacher, parent or whatever if I saw something difficult happening. I don't seek these situations out, but there have been too many times that I have sat on the sidelines and watched something happen that shouldn't have. Because I plan to post this publicly, I do not want to go into any detail. I would just like to say it took me more than 20 minutes to react to a situation. Twenty minutes a student should not have had to experience because I did not want to cause a scene or make anybody uncomfortable. I plan to work on my reaction time.
I feel like I should make some proclamation or some kind of summary here. Instead, I think I'll just leave alone.
Note: I took the title of this post from the Chapter 4 of the 2nd Edition of Alcoholics Anonymous. This chapter has probably made more of an impact on my spiritual belief system than any other one thing.)