So… it’s been a week, a mish-mash of things. I’ve worked some, I’ve played some and I’ve been lazy some. Not too bad I’d say.
This week, I did something that I’m kind of proud of. I helped someone who really needed it. It wasn’t a lot, but it was timely and helped this guy out who was in crisis. Sometimes just listening to someone can be a big help. At any rate, it was enough to make me feel like I made a difference. Woo-hoo. I'm a superhero.
And then, I did something that startled me and made me a bit ashamed. I actually hung my head and chastised myself. You see, there was this woman at the grocery store, who I am sure is a very nice person, and while she was talking to the cashier and said, ‘I’m a Christian,’ and went on about something else.
I immediately shut down, the wall went up and the defenses surfaced. This is a normal reaction for me. It’s called self-preservation. Why? Well back in the dark ages, when I was a youngster, and I first realized I was gay, it was open season on homosexuals. Stonewall had just happened and was in the news a lot. People were talking about it and it was far from positive.
Their first and almost instant response when they spoke of gays was to say they were going to hell and quoting the bible. In those days, we were sick, perverts, pedophiles, our souls taken over by Satan. The church, any church, were the frontrunners for the attacks. Of course living in the South, in the heart of the bible belt, wasn’t exactly the best place to be a fledgling gay child.
Now of course, me being me, not one to keep my mouth shut, I pretty much shoved it down their throats once I was outted. Oh, and high school was such a joy… not. Back in the ‘70’s it was pure hell to be honest, and that is where I was outted. Yeah... so not fun.
I had an uncle that didn’t even want to be in the same room with me. His son went to Freedom University, Jerry Falwell’s school. My cousin, who had a Master’s Degree in Theology, couldn’t put a proper sentence together and when I shook his hand, it was like taking hold of a lukewarm, wet, half dead fish. Of course, it was this part of my family that I avoided. They always made me feel like a leper. But the underlying foundation for their, and most everyone else’s, dislike and condemnation of me was the Christian bible.
Victoria Holt was a major player in the Episcopal Church that I grew up in. When she heard the rumor that I was gay, her whole attitude towards me changed. She looked down her nose at me, would ignore my mother and I if we walked into a room, wouldn’t look me in the eye and was heard to tell people that I shouldn’t be allowed to come to church. That’s when I left the church. I was sixteen. I never told my mother why I refused to go after that.
Over the years, I’ve dealt with Christians telling me I’m going to hell, that I’m not fit to live among decent people and so on and so forth. What did I do? I took the power. The one thing I’ve learned in my many years walking this earth, is that knowledge is power, so I educated myself.
What I’ve learned is that most of those bible-thumpers had never actually read the bible. They only went by the quotes that they were told. I swear at times it was like shooting fish in a barrel. It was/is an interesting journey, I will admit. It is rather fun to watch people who want to… try to, condemn you squirm like a worm on a hot sidewalk.
I remember years and years ago, when my sister got on her high horse, trying to ‘save’ me. Now my sister is no dummy and she held her own for a while… until it got to the history part. That’s when she shut up pretty quickly. I told her that if she really liked her religion, benefited from it, then she had better stop or I would take it away from her. She didn’t believe me at first. Later that night she begged me to stop. She has since gotten over that overly zealous, religious phase of her life, thank goodness. She is still a practicing Christian, but she knows better than to challenge me with it, and will openly tell anyone not to bring up around me.
Why then was I kicking myself? Well… because I had just had a rather heated discussion defending Muslims, saying that not all of them were religious nut jobs.
I wasn’t practicing what I was preaching is what it basically boiled down to. Admittedly, I’ve only known two true Christians my entire life, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t others out there. I am fairly certain that there are plenty of good people out there who are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist and whatever organized religion that there is. Unfortunately, the ones that get all the attention are the ultra-conservative, right-wingers who are pretty much bat-shit crazy.
I came home and gave myself a good butt-kicking, a long talking to and then cleaned the bathroom. I would have cleaned the refrigerator, but I didn’t think I needed that much of a penance. I don’t know what I would have had to of done to be that bad.
Needless to say, I need to try and change my years and years of self-conditioning, my automatic shielding myself from Christians. The automatic distrust, dislike and fear of being attacked by Christians. My automatic disdain for those proclaiming to be Christian. Yes, I am guilty of all of that.
Now don’t get me wrong… if they come after me, I am fully armed and equipped to take them down and I won’t hesitate to do it. I have done it. I’ve made ministers cry and enjoyed doing it.
So… I’m going to try and be a better person. I try not to judge others. I try to be nice to everyone. I do try to be patient… not my strongest trait, and I do try to be kind and understanding. I just need to try and little harder and leave some habits behind. I think that if I concentrate hard enough, over a glass of milk, I might be able to accomplish this. Oh, who am I kidding… it would take a whole dairy farm to break a habit that I’ve had since about age seven, but I’m going to try.
I leave you with this…
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Remember that your neighbor is your charge. Don’t gossip. Do something nice for someone and you will be a better person.
Have a grrreat week, y’all,