I wrote the following piece a year ago. In honor of Pride and all that God has done in my heart since then, I am reposting it on Chasing the Promise. May we forever remember the days that God does something special in our hearts and challenges us.
‘ve spent 26 summers in NYC and I’ve never gone to Pride. There are a lot of other things I’ve never done but in my 27th year I feel God stretching me and leading me into new places and today’s experience is reflective of that.
From the March to the culminating dance I volunteered at afterwards, I was struck by the overwhelming sense of community and affection complete strangers bestowed on one another. Not for the sake of gain but simply because of a shared experience. I was privileged to share laughs, life stories and glitter with amazing men and women because we made a choice to serve at the same time.
I was also given reason to pause and reflect on some things that upset me and I’m as grateful for these moments as I am the highs of my day. The first pause came as I was in the middle of the dance floor and ACTUALLY listened to the lyrics blaring from the speakers. “People like us we’ve gotta stick together/Keep your head up, nothing lasts forever/ Here’s to the damned, to the lost and forgotten/It’s hard to get high when you’re living on the bottom.” I see people dancing hard and singing and found myself trying not to cry because for so many this is an anthem.
The second pause moment relates to the first. I’m on my way home and have a flag someone gifted me with in my hair and while a group of girls passes me they start talking trash. “How dare she flaunt her pride in her sexuality? Who does she think she is?” Etc etc. I was confused because all I was doing was sitting on a subway bench waiting on my train and less than 3 ft away from me you feel the need to pop your gums over your perception of who I am and what I’m doing and don’t know a blessed thing about me. That same prejudice was displayed in the stares and looks I got on the train because of a perception based off a 3×5 piece of cloth worn as a hair ornament. How dare they make assumptions about me based on something so small? How dare we?
My experience today, like many as of late, leads me back to the Church. We have made men and women feel like the damned and forgotten because of our judgement based on a small facet of who they are. At the end of the day we are called to do two things above all. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:30-31). If I’m loving God with all I’ve got and loving you like I love me then I don’t have the time to talk mess or fail to look beyond your difference to see who you are at your core because that love is all consuming. That love allows me to share what Christ so freely gave me and embrace you with open arms and speak to you of grace and a love that covers because that’s what Jesus would do. Faith SHOULD dismantle the place where people feel like the other or outsider but something is amiss. I think we need to collectively come to a place where we reflect of the life of Christ so that we can remember that it is not God’s will that any of us perish and be mindful that our words or actions don’t bring about destruction of spirit in someone else’s world.
So I’m grateful for all I experienced today: the hands held, the haters, the sparkles on my skin because they show me both the outpouring of love and the places where it is needed. And to those who feel damned, lost or forgotten know that God is breaking the hearts of people like me so if nothing else we can speak of salvation, being found and loved beyond measure as we share in each other’s brokenness.