Thursday, August 2, 2012
Since you're probably tired of hearing about Chick-Fil-A
I should definitely be in bed right now. But i'm up, figuratively biting my literal fingernails, in suspense to find out how Gabby Douglas did in the all-around finals 12 hours or so ago. I've been rooting for her since i saw her wonderful jumping bean olympic body dancing all over the Olympic trials a couple months ago. And i'm pretty sure she won gold today, but very eager to find out for sure. If you haven't been watching the Olympics, or women's gymnastics, please don't give up on me. That paragraph was just a distracting opener. It's a writing technique. I think. Did it work? I have a friend at my place of employment, who i have known not quite as well as i'd like to, for close to ten years, off and on. She's an amazing woman. In her 70+ years, fighting cancer, she's healthier and in better shape than most 25 year-olds. What's even better is that her heart is in the right place. She spends her vacations tending to disabled orphan children in foreign countries, and her time in this country trying to raise money to buy those same orphans wheelchairs and medical attention. I look up to this friend and admire her heart more than....well, the top ten of all folks i've ever met in person, for sure. And i've met a lot of folks in person. At my job, we have a big dry erase board next to the door with all the employees' names on it. Everybody gets a line on the board, and that's where you sign in and out of the office for breaks or lunches or whatever takes you away. Today, while i was standing at the sign out board with, eraser in hand, arm raised high (it turns out Beth is at the beginning of the alphabet, no matter how short you are), my friend was coming back from a break, and in her characteristic style, erupted in 30-seconds, with a 20 minute discussion, of a text or something she had read, that had provoked her to new thought. She dropped a bomb on me that has been on my mind all day, and it is the reason why i must write tonight before i go to bed (and while i wait for these guys to stop swimming so i can see Gabby do her floor exercises). It was something to do with the thought provoking point-of-view that says that it's too bad that all those people who spent money at Chick-Fil-A yesterday didn't instead donate that money to feed the hungry, etc. I didn't get to respond to my friend at that moment, due to my need to get back to work and my inability to talk like an auctioneer, but now that i've had multiple hours to mull it over, i have a response that she may or may not ever hear. The Bible speaks strongly about feeding and caring for widows and orphans, and i am a strong proponent of such efforts. This particular adherence to God's word has become a stronger and stronger desire and goal around these parts (my house) in recent months, and i do not criticize that desire or emphasis in any way. However. It is wrong, in my view, to discount in any way what happened yesterday and in the past couple of weeks regarding the great Chick-fil-a debacle. I think that a certain larger-than-they-realized group of people learned something absolutely priceless. We learned that we are not alone in our beliefs. We learned that we can support others who share our beliefs with great power. We learned that God blesses those who speak God's truth in love and are not ashamed. There has been a turning of ideas (we all know this) over the past 40 years or so. And there are people who want us to think that the belief that there is a right and a wrong and a God who says which is which - makes those who believe such things, bigots. And because loving people don't like to be called bigots, they've sometimes bought into the idea that they shouldn't mention it if they believe that someone else's way of living is actually not what God says is right. They've bought into the idea that they shouldn't even mention it when asked a point-blank question. Their words have been twisted, and they've been misquoted, and they've learned to keep their mouths quiet, so that all they hear are the voices that say they can't have those opinions unless they're haters. And they've started to buy into the idea that you can take God's word and make it say whatever the current society and media tells you it should say. But those things aren't true, and yesterday, i was encouraged. I was strengthened at heart. I was grateful to be encouraged. To spur on this great event, Dan Cathy really said the kindest thing, with great sincerity, if anyone was actually listening to what he said. He said that he supports traditional marriage (in more words than that) and he said that he prays that God would have mercy on America. What in the world is hateful about that? The answer is nothing. If he had been hateful, i couldn't support him. No matter what you're doing, God doesn't hate you, and i don't either. And i don't support people who hate you. I do support and mean to emulate, those who speak truth, with gentleness, love, and lack of shame. That's what i learned. I hope you learned that too. You know (in case this post wasn't long enough already), when i was a little girl, i remember getting in trouble for doing this or that thing and being very angry. I remember being banned to my room, lying across my bed, kicking and crying into a pillow, promising my tiny angry child self, that when i became a grown up, i wouldn't do whatever horrible parental thing my parents had just done. Like make me eat my spinach, or make me take a bath on Wednesday, or punish me for disobedience, or whatever thing that little kids need to be taught about. I didn't know at the time, that my parents were loving me. They were training me. They were doing what was best for me. And given the chance, the adult me would have to break all those promises the little me made, because now i understand about love and discipline and that love doesn't always initially feel good. In the bigger world, a lot of people think that it's hateful to express disagreement, or to insinuate that your personal decision to this or that might not be the best thing for you or for those around you. But it's not necessarily loving to just keep your mouth shut ALL the time. No one needs to go around pointing out everyone else's faults, but at the same time, no one should pretend that what isn't o.k., is. O.k., well, Gabby won the gold! Just as i expected. Aly Raisman's parents are some of the coolest in the world, even though she came in fourth. And now i have to re-think my writing schedule - or consider quitting my job so i have more time for blogging - or something, because it's really late, and i'm going to be really sleepy in the morning.
Posted by Beth at 10:46 PM