Frustration and Fear

I’ve had quite a bit of frustration lately.

Frustration in seeing so many people promote hate around me.

Frustration that things can be so complicated, for so many people.

It’s not that complicated. Love isn’t complicated.

When she saw me this morning, my girlfriend looks at me and she said, “I’m very impressed with you.” This isn’t the typical thing she’d say to me. Normally, it’d be something like, “You’re wearing that? Really?” Or “You should put more cologne on.” I kid, though.

I asked why, and she replied. “I just don’t think you would have done something like this a year ago.” Now might be the time to let you know that it’s Pride weekend here in Nashville, and I had decked myself out in pink sunglasses, a pink bandana, and a purple Pride shirt provided to me by my place of employment.

It caused me to sit back and think about where I was a year (or more) ago. Not where I was, but who I was.

Somewhere within around the past two years, the idea of a Pride weekend would have been unthinkable. I would have avoided it. Not out of hatred, not out of a biblical sense of entitlement and judgment, but out of a sense of fear. Fear that somehow, if I went down there, I’d be labeled as gay, or hit on, or hurt in some way. I feel like these feelings came from so many years of being separated from the LGBT community, and being in such a Christian home that I felt it was so wrong, and so evil.

I’ve always been a proponent of love, and grace towards all people. Growing up, I never even understood what racism was because I was raised to not look at people of color any different from myself. We are the same. We live the same lives, and go to the same places, and talk to the same people. But for some reason, the LBGT community was something I was held from, whether by choice, or by force.

I remember specifically where things began to change. Two moments. The first was a simple songwriter’s night 3 years ago, where I met one of my best friends in the world. She was friendly to me, she was one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. She showed me kindness, and love. The second, was 2 years ago. I went to a Mary Lambert concert with one of my best friends. I had no idea of her background, or her sexual orientation, or what kind of fans would show up to her show. All I knew, was she was the one who sang on Macklemore’s ‘Same Love’ track. And she was a great singer.

What I witnessed that night was an outpouring of love, and of grace from the stage. From Mary’s heart to her fans and every single person in the room. While I stood in the back, in fear that something horrible might happen (for God knows what reason), I watched this tremendous shift occur. I saw that there was no reason for fear. That these people are just like me. They go to the same places. Meet the same people. Do the same things.

From then on, it was like the fear was gone. Keep in mind, my fear was not rooted in hatred or judgement. It was just a byproduct of what I’d grown up learning. I had to learn how to love people again. Specifically, I had to learn that there was nothing to fear. And while it might not make sense to some people, I’m finally in a place where something as simple as a Pride weekend can show off how different I am, and how much I’ve grown as a believer of Jesus.

Back to the beginning.

The frustration now, stems from those who are so ingrained in their hatred. When I go downtown in Nashville, and there’s a huge event like Pride happening, and I see people picketing, yelling at onlookers, throwing their bibles down and preaching hatred. It’s not fear (or is it?). It’s a blatant hatred for those that they think are different. Now it’s those people, that spew their hate, that push their agenda, those are the ones I’m afraid of. I fear them because I’m scared that someone I know, someone I care about, will hear them, will see them, and think we’re all like that. That they’ll fear us.

There is nothing to fear.

I’ve said this before, and I’ll continue to say it. The ones who speak the loudest aren’t the ones who speak for everyone. So when you see those people down there, wherever you are, judging you for being yourself, or yelling their own brand of propaganda at you, just remember. Remember this story. Please, remember that we’re not all like that.

I’ve even afraid to post this, because of what people will say. But people will say what they’re going to say, and it doesn’t make either one of us right or wrong. It just is.

We’re not all like that. Some of us really, truly, love.

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