Let Love Abound

I’ve somewhat written on this topic before, but in lieu of the various reactions I’ve been seeing all across social media after the recent marriage reform laws, I just feel like it’s important to voice my opinions yet again. After all, isn’t that what blogs are for?

Last week, the United States Supreme Court won a huge battle. They have finally legalized marriage no matter what your sexual orientation is, and I think it’s beautiful. Beautiful because it’s one more positive step in the direction away from discrimination and toward acceptance.

Before I go any further, I want to express that I do believe in God and freedom of religion. What I don’t believe in is the contradicting views many so-called Christians are expressing after this change in national law. When it comes to so many issues, people cry out “what about the separation of church and state? The government shouldn’t have any say over my religious freedoms!” However, when it comes to the government making a decision that might contradict their specific religious beliefs, they claim that they in no way can support these laws because they don’t abide by their religious teachings. What continues to baffle me is the 180° turn from their first argument. If you want the true separation of church and state, shouldn’t you then be willing to accept that the government may make decisions that don’t line up with your beliefs?

Aside from that hypocrisy and going straight back to the teachings of Jesus, the bible says time and time again that Christians are to love people as Christ loves the church. That is an unconditional love. That’s not a love that disappears if you love the same gender. That’s not a love that disappears if you get a divorce. That’s certainly not a love that disappears if you mess up. Christians, in case you’ve forgotten, Jesus was friends with sinners. He sought them out. He had dinner with a dishonest tax collector. He spent time with prostitutes. He chose to spend time with the unclean over the religious leaders. This was a man who loved people…period. There were no qualifications to meet or level of “righteousness” required.

Quite frankly, the amount of people who have been hating on this issue sicken me. A person doesn’t have to live a certain lifestyle to attain love. That’s preposterous. So again, I am making a plea to the Christian community: show love, express love, be love. Without that, we are not living any sort of life that represents faith.

Berliner Dom, Berlin, Germany - May 2014
Berliner Dom, Berlin, Germany – May 2014

listening to: Radiohead

Loving Me

“It’s hard to pour into you”

I’ve been turning this statement over and over in my head since Monday. Monday was the day that I’ve had possibly the most honest and eye-opening conversation with a dear friend that I’ve ever had. Talking to someone who I think was finally able to understand a portion of my thoughts was a revelation. Thinking through all that we talked about, however, has been the only thing I’ve really been able to concentrate on all week. Being told that I make it very difficult for people to put energy into isn’t something that surprises me because I feel like some part of me has always been aware of that issue, but actually hearing it was something I wasn’t expecting.

There’s a line from The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky that (in my opinion) is far over-quoted and over-used, but it’s so very relevant to this topic: “We accept the love we think we deserve.” I’m not sure when I first started to feel this way, but constantly feeling broken and a burden to the people around you directly affects the way you accept love from other people. I can’t even begin to count the amount of times I’ve told people in the past few months how messed up I am, how much I’m in the way, and how many times I’ve apologized for wanting to talk or spend time with them.

In reality, it’s bizarre. Even verbalizing these thoughts to a couple of my closest friends this week has left me in tears both time. It’s crazy to think that at some point, something in my mind snapped from thinking “you’re worthy of spending time with” to “people spend time with you not because they want to, but because they pity you.” I think it’s something that’s been right below the surface for at least a decade, if not longer. Thinking about school trips where I would just retreat into myself because I couldn’t stand the thoughts that I wasn’t funny or interesting, or even always being the one to end a relationship because it was better to be the one ending it than the one being rejected…I’ve been spending the past several weeks trying to nail down how those thoughts got in my head to begin with.

I could get into the whole spiel of how I think a lot of it is cultural, how we are constantly bombarded with thoughts of never measuring up to the impossibly high standards society sets for us, but that would take me down a whole different path for today’s post. I could point out the fact that I’ve had so many friends continuously cancel plans with me in the past few months that it makes me wonder what I’m doing wrong and why they don’t seem to want to spend time with me, but that just sounds like wallowing in self pity.

I do know that ever since I’ve been back in Texas, I’ve felt like an outsider, an observer, and not like somebody who’s in the midst of things. All of the people I spend time with have all known each other far longer than I have, and while getting to know them is relatively easy for me, feeling like any of them actually get me is far more difficult. I think it all goes back to the beginning of today’s rambling: the fact that we only let people love us as much as we think we deserve, so when we don’t feel like we deserve much of anything, life suddenly becomes very lacking in deep human connection.

While there isn’t an automatic fix for any of this, I think finally having some of these things pointed out to me verbally is a good first step. So for those of you who might be reading this and know me, be patient. I know I’m probably not the easiest person to connect with, but I desperately want that. So be patient. Be there. That’s the only thing I can think of right now.

Milk Grotto, Bethlehem, West Bank - March 2014
Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem, West Bank – March 2014

listening to: Glen Hansard