From January 18th through February 16th, people are reflecting, contemplating, writing and harnessing passion to bring about peace, justice, and reconciliation by mobilizing the tremendous power of love as part of Standing on the Side of Love's 30 Days of Love campaign.
As I reflect on this year's Martin Luther King Jr. holiday—a day when we remember, and lift up the myriad ways in which Dr. King affirmed the inherent nature of the human family—I want to consider a world where the human family lives whole and reconciled.
The human family, in my belief, is whole and reconciled by nature.
It is how we are made—we are unified in that we are of the same Source. The Holy Love in the Center of All That Is - is the taproot of the human family, and all of us have sprouted from this root and are nurtured by it. In this reality, we are whole and we are reconciled.
When I live in this truth—when I am able to breathe in the peace of that and connect to my human siblings, known to me and not known to me, I am uplifted; I am encouraged. There have been so many people, places and events that remind me that this is so.
Living in wholeness and reconciliation with the kaleidoscopic points of brilliance embodied as my human family is connecting in the most basic, yet most beautifully complicated way.
There is another perspective that comes to me in this contemplation that bears examination.
Watching the news or scanning my social media feeds can be like being steeped in toxins.
There is never a shortage of stories of suffering, division, and dysfunction in the human family. It springs up in my own family like a toxic weed from time to time. Hearing from someone I love that the way I am made is wrong, is hard. I know down in the very core of my Isness, that I am who our Divine Beloved Creator made me to be, in all my Two Spirit complexity
I love myself enough to recognize that truth and to know that I am not something—an abomination, sinful, flawed, deceived by the devil or whatever—just because they say so. I am a being focused on love and unity, but those things still hurt. They have the potential to separate otherwise loving people from one another.
It is easy to become jaded, to be cynical, and to believe that we are built for conflict—that turning upon our sacred siblings is just what we do. I could spiral down into that mess and be as full of vitriol as the folks who give me grief. But there is such power in looking into the mess and pouring love into it.
In my experience, such outpourings of love are transformational. I may never convince some folks who are certain it isn’t so that LGBTQ people are evidence of God’s extravagant creative diversity.
But I must advocate, educate, and live in a way that makes it clear that I do believe it.
Mayhem and chaos are at the center of what the media and our fellow beings serve up for our consideration.
Detailed accounts of shootings, trafficking of people and substances, imbalances of power and privilege, and the obscene extremes of wealth and poverty form the core of the information stream with which we are bombarded. I examine each of these today—these two seemingly polar opposite views.
As I hold the tension of knowing that each is real, the question emerges, "What is the essential difference between the two?"
For me, the difference is a matter of what we do with our armor.
Woven into the fabric of the human family are threads of conflict, strife, anger, hatred, and fear.
There are two ways to respond to that reality—either by "perfecting" our ability to armor ourselves or by doing the very hard work of creating, nurturing, and growing spaces into which we can step with all our vulnerability and set aside our armor.
The history of the human family has often brought us into violent interaction, a dynamic where we hurt one another, sometimes unintentionally, but often – with intent behind our actions. In an effort to avoid being hurt we have woven a complex fabric of defenses. We have been trained towards and equipped for battle.
By donning thicker, tougher, and more sophisticated armour and by wielding a numbing arsenal of weapons—blades, guns, resources and privileges—we lock ourselves into a certain dynamic where we stand in our armor and brace for the conflict. When we take this position, we find ourselves at a place of great separation from our sacred siblings and work in opposition to reconciliation.
When our arms are full of the things we have been trained to believe keep us safe, we cannot pick up tools that forge relationship—we cannot open our arms to embrace.
I believe that our common connection to the Source, the All, is imbedded in the very core of who we are. Are we bold enough, to actively look for that in others to see that presence in their faces? Can we access our innate fierceness and unfold? Not if we are standing in full armor, weapons in hand, daring the world to strike.
I believe we can be fiercely loving of one another. I believe we can be wildly inclusive and work boldly together. I believe that LGBTQ equality transcends the issues that get all of the press.
Will the folks who fight so hard for silo issues, come out into the broader field of engagement with equal ferocity? We each work tirelessly for issues that impact our individual lives, but what if we could step into the field of engagement that is not our own and fight for the issue that is oppressing our sibling?
Some of my most amazing personal allies in the fight for LGBTQ equality are straight folks with a basket full of privilege, which they mobilize, because their sacred sibling, namely me, is being oppressed.
We must fight alongside one another in loving fierceness and in unity.
I know we can—I've seen it, I've experienced it. THAT is power in unity. That is the mind-blowing power of Grace in action!
If we desire wholeness and reconciliation, we must have the ability to move, minds and arms that are open, and we must be fiercely engaged. We must be vulnerable and find ways in which we can set aside the armor, and open our arms to the reconciliation and wholeness that only openness and lovingkindness can achieve.
"Will you let your armor crack, and let the light shine through, can you see it streaming out, as well as into you?" — Terry Gonda
Photo via flickr user felixtsao