Let’s Play the Quiet Game! (finding peace in a media crazed, dehumanized world)

When I was a kid, and we got too loud, the parent or teacher would usually say something like, “Let’s play the quiet game!” The rule was the first person to say something loses. It’s the worst game ever when you are a kid, even a quiet one like me.

But now, as an adult, I kind of wish I could just say that from time to time – at work, on the web, and in stressful situations. “Let’s play the quiet game!”

It pretty much never fails.

I am determined to live a less stressful life. Determined to make time for peace, exercise, writing, music, and gardening. Time for silence, meditation, and quality time for my wife and I to just enjoy being with each other.

Then, something happens.

A big something. A small something. Or, a thousand tiny somethings.

I determine I will not allow hatred into my space. I determine not to allow people who will say things that are hurtful and ignorant about my relational orientation anywhere near my life. I slash through my facebook friends list and eliminate anyone and everyone who has ever posted something against us, used a gay slur, or engaged in any other non-supportive behavior. I delete people I don’t really talk to, all in an effort to

simplify,

simplify,

simplify.

I stop listening to NPR for a week, take all the blogs I follow out of my feed, because they, too, stir up controversy. I don’t read news stories and blogs about the things that matter to me, because I know I will read the comments and get angry and deeply hurt.

I finally start to feel better, and my physical and emotional pain subside. I can feel peace and rest finally comes.

But, then it happens.

I look at an article, and I like it so I read on and my eyes stray to the comments or to past entries, and I can feel my shoulder seizing up into a tightened mess.

A family member does something non-supportive. Every joint and muscle prone to fibromyalgia pain burns and aches.

I read this story and others like it: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/17/elderly-gay-man-nyc-hate-crime_n_3940726.html?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000003

I feel sick. I think I am going to literally fall and vomit.

Somebody, for the love of God, do something.

Help us.

This world is full of noise. Of anger. Of violence.

Our Facebook news feeds, Twitter feeds, media consumption, and GMO diets have us full of trash in body, mind, and spirit.

Rather than being fed, we are being drained.

We dehumanize one another, and cease to be good examples of humanity ourselves. We can’t possibly believe we are doing the world any good when we are like this.

But then I read stories like this one:

http://www.believeoutloud.com/latest/when-redneck-loved-queer

And this one:

And I start to see the beauty and hope of redemption, and I see that it is only possible if we are willing to lay our arguments down, willing to lay down our weapons – and then to take it a step further and to form what has been used to harm into something that can be used to cultivate life.

So how do we find rest?

How do I find rest?

I struggle with disconnecting from social media because of the role I play in some people’s lives – who contact me in confidence. I struggle with the fact that if I want to succeed as a writer, I have to be somewhat self-promotional. (The same is true for my musical pursuits.)

But I also feel the need to go off alone for a bit. And to just be. To be without the sounds and sights of media. To put my hands in the earth even more, to create, and to just be with D and laugh. Because we need it.

We have a cat in the hospital. She was hit by a car over the weekend. We found her crouched and crying and bleeding under our car where she had been hiding.

I sobbed as she cried and blood poured from her mouth.

I called, and she drug herself.

We wrapped her in a towel, and rushed her to the emergency animal hospital an hour away.  We cried off and on the whole way. She was hurt so bad, we thought it was another of our cats, until after her exam showed it was one of the younger ones – one of the kittens born on our back porch just a few months ago.

Luna.

Luna had to have her leg amputated yesterday, and had to have her jaw reconstructed and mouth wired shut so it can heal. Because of her swelling, she had to have a tracheotomy put in place for a few days so she can breathe. She will also have to have a feeding tube.

We are doing everything we can to help her.

My spirit has also felt wounded and weary lately, and I feel like I have been going through an amputation of my own, and that there are still parts of my life that need to go so that new life can very literally grow inside of me.

The doctor told us that after he amputated Luna’s leg, the pain meds were able to be reduced drastically.

I hope the same is true as I am eliminating what I am able to of the major stressors in my life.

It will be important that D & I mind Luna’s feeding tube.

We will need to be careful of what she takes in.

I need to be more careful of what I take in.

So if you do not see me on social media as much; yes, there is a reason. If I don’t respond to messages or comments as quickly, be patient with me please.

It’s time to rest.

It’s time to be quiet for a bit, and to not listen any more to noise. It is time to take in good food. (Like the homemade organic pickles we had last night, made with heirloom cucumbers from our garden.) And it is time to have face to face or over the phone conversation. It is time to just surround myself with love and support as I grow and as the children in my dreams become reality.

It is time for peace.

It is time to laugh.

It is time to set the worry aside.

It is time to heal.

Peace be with you.

Love,

C.

What about you? How do you find healing, growth, and peace in this fast-paced, media obsessed, and sometimes hateful world? How do you set boundaries in your relationships and in other areas of your life?

“Even if I tried. Even if I wanted to.”

I read a post from Deeper Story today that angered me, and rather than continually commenting on the post every time I think of something new to say, I thought this may be the better outlet since I am behind in my blogging anyway.

“Same Love”

I first heard the song a few months ago when a friend living in Boston sent it to me. We hadn’t talked in a while, and it meant a lot to me that she thought of me when she heard it, and even more that she passed it on with a spirit of support.

I saw the video for the first time several weeks ago, and I have to confess – I wept. A lot. I watched it again with my wife, and I cried. She did too.

In the midst of all the Miley Cyrus hype involving teddy bears, weird facial expressions, and grossness, we watched the video of the VMA performance of “Same Love” – I cried again. And then again when the lovely Jennifer Hudson joined in.

Wow. What a moment. How beautiful.

A couple weeks ago, I sang at an equality event – a rally to bring awareness to the need for equal rights. The protesters were there when we were setting up.

The crowd started filling in, and we became observant.

In the midst of hateful signs saying we were “Satan’s attack on the family,” a man dressed up as the grim reaper (who later posted pictures of himself and made comments making fun of those who have died from AIDS), and others all from the same church – and no, it wasn’t Westboro – far from it…

In the middle of all that, a beautiful black woman with graying hair looked around and started singing,

“I can’t change. Even if I tried. Even if I wanted to.”

I teared up.

She was singing our anthem. In the midst of all that hatred. In the midst of my fear that someone might physically hurt us. (There had been death threats to one speaker who would be there – a brave woman who I count as a new friend.)

I watched the video to Mary Lambert’s “She Keeps Me Warm” and cried again, because until you have been gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. Until you have lived your 30 something year old life seeing hardly any good representations of the love you share with your partner. Until you have been made to feel less than and told you need to change and to ask God to change you…

Until you have tried to change and have asked God to change you…

Until then…

You can never know how much a song like “Same Love” means.

Teachers are getting suspended for showing it in classrooms. Kids are being told they can’t listen to it. LGBT people are crying when they hear it – because finally finally finally someone gets it.

To read of someone saying:

“This song is a lie!”… “That’s like saying you’re an alcoholic and you can’t ever change. Or you have anger issues and you can never change. You’re depressed, not good at anything, sexually addicted, fat, skinny…” Well, you get the point. I mean, our points became humorous. I began to sing, “I can’t change (insert description) my ugly hair, even if I wanted too.”

To read that… it was damaging and incredibly hurtful. It belittled a song that has helped so many people. It belittles redemption and limits God. (Not to mention, as a mental health counselor, that list does not go together!!)

And in reading it, it got me thinking…

I hate to say it, but I am growing weary of so many “progressive” Christian forums.

It is one thing to write or publish posts occasionally which are at least somewhat supportive to LGBT people on a legal or civil level (all the while, of course letting it be known that you don’t think it’s theologically “ok.”) It is one thing to sing a song or two about LGBT people and the way the church has treated them and how the church could do better,

but it is another to invite us to your table. To truly welcome us to take bread and wine. To listen to our stories and to give us a voice instead of trying to be the voice for us. To let us sing our anthems and listen to them and to listen

to truly listen to us for crying out loud! With no formulating your response. With no “yeah, but…”

To be with us and stand with us. In the middle of hate and fear and yes, threats.

To recognize that we, too, are of one body, mind and spirit, and that spirit is Christ.

I would rather you just be real and honest and let us know you really aren’t our friend instead of acting like you are because “it’s cool” or emergent and/or because you read the book on the research that says the church is viewed as anti-gay.

Recently, a close relative began dating someone who in the past has said some very hateful things about LGBT people, and directed it toward me and D. That close relative has put a wedge between us. I can’t even describe the level of hurt I have been experiencing – losing sleep, crying sporadically, aching and having terrible fibromyalgia flare ups.

It just isn’t ok. It isn’t ok to endorse hatred, or anything that belittles our experiences.

Last night, I had my first session with a new LGTB support group I started. So much pain. So many wounds. So much fear. And the origins – as always – the church, and family.

My friends,

this should not be so.

I’ve often wondered if the end of “She Keeps Me Warm” and “Same Love” – the repeating of “I’m not crying on Sundays” is a resolve of healing and redemption. I know it is for me when I sing it.

This song is no lie.

It is truth.

It is my truth. It is God’s truth.

“I can’t change,” in this song, isn’t throwing up our hands and giving up, as the Deeper Story Writer said; rather, it is walking into the hands of our Maker and receiving God’s love with no walls between us for the first time in our lives.

And I would never give that up. And couldn’t. Even if I tried, even if I wanted to.

Love,

C.