Saturday, December 21, 2013

Always something there to remind me: a purely selfish post about grief.

In this past week, Nirvana was announced as a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and I threw an empty Body Shop tea tree oil toner in the recycling.

This week, my daughter continued her study of the life of Kurt Cobain, and a memorial was held for my friend Carrie.

Right now, in another window, Pinterest wants me to invite Carrie Brown to join.

As you can tell, this post is not just selfish but disjointed, and it doesn't even touch on the greatest griefs of my life. But that's kind of the thing. Grief is selfish and disjointed and sometimes follows a trajectory that makes no sense.

Last November, my friend Carrie, who had been diagnosed with Stage 4 ovarian cancer one year before, was packing up to move to California where her family could care for her. I drove the 2 1/2 hours to help her mom pack, and to see her before she left the beautiful state of Washington.
I think I knew then that it would be for good, though no one would think to speak it.
When we were packing up, her mom was going to throw away some half empty bottles of toiletries, and I offered to take them and use them up. The bottle of toner was the last thing we used up, the only thing to outlive Carrie.

When I assigned my daughter the book Cobain as part of her rock history course, she said it would be too sad to read. I was brought back to the day Kurt died, and how my husband walked down the hill to meet me at work and tell me. As young, Seattle area denizens of the early 90's, it was all so close. We all felt like we'd lost a brother.

I remembered this November, this first weekend of November, standing at the transit center with my 11 year old, freezing in my Green Lantern costume, reading facebook on my phone, hiding my emotions, as a group of people from every corner of America and Canada held Carrie in love as her not unexpected but somehow still shocking  death unfolded.

Today, I saw a Nativity it Goodwill that reminded my of my Gram's. I did not buy it. My children have grown up with the Nativity I bought my first year on my own. That is OUR memory.

That;s how grief is.It follows a strange trajectory, and it drags you along for the ride. And no matter how close or how distant. something will always remind you of those who have gone before us, and often at the strangest times.

Friday, December 20, 2013

I don't want to talk about reality TV. But I need to speak about our public discourse

Somebody is in the news again for saying something unkind about LGBTQ people. I wasn't going to say anything about this, because me talking about the stance of a reality TV personality would be a lot like me saying I'll boycott crappy fast food chicken sandwiches.
But I feel compelled to speak about the meta-issue, because this affects real people.
You see, when somebody is in the news for denigrating a group of people: whether it's gay people, people of colour, or people of a certain religion (or lack thereof), I will inevitably find that people I know and care about agree with these people. And most of these people have children in their lives: their own, their grandchildren, nieces and nephews, students.

And some of these kids are gay, bisexual, or trans*.

And ALL of them are watching you.

And if you are supporting people who disregard a whole group of people, and the young person in your life belongs to that group, you are telling them that they are "less than."

And friends, our young people are too precious to treat that way.

I have almost my entire adult life working with children, with the last 14 years in the church nursery. I also work with the church youth. Some of the kids I've cared for spend an hour in my care and move on; others have been in my ;life long enough to graduate from toddler eating Cheerios while I read about how much Jesus loves them to teenager making sure I'll be at their rite of confirmation. And yes, some of these kids ARE LGBTQ. Some share with me, some are out and proud, and some kids you just KNOW.

Every single one of them is precious to God and to me. And it hurts my heart to know that some of these kids are hiding who they are because they *know* how Mom, Dad, or the grandparents feel about "people like them". It hurts even more to know that some of them will, probably, think about taking their own lives because it seems less terrifying than their family's rejection. Do you really want that to be the result of stating your beliefs?

So please, even if you do believe that marriage is "between one man and one woman", think about how you say that. Think about whose words you support. And let all the kids in your life know that you love and support them, no matter what.