In 2016, Jim and I were in Columbus, Ohio for a lovely June wedding of dear friends. Shortly after we had arrived, we were excited to learn that the Columbus Pride Parade was to be that same weekend! So on Saturday morning, we headed out to the streets with our flags and scarves to cheer on the colorful and beautiful people passing by.
The Parade was just a week after the unfathomable, tragic shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando in which 49 people were killed. Our family was still reeling from that heinous act of hatred that night. Our concern for the safety of our beloved dear ones was constantly on our minds. Jim and I even felt a little nervous attending the parade. I suggested that we text our family to let them know we were there…. just in case.
Immediately we received a call from our daughter Angie.
“Well, I guess I have to tell you that I am here, too. I am marching in the parade!”
Angie had planned to tell us after the parade so we wouldn’t worry. She was marching with other Lutherans in support of LGTBQ+ equality. We all laughed, although mine was a nervous laughter. Relief- but also joy that we didn’t let our fears stop us, our pride for our marching daughter- flooded over us at the end of the morning.
After that, our family talked about the need for us to keep doing what we believe is right, and to keep standing up for those who need us to do so. We agreed that if anything happened to any of us, we would understand the need to carry on, trusting that our dear one was doing exactly what any of us were meant to do.
This is easier said than done, isn’t it? My stomach hurts to even write about the possibility. My fear is not so much for myself, but for my cherished husband, children, and especially all of our LGTBQ+ family and friends. And my risks are SO insignificant compared to the ones my gay loved ones and others face all the time.
The fear is real. One friend had his head pounded against a concrete pavement. One was kicked out of his home. Others have had their cars egged. One simply had an equality bumper sticker on her car and at times faced road rage. Most of them have been cursed by passers-by, just for being who they are.
We have come so far, but please know we have a long way to go. My blogs this week have taken a long time to publish. Not because I had trouble writing them, but because I was afraid to put myself out there. I have already had a few angry reactions and have even lost one friend. Minor things, truly, but they sting.
This is when I think of Jesus. Jesus, who stood for what was right, who spoke for and helped and healed the marginalized, who went to his death in defense of love. Jesus, who calls us to also love and serve one another. Jesus, who tells us time and time again, “Do not fear.”
The truth is, if we let fear keep us from living, we never will have lived, will we? If we allow fear to keep us from doing the right thing, those who evoke those fears will have succeeded. Whatever you may be passionate about, whether it is an issue of justice or a matter of your heart, I hope that you won’t let fear stop you from being who God is calling you to be, to do what God is calling you to do. The world needs you. We need you.
So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up. (Galatians 6:9)
I hope this week has blessed you. If you are reading this, know you are in my prayers. Thanks for reading this week.