I used to think it was evidence of weakness. Used to think I lacked conviction. I felt like a sub-standard Christian… too much or not enough, depending on the day.
How could I understand and believe in a biblical view of marriage, designed, by God, to be between one man and one woman and, yet, desire the opportunity for legal union for my homosexual friends and neighbors? I can wax on about how wonderful my “traditional” family is. I do believe that my children are thriving with two committed parents– one mother, one father.
But I watch the two men who sit across the aisle and a couple rows back. I see their heads bowed in prayerful worship. Listen to their voices raised in song. And I know, sure as I know the color of my own eyes, that if I were given the opportunity to ask them ONE question– one question about anything at all– my query would have nothing at all to do with their “sinful relationship.” No. I’d ask them how on earth they get their dress shirts so blindingly white.
What does that say about me? I used to think it said that I was weak-minded.
I hear all the arguments for modest dress. I consider the value in ensuring I don’t become some sort of “stumbling block” for my brothers in Christ. A part of me can nod along, appreciating the theory. After all, there’s enough depravity in the world without my exposed flesh adding to it, right?
Another part of me rolls her eyes and demands, “How is this even a discussion point? Why are we arguing skirt length and exposed cleavage in 2012? People are STARVING. Babies are DYING. There are just bigger things for me to worry about than whether the backs of my knees are showing.”
Truth? I don’t even OWN a slip. So there.
I stand strong and defend the unborn, over and over reviewing my reasons. I will not be swayed in this and, yet, my heart hurts when I hear scathing remarks suggesting I “believe life begins at conception and ends at birth.” Or, perhaps even worse, that I’m judging fellow women and have absolutely NO right to do so since I’ve not walked in their shoes.
My words never fumble, but my heart– oh, my heart aches with the knowing that, in speaking for those who cannot defend themselves, I might be hurting another. I feel genuine remorse for this, despite my strong convictions.
I used to think this meant I lacked spine.
For years now, I’ve wondered what all this says about me.
I’m a practicing Catholic with traditional values, to be sure.
I’m also the girl who asked two of her best friends from college– two gay men– to sing at her (Catholic) wedding. I have no shame in this. I watched many an old lady weep at the beauty of Ave Maria on that evening. And I cried genuine tears when they mouthed, “Love you, Jess” at the end of their duet.
It’s just… hard.
If I truly reveal myself for all the myriad of facets I am, I feel contradictory. I fret that people will think I’m judging too much or enforcing biblical law too little. Perhaps I am guilty of both.
I used to think all this was an indication that I’m weak– weak-minded, weak-hearted, weak of conviction.
I’m starting to realize that that’s not it at all. If anything, it’s taken years to get comfortable enough with myself to get to this point. It’s taken a lot of hard thought and heart-seeking to get to a spot where I could shake my head at all the black and white ideas out there.
It’s taken me a long time to learn to dance in the grey.
But I rather like it here. No matter what it says about me.