I pulled this post out of the drafts space, removed some F-bombs and incoherent rage because my head is clearer, and have decided to publish it. The reason I didn't before is because I was afraid of saying the wrong thing. And well, that's a dumb reason to stay quiet.
xoxo, Mama Pants
I woke up this morning and went to the park. It was a gorgeous morning. Sun shining and not a cloud in the sky. Warm but not hot. A breeze kissed my face every few minutes.
I was there to engage the children of our church in an envisioning exercise. I would take them across the field during our annual service in the park and ask them to build the perfect church community using building blocks, Legos and art supplies. Moments before the service began, I saw my mom arrive. She had tears in her eyes. She had seen the news that I had yet to see.
A shooting. A mass shooting. "They are saying that 36 people are dead. They think there are more. Colleen, it was a gay night club".
My heart fell into my feet. I held my mother. I looked around at the faces arriving to the park and I saw it. Pain. So much pain. For the next few hours I had to find calm. I fought the urge to search my phone for news. My job this morning was to be with the children of our church. My job was to create a safe place of exploration. There was no time for my urge to cry.
I shared a beautiful moment with the children of our church this morning. I asked them, "If you could build the perfect church what would it be like? They told me that their perfect church was a tall building that glowed in the dark and had a unicorn on top that served as a beacon to let people know that they could come here. Everyone could come. The unicorn would signal to them that they would be loved and accepted.
"Not just accepted - Celebrated!", called out one of the youth.
Inside their perfect church was a lot of food and more music and fun and friends. When I asked them what the people inside our glow in the dark unicorn church looked like they told me that everyone inside loved each other. One child spoke up, he said just two words, "LIFE. LOVE." Another child who is just 8 years old said that "Our church is a place to be yourself. Your REAL self."
I kept coming back to her idea after I returned home this morning. It was not lost on me that Pulse was also those things. A beacon that glowed at night. A safe place to be who you are. A place to exhale, relax your shoulders and release the hyper vigilance that comes with loving out loud in a world that harbors deep rooted hatred and a history of violence against you. For the moments in time that humans are inside its walls, they are safe to express their whole self and the whole of their love. Pulse and every other gay bar in this country is a sanctuary. A version of what the children of my church voiced as a perfect community.
As a parent, I have taken my lead from the children of our church. My children do not know the details of what happened inside the sanctuary of Pulse. They are too young to be given such grief to bear. But that doesn't mean I get a pass to do the work.
I'm thinking that tomorrow we will continue to learn about LGBTQ human beings and why we must stand as allies in the fight for freedom from violence. We will talk about why we must confront hate speech every time. Even on the playground between children.
They know that we are allies. They know that people come in all colors, religions, genders, sizes, abilities and sexualities. At 7 and 5 they already know that there are also people who use violence through words and action to try and hurt others. And at 7 and 5 they know that it is our job as people of love to fight hard against that hate and to love bigger and louder.
But I have to do more.
It is my job now to continue that conversation. It is my job to never stop having that conversation. And it is my job to show them how be allies. And one of the ways I can do that is to hit the publish button.
June 15, 2016
To my readers,
It took me 3 days to hit that publish button. I was afraid to say the wrong thing but I have since realized that there is just no time for me to be afraid to say something. I have a blog that people actually read and I don't know of a better way to use this space. I chose to blog our lives for my children to read one day. I want them to read this.
Please join the fight. Please teach your children that love is love. We cannot assume that one or two conversations with our kids is enough. They are being bombarded with messages of hate that are both covert and overt. They need us to do better. LBGTQ human beings need us to do better. We cannot sit on our hands and decide that we have done enough.
We have not done enough.
And to my LGBTQ friends, family and readers - my love for you is without condition. My heart is breaking with yours. I promise to always stand up, even if my knees are shaking. I am proud to your ally. Love will win and until it does, I will fight with you.
xoxo, Mama Pants