Every curse has a blessing in its pocket
Pride month is taking place in the midst of the riots that have followed George’s Floyd’s murder.
I don’t think this is coincidence. I think it is an opportunity. The old forest is burning to the ground. Many people are frightened by that, and so they lash out in anger and fear. But that only feeds the blaze.
We have woven a tangled web in our media, in our minds, our society, our economy. But this situation isn’t about any of those things. This is more basic.
This is about what it means to be human.
We’re so different, yet we’re all the same species; we share the same heart.
And the cry of the human heart is simple: Do I matter?
We always ask that question of ourselves, but we rarely come to full peace with it because we don’t turn it outwards as strongly as inwards. What about others? After all, they’re asking that question just like you are.
Whoever “they” are: black, white, gay, straight, whatever, do THEY matter to you?
A few years back, I lost a good friend to brain cancer. As the disease progressed, he lost the ability to speak, to write, even to type his thoughts into his blog.
But I will never forget one of the last entries he wrote himself, before his mother had to take over. Up to that point, his blog had chronicled his journey with cancer, and he had always remained positive, no matter how difficult the struggle became. But at that point, he knew the end was inevitable. He was dying.
In that blog entry, he said that he was reminded of his highschool graduation, during which his sister had asked him if he had any regrets. He replied, no, because everything he’d done had made him who he was, and brought him where he was, and he was happy with that.
But now, he wrote, sitting on his bed with cancer growing inside his head, he had to ask the same question again. Did he have any regrets?
He said no, he still did not.
He said that even if he could go back in time and undo whatever had cause his cancer, he wouldn’t, because it had taught him so many things and brought him closer to his family and friends than he ever thought possible.
Then he made the statement I will never forget. He said:
“I believe that my life is a gift from God, and that it is good and right, and that I can do right by it. How could I ever regret that?”
Consider the darkness that was swirling around him. He was about to die, at 28 years old. His life had barely begun, and now it was going to end.
But he chose not to focus on any of that.
That was his Trafalgar, his Gethsemane. He could have used that critical moment to focus on his pain, his suffering, or unfairness of it all. That would have been his right.
But he didn’t.
He used that moment to leave behind a diamond of hope for anyone who might find it.
If you are black, if you are gay, if you are anything, I want you to have that hope. Because of people in my life like Michael, I know that hope is stronger than fear, hate, or anger.
Whoever you are, reading this right now, I want you to understand that I believe in you. And no, I don’t need to know you personally in order to say that, because you are human, and I have seen the capacity of humans to overcome the darkness within and without.
Bad things have happened to you, I’m sure. I know what that’s like. I have seen brokenness, betrayal, false accusation.
But I’ve also seen healing.
I’ve seen rescuing.
I’ve seen forgiveness.
We don’t get to choose what happens to us, but we do get to choose what we do with it.
I know what Michael chose to do—who he chose to be.
So how about you?
Who will you be?