Growing up I was told boys loving boys was wrong. Girls loving girls was wrong. Thinking you were a boy when you had girl parts was wrong and vis versa. I was told you don’t question God.God didn’t make mistakes. I never really gave it much thought until a friend came out as a lesbian. Now what do I do? I like her as a person. She is a great friend. According to the religion I was part of at the time, I was not to associate with her anymore. She was openly admitting to a “sin” and not trying to change. When I turned to the church for guidance , I came away feeling like I had done something wrong. I had such immense guilt for wanting to keep the friendship I had. To turn someone away for being who they were was just not part of me.
It took me a long time to work out how I felt about love being love. I had to work past these stumbling blocks I didn’t even know I had. It was not to be talked about so I found myself stumbling. I was lucky to have a friend who was willing and open to let me stutter it out and really dissect how I ,personally felt. I felt a openess and acceptance that I had not felt when I turned to the church. There was a lot of back and forth. Was she born this way? Was it a choice? I saw her dating guys was she faking it? How did she see me? Was she attracted to me? What was her type? Did she have a type? Is this something she was trying out? Didn’t she want babies? She not only explained most of it calmly and openly but she also questioned me back. Are you sure it’s what you believe or is that just what you have been led to believe? It wasn’t easy and there was definitely squirming in our seats on both sides. We were both works in progress, still are.
It made our friendship stronger. I like to think it made us stronger as individuals as well. However, that was not the end of it. Later I found out that she was holding things back. She told me, Saying that I don’t approve of your choices but it’s your life isn’t acceptance. It is not compassionate. In fact it made her feel guilty, like she couldn’t share everything with me. She wanted to have girl talk and relationship discussions but when she did she felt very judged. Here I thought I was being so helpful. I was making it worse, which was the opposite of what I wanted to do. The opposite of what I thought I was doing. I had put conditions on my acceptance and thus our relationship.It wasn’t all one-sided. We had an open and honest enough relationship that she told me about some choices I had made that she didn’t agree with. It was shocking to me that she actually didn’t approve of some of my decisions. I had not felt any disapproval from her.I never felt judged. She always seemed genuinely happy with whatever decision I made. That was when I realized she was mixing compassion with her acceptance. I am glad she was openly honest with me about her sexual preference. I am glad she was unapologetic about it. It really made me think. It was easy to say no it is a sin and not acceptable when it wasn’t personal. I didn’t have to think much about it. I realize now how unusual that was for someone to be able to openly and unapologetically say this is who I am take it or leave it. It wasn’t easy for her but she had gone through her own storms to come to the point she was at. We are no longer such close friends. It had nothing to do with her sexual preference. Sometimes you just drift apart. I am forever thankful for the friendship we did have. The learning and growing I went through. Perhaps those lessons were the whole reason she was in my life to begin with.
It wasn’t until I started trying to think compassionately about others decisions that I realized how wrong I had been. Acceptance needs compassion to take the sting out of differences of opinion. Without it acceptance doesn’t mean nearly as much. As much as we say we do not care what others think, we do. On some level we do. We may not even be conscience of it. The point is, I realized that in order to be accepting of others, compassion is integral. Compassion for myself as I explored what I really truly believed. Compassion for what she was going through and her feelings. True acceptance of someone for who they are is wrapped and entwined with compassion. As you go through the journey you realize sometimes acceptance is leading and sometimes compassion is leading. At some point you realize they are no longer entwined, they have become one. In the end though there is just love. Love for a friend. Love for another human being. In order to accept that love is love no matter what circumstance requires acceptance at every turn and a blanket of compassion.
Join us as we spread warm fuzzy feelings across the interwebs every twentieth to drowned out the sad and horror and bad stuff that bombards us every day. Write and link up, read, comment, share, it all matters. We are not looking to make big huge ripples. Little ripples are much more effective and they can amaze us with their power.