Wednesday, July 1, 2015

On Being Brave

I truly admire brave people. Those who are willing to step up and take a stand and risk it all. The people who can lay it all out there and be honest with everyone about their struggles The people who face discrimination every day and still walk out the door with their head held high. I admire those people. I wish I could be one of those people.

More often than not, when I do try to be one of those people, I end up blurting out something inappropriate or out of ignorance and it blows up in my face because I didn't think before I spoke. Therefore, causing more damage than doing good.

We're privileged to live in a time where we can witness some truly brave people. Among all of the battling, arguing, rioting, and fear, we can still see people standing out and reminding us there is hope. Taking down flags, getting married, embracing their true selves, or becoming the first African American woman to be a principal in a ballet company.

It's an exciting time to see the progress being made.

Friday morning I turned on my iPad to find rainbows flying across my screen with the news of the marriage equality ruling in the USA. People celebrating and turning their Facebook pictures into rainbows. For the first several hours, at least on my end of the Internet world, everyone was happy. Then of course, later, some of the backlash came.

I quietly retweeted one thing, and made a small statement on Facebook. Trying not to get noticed too much but also toeing the line of where I stood. Which, that in it of itself is annoying that we have to pick a side. No matter which side you pick, someone is going to think you're the bad guy. But that's another rant for another time. I liked a few comments and posts, but tried to stay relatively silent. The last time I had publicly stated something, there had been consequences and from then on I tried to be much more subtle about my opinions.

Later, a friend messaged me. We were in the same program in college and she figured out long before I did, that working in a church wasn't for her. We've talked in the past about how our views differ from most of those in the church and on Friday she thanked me for being so supportive of her opinions when she put them online. In turn, I told her I thought she was the brave one because she outright said her thoughts, while I just "liked" the comments.

The next day, one of my former college roommates changed her Facebook photo to be a rainbow. I'm not going to lie - I was surprised. She had always been more on the conservative and traditional side of things when we were in school. (I always respected her thoughts because I knew she had thought and prayed about them for a long time instead of just saying "That's how it's always been and I don't like change!") Then, as I thought about it and some of our conversations since graduating, it didn't surprise me all that much.

It got me to thinking. "If she can say something... maybe I can too." With that, I changed my Facebook picture too and braced myself for the backlash.

She and I talked after and we talked about our trains of thought on the matter and since we both are former workers for our Synod, some of the fears we had. Or, in reality, the fears I had. While I don't formally work in a church anymore, being vocal about opinions different than those in the church can be a scary thing.

She reminded me how the fears we have must only be a fraction of those who actually have been fighting for marriage equality, or haven't come out yet, or deal with the discrimination every day. She also encouraged me to be brave because "I bet there's more of us waiting in the wings!"

To be honest, I'm sure hardly anyone batted an eye at my Facebook profile. In fact, those who know me probably already knew my thoughts, or could at least guess.

All through high school and college I worked so hard at having the perfect Christian girl image where I read my Bible every day and upheld good values and sang my heart out in worship and had the perfect prayer for everything. Since then I've been letting go of that image and letting myself be me. Part of me wonders if I was the only one I was fooling.

But I figure, the least I can do is show my support for those who need it. Because, it's not about me. It's about showing them "Yes, I support you. I'm here for you while you fight the battle." Maybe, in a small way, I'm fighting it with them.

I'm still not the bravest person out there, and I probably never will be. In fact, in recent days I've admired a friend of mine who has been posting blogs putting it all out there about her emotions and past and I haven't even had the guts to tell her how much I admire it, and how I wish I was a better friend to her.

Through all of this, I've been thinking about a song from Hairspray. It was for the movie version and they sing it in the credits. "We've come so far but we've got so far to go..." While the musical mainly focuses on racism, the themes still apply to other rights as well.

We've all made so much progress in our country and in our world. (Did you know in Mozambique this week it is now legal to be gay? The USA isn't the only one making progress!) We should celebrate it and embrace it! If we don't, we'll get lost in hopelessness. But there's still a lot more to do. Let's all be brave, even if it is in our own quiet way. Then little by little, we'll keep making progress.


  1. This was a beautiful post. I loved seeing you change your profile pic.

    Being brave is a scary thing. I'm not brave either. I know when to voice certain opinions and in what kind of company to not mention my lack of believes or certain world views because I'm afraid if the backlash or just don't want the argument. I hate that. I hate that I keep myself in check so many times instead of just being true to myself.

  2. Great post! I loved our conversation over dinner :)

  3. "We believe in ordinary acts of bravery, in the courage that drives one person to stand up for another."

    Brave is hard. And it's important to remember that being brave doesn't always equal being loud, or being the first. Rash is not the same as brave. Brave is knowing and thinking about the possible consequences, and doing it anyway.

  4. You're really, really brave, for even just liking a post. Truly!!! I love how much more you did, and I understand the nerves. <3

  5. Yes. yes. YES.

    Bravery is a weird and hard thing. But I've realized it's so much about being intentional in your choices and knowing why you made them... Then the whole standing up for yourself thing feels not nearly as daunting (sort of). :)


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