When I posted yesterday about the whirlwind of love in my life, I had not imagined it would be the first of many whirlwinds the day would blow upon me. October 10, 2014 became what Equality NC had dubbed Day One–the start of marriage equality in North Carolina. Newspaper headlines this morning read “Same-Sex Marriages OK” and “Day for History, Equality.” The pictures are of colorful, smiling couples. I doubt the Saturday morning paper has ever been this gay before.
But whereas the world celebrates, my sweetness is tempered. Whereas other couples ran off to courthouses to say “I do,” I had no such privilege–my fiance lives two thousand miles away, and before we can marry, we must overcome hurdles no couple should have to endure. History, equality, celebration–but for whom?
I once wrote about prayer. I said, in four words, don’t pray for me. Apparently two students missed the memo, because right as I took a bite into my lunch yesterday (sitting on a bench outside, enjoying the weather while I read a news story about McCutcheon vs. the FEC) two young men walked up to me and asked where I’d gotten my jacket.
Except–like last time–I knew at once it was a cover. I swallowed my mouthful, “Why, Beta Brand, of course,” I said, and waited for the inevitable questions about faith and God and all the fabric of the universe in between: “May we pray for you?”
As a child I detested it. Now as an adult I have come to appreciate it. I may still at times despise it, but I succumb to it nonetheless. In this word there is synthesis. Togetherness. Means and ideals.
I can’t recall any memories of importance, but I can imagine some long lost day in the second or third grade when, before Hebrew school began, my friends and I would ride the wagon down the hill behind our synagogue. Sometimes I didn’t like going down the hill. Sometimes I would much rather sit and talk on the swings.
Sometimes we did both.
At six or seven we could see that both was better.
So elections were yesterday and despite distractions galore, I still managed to reach my daily word count goal for NaNoWriMo. Through antihistamines and philosophers, economic speakers and communication workshops, I thought the day would end on a solemn note. And when I saw some of the election results, certainly it seemed solidly solemn enough, but somehow there is clarity in these wins and losses–clarity that my vote didn’t count.
But don’t mistake me for apathy. There’s more to it than that.
Today began early voting in North Carolina. I’ll be voting on Monday, but that’s besides the point: What matter today is that you can now take your voice and make it heard–locally and nationally.
I’ve been debating a long time with myself if I want to “go political” or not. It’s a part of me, and I can’t deny that, and it’s certainly been a part of this blog–none of us can deny that. However, I’ve worried about alienating readers, offending people or making erroneous claims that will hurt me in the end.
I’ve decided today that all of that? It’s stupid. It’s our obligation–yours as much as mine–to “go political,” and given the start of early voting, there’s no better time than now to do it.
This past week has been remarkably productive–and if you can already sense the sarcasm, you’re brilliant. Although this past week hasn’t been without merit, mind you: I’ve drafted a new month of goals, I’ve begun digitizing (and reviewing) my calculus notes, I’ve taken more time to study set theory, and I’ve exercised as much as (if not more than; I lost track a bit) I vowed to do. I’ve also posted on my blog and saw a once-in-a-lifetime celestial event.
What’s notable–or rather, one thing that’s notable–is that I’ve been able to do any of this at all. I have a house that I live in, a car that transports us where we need to go (even if I can’t drive it yet), and a world–or perhaps an area of the world–that allows for such mobility in the first place.
But if you ask people how great life is, they’ve probably got a lot to say–and most of it probably isn’t good. There aren’t any jobs. Eating healthy breaks the bank. The government has its hand in our lives too much–and in other areas, not enough! There’s issues with health care, immigration, taxes, the environment–and there really is no end, and on no issue is there any agreement.
It sort of makes today’s teaching all the more controversial.
Long ago we were introduced to Rabbi Yoḥanan ben Zakkai and his five disciples. Since then we have learned from each of these Rabbis countless things–we’ve learned about community, about perception about prayers and obligations, about goodness and evil. Today, our lessons from these wise men come to an end as we study their final lesson to all us.
Life’s like a box of chocolate. Life’s like flying a kite. Life’s like a ladder. An adventure. A roller coaster. The metaphors are endless (and the metaphors are similes while we’re at it). Whether we don’t know what we’ve got till we take a bite, whether we’ve caught the wind or we’re falling from afar, whether we’re climbing over a precarious angle, forging forward to a new frontier, or simply riding the world through a series of ups and downs and one too many loops than any of us wants to go through, life’s got a lot to give us.
This post marks my two hundredth post as the Writingwolf.
My life through this point has encapsulated each of these ideas, but these last few days, they’ve been one of the wildest rides I’ve ever ridden on. Let’s just say I made it around the turn alright.
This evening I was given some terrible news: The vote on NC SB 106 and NC HB 777 has been moved up from September to tomorrow. These sequences of letters and numbers sound innocent on their own, but they sound ominous when you know what they refer to: A pair of bills introduced to the North Carolina General Assembly trying to write discrimination into our State Constitution. If passed, the public will decide whether or not to amend the Constitution to explicitly prohibit any and all legal recognition of same-sex couples in North Carolina.
Not only is this news disheartening, it also makes me somewhat thankful.
I am not, nor will I ever be, thankful for the hateful hearts that fill our world. Same-sex marriages are currently illegal in North Carolina and writing this into our constitution is merely an act of intolerance. It speaks volumes of the hatred and bias that runs through the veins of every man and woman who has supported these bills. I need not give names; their hate will return to them someday, and I can only pray they may change their ways before it’s too late. No one–not even them–deserves to be treated with such malice. I pray their hearts may open to the harm their hands are causing even as we speak, as I write these words, as you read them.
What, then, do I have to be thankful for at a time like this?