Finally. A rare, spare kid-free moment during the horror show we call Summer Break as a mother of four. Because I am a “yes” woman, I have about 15.75 plates (one was sadly chipped, short story) spinning currently and they all needed some attention. So many plates require copious amounts of caffeine so I was dutifully in the midst of my second iced coffee while I hammered out email replies, prepped for a church event and edited some documents. Of course, because I am also woefully obsessed with social media, I was hopping on and off Facebook all the while. Because of such admirable vigilance I was lucky enough to see a dear longtime friend post about being in my neighborhood. Like, NOW! Right now! Even though I have only had the pleasure of seeing him a handful of times since high school we have a special connection. He was one of the major players in some of my sweetest teen memoirs and our shared history makes for some deep roots of friendship. I hope you have some of those people too. So, as is my style, I sent him a frantic message: “Jimmy!! Where are you right now? I’m at Starbucks and NEED to buy you a coffee! I have a busy day but if I can see you for even 15 minutes that would be AMAZING!!!”
Thankfully, he is as social-media-addicted as me and ever-so-conveniently he was headed my way-ish. Of course, I suppose you expected, fifteen minutes actually means over an hour, we took the requisite (awesome!) selfie, and I indulged in one more refill.
Hold up. I think I am about to make a public service announcement: If you have been living under a rock or spending hours arguing with strangers on the interwebs you might not actually know, take a deep breath here, Starbucks offers free refills (with your Starbucks card #getone.) No. Really. It’s akin to a river of Joe for the price of a stream. Go. Try it yourself. It actually happens. You’re welcome.
Man, the benefits you derive from reading this blog are countless, aren’t they?
Where was I?
Oh yes. Did I happen to mention sweet Jimmy happens to be “out and proud?” He is deeply involved in the gay rights movement in his city. He was actually passing through Seattle on his way to partake in the Vancouver Gay Pride events. We spoke at length about communication, dating (him not me), friendship, sex, the human need for connection and belonging, how relationships can go right, how they can go wrong, and the painful process of recovering from heartache.
And then, we had a knock down drag out battle to the point of criminally assaulting one another over gay marriage and were physically removed from Starbucks and ordered to never return.
Oh my word, did I get anyone with that? Even one? Because I could barely type it without laughing hysterically.
Actually, we spoke not one ding-dang word on the subject.
So are the sounds of clucking chickens coming to mind?
Au ’contraire, my dear reader. Rest assured Jimmy knows exactly where I stand on marriage and sex and God. We have been Facebook friends for years and I am known to occasionally post articles and updates about my position on marriage and children’s rights. He certainly knows that am a Christ-follower and hold scripture in high esteem.
So, you might ask, what’s the deal you crusading, uppity, opinionated bible banging blogger type?
The deal, my dear Christian friend, is that when I’m talking with a non-believer, Jesus is the only topic worth dividing over. My role, my commission, is to let Jimmy know that he is loved and that he will never pass through my town without sharing a cuppa Joe. It is to serve and listen and love because he is worthy of my time and attention. It is not my job to try and change what Jimmy thinks and bring out my arsenal of objections and arguments.
It is to be his friend. Because I am. Period.
It certainly does not mean that I hide what I believe. We should, we need to be, ready to give an explanation of where we stand, when someone asks. If Jimmy had come gunning for a throw-down I would have sat on that Starbucks bench and tried to gently respond about my beliefs. I assure you there would have been nothing disorderly or physical about it, other than my trembling. And, today? You had better believe that I was praying the whole time: “Lord, what do you want me to say?” “How should I respond to that?” “What can I say so that Jimmy knows I love him?” “Do you want me to say something in response to that?” But the loud and clear answer today was listen. Just listen. Just enjoy your friend. Just let him know how much you love him. And show him how much I love him.
This here is a blog. This is where we hash out ideas, attack arguments, and dissect viral videos. People come here because they are looking for a discussion, and be honest- some of you are looking for a knock down drag out. Talking through and understanding the issues of our time really matters. But it is important you understand that being a staunch Christian, or a staunch marriage advocate, does not mean that this is all we talk about all the time with everyone we meet in every place we go. As a matter of fact, on this topic, a little goes a long way. I have been honest about what I believe and why. It is enough that Jimmy knows where I stand. I pray it means that every time we are together Jimmy will be amazed that two people who hold such diametrically opposed positions ideologically can have such sweet laughter over coffee.
Because it is all about love. Whatever may come later, love must come first. And if nothing comes later, then we begin and end with love. We love because God first loved us. If we want to be Christ like, what do we do people?
(Want more on this subject? Check out Why do you hate gays?)