Poem: "Choose Love"
After recently attending my first Pride festivities in Washington, D.C. and New York City, an overwhelming wave of emotions hit me and I was caught in a sea of questions and thoughts that caused me to replay key moments in my past. I chose to attend the parades to support my LGBTQ+ friends and also solidify my position as an ally. For years I had been standing on the sidelines, not knowing my position due to my inaction on how to balance my faith and alternative views on love. Because I grew up with a Christian worldview, I viewed love purely from the perspectives of my relationship with God, my family, and from a heterosexual point of view due to my sexual preference. Thanks to my friendships and open dialogue with those in the LGBTQ+ community, I discovered that love had many layers, which meant I had to stretch my perceptions of love; not just from a religious viewpoint or through actionable means in how I lived my everyday life. However, while I was expanding my definition of love, I realized that many around me, including many in the various churches I visited, defined love in rigid or narrow ways. This poem is for those seeking to discover deeper love in their lives and for those who’s restricted views have kept them from choosing and accepting love in all of its shades and expressions.
There are those who choose to love others.
And those who choose to judge first.
I hope you choose to love.
I hope you choose to believe first and then ask questions.
I hope you choose to look a person in the eye and say it’s okay
When they make a mistake.
I hope you realize your imperfections are welcome mats for someone to step through your doors.
I hope you don’t let someone’s past define who they are today.
I hope you choose to say something kind rather than repeat an insult you overheard.
I hope you remember that when you were down, someone chose to extend their hand rather than a kick.
I hope you show generosity and expect nothing in return.
I hope you remember that we are all human so perfection is impossible.
I hope you find peace in acceptance instead of thinking, what if they were different.
I hope you choose to practice grace when it might be easier to just be bitter.
I hope you choose love.
Because love is the purest form of expression we have as a human race, who am I to judge or restrict someone in how and with who they share love? This piece is dedicated to my friends who have proudly decided to come out and be their full, authentic selves. However, this piece is also written for those who are conflicted in their faith and in their tolerance or acceptance for those who show love differently than they do. In an effort to stay true to my faith, my decision to be an ally was not taken lightly. I have wrestled with thoughts, prayed for clarity, and have openly discussed my views with several leaders. I hope you choose to step out in faith and consider alternative views next time you see a Pride flag, are introduced to a member of the LGBTQ+ community, or find yourself in a moment where your reaction matters.