My maternal grandmother suffered a stroke yesterday morning – just over 12 years since another stroke left her with short-term memory loss. She was transported to a local hospital and given a drug that will hopefully lessen the effects of the stroke, but so far things aren’t looking very good. She is having a hard time communicating (sometimes not at all), and the right side of her body has been affected.
Yesterday afternoon, after sitting in two different hospitals all day, my nerves were frazzled. I was also starving, since the call came early in the morning before I had a chance to eat anything. Several family members were gathered in the CCU waiting room, and to say there was a wide range of individuals would be an understatement. There were young and old, Pentecostals and Baptists, blacks and whites, married and divorced, straight and gay, smokers and nonsmokers.
Although things are always a little awkward around my extended family because of the whole religion/gay thing, you can imagine my surprise when one of the women I thought was the least judgmental struck up the following conversation with me after a brief group discussion about Obama.
Her: I am very conservative.
Me: No! You are probably the least conservative person in this room.
Her: No, really. I am very conservative.
Me: What makes you conservative?
Her: I don’t believe in abortion.
Me: I consider myself to be pro-choice, but I would never have one if I were female. However, I believe a woman should have access to a safe abortion if she wants one.
Her: I also don’t agree with all the gay marriage stuff.
Her: Because I think we need to follow God’s plan.
Me: Do you think people are born gay?
Me: Then why shouldn’t they be allowed to marry if God made them that way?
Her: We are all born into sin. There are many different sins, but the Bible says men will leave the natural use of a woman and turn to other men.
Me: But I didn’t do that. I wasn’t attracted to women before I was gay, so I didn’t leave women and turn to men.
Her: I know, but the Bible also says he will turn people over to a reprobate mind in the end times. Brian, I believe that if you would truly get saved, Jesus would change your mind.
Me: You actually think I would become attracted to women?
Her: I believe Jesus would change your mind.
And with that, I simply stopped talking. I also declined her invitation to join several of them for dinner.
Many years ago, Maya Angelou gave some excellent advice for people who feel like they are being attacked. She said people who cut you down are trying to “kill” you by tearing you apart bit by bit. She recommends that whenever you encounter a person trying to tear you down, you simply look at them and say “Stop it.” I think there could be great power in that, and I intend to start putting it to use.