I love my dad! He is the finest man I have ever known. His youthful looks, young-at-heart disposition, and keen intellect defy his 92 years of living. No one person, other than my mother, has had as much impact on who I am, for which I am truly grateful.
A tradition we have tried to maintain since my mother’s passing is eating breakfast together on Sunday mornings before church. The meal usually consists of Creamed Sliced Beef on Toast (or SOS for those of you who served in the Navy, like my father) or Sausage Gravy on a pancake—both of which I just recently learned to cook. Over coffee (for him) and tea (for me), we discuss family, faith, feminism, politics, economics, current events, and more. An active reader and life-long learner, he is quite knowledgeable with a fair and just perspective.
Our breakfast ritual is also a sacred space for me to share my mistakes, flaws, and concerns in a safe and loving atmosphere.
This morning was no exception.
In my anger and frustration over Mr. Mick Mulvaney’s comment “this isn’t what I signed up for” regarding Mr. Trump and the riot, I wrote a scathing, profanity laced letter and posted it on FB. My father was the first to give me a thumbs up. The majority of comments from those who know me were supportive. Courageous, a way with words, perfect, and God-loving were among the observations and responses.
Yet, the latter remark, God-loving, drew a negative statement. “How could someone who would write a letter like this be called God-loving?”
To be honest, this one comment was so disturbing to me that it shook me to my core.
When I write, I try to invite my readers to walk with me into the real world as God intended and intends for all of life; one which we can only discover as much as we discover it together. If people do not understand, it could be easy for them to believe I am inviting them into my world.
This time, it seems, my invitation was less than appealing and down-right offensive to some.
I answered my critic’s accusation with:
What do you find objectionable? My use of swear words? My characterizations of Republicans? The fact that I am a Democrat? That fact that I am deeply moved and saddened by the events at the Capitol? … I am not bitter. I am just really tired of it all.
My detractor’s allegation that my political ideologies determined my love of God or lack thereof, literally immobilized me for the rest of the day. I spent most of the day in and out of tears, stuck in a quagmire of unrelenting confusion.
What is she believing? What am I believing? Is the reconciliation of polarized viewpoints even possible? When did political affiliations negate or promote faith? Have I led her and others to believe I think all Republicans are like Mulvaney? (I know they are not.) I have heavily criticized evangelicals in other posts, perhaps that is the origin of her offendedness. Question after question. Doubt after doubt.
Finally, I called two individuals whom I trust to hold me accountable. I asked them to be honest with me and they were. With their intuitive insights, they adeptly challenged some of my more unconscious beliefs and contractions, even as they also simultaneously reassured the truth of me.
Both broached my use of curse words albeit from different perspectives. John pointed to the patriarchal double standard regarding women cussing. He said my use of expletives was my way of continuing to break free of conditioned beliefs. Deep, long held and until recently mostly unconscious beliefs that have repressed, enchained and influenced my interactions with the world for most of my life.
Millie, on the other hand, said I could lose readers because they may be turned off by the use of foul language. She was quite adamant that I not use them.
Because they know and love me, neither called into question my love of God.
And with that, the storm within me began to subside.
However, it wasn’t until this morning at breakfast when discussing the whole episode with my dad, that I finally felt absolved and redeemed. That is what unconditional love does for you, it sets you aright, it reflects your inherit God-belovedness.
Those who say, “I love God,” and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. 1 John 4:20
P.S. My dad says (tongue in cheek) that prior to my Mr. Mulvaney letter, circumstances had not yet arisen that required such a punctuated application of profanity. Nevertheless, conditions surfaced that warranted their appropriate use, and that I am now returning to my pre-profanity status.