Where’s the LOVE?

I was born in Texas and grew up as a military brat in a staunchly conservative right-wing family.  I didn’t always agree with every belief my family held but I realized eventually that it wasn’t worth questioning because I never changed anyone’s mind but did raise blood pressure.  I moved almost every two years of my life until I left home for art school at 17 and landed in California. I was then surrounded by liberals. Suddenly many of the things I had been raised to believe were questioned and often considered hateful.  Almost every friend and professor swung way to the left and I quickly realized how to work the system and write “politically correct” papers and make “politically correct art” to get the A’s I needed for my GPA.  Some of what they believed I agreed with but when I didn’t I dared not say anything for fear of being labeled something they considered dreadful, like a “Republican”.  I would go home in the summer and listen to a lot of talk about “those” people with their crazy liberal ideas and then go back to college in the fall and listen to rants and even lectures about “those” people and their archaic conservative thinking. Each side seethed with a fire of hate and moral superiority. I stepped from one side to the middle with one foot and then from the other side to the middle with the other foot and tried really hard to not get burned by either.

I eventually met a man with both feet in the middle as well. He came from hippie parents and a Chinese step family. Our wedding attendees featured hippies, police officers, an Air Force Colonel, a few gays, Republicans, Democrats, Chinese, African-Americans, Philipinos, Vietnamese, Jews, Protestants, atheists, Buddhists, and I think at least one Catholic. There were no fights, there was no hate, there was a lot of love and maybe a little alcohol. It was middle-ground and a wonderful place to be.

I continue to walk the line between the two worlds. I converted to Catholicism but this weekend am going to my gay relative’s wedding. I cannot listen to Chic-Fillet lovers or haters because with all the screaming I can hear nothing clearly. What I do hear is God shouting desperately, “love your neighbor!” and that’s what I’m trying to do.  The middle is more than a political middle or a place between right or left, it is the place where I can see God in you and you can see God in me. Check it out sometime.

10 thoughts on “Where’s the LOVE?

  1. I had similar feelings in college, not so much putting me in the middle, but I often felt like my lefty college friends were off on the least helpful stuff while my more conservative friends and family often shocked me with their comments.

  2. I quickly realized how to work the system and write “politically correct” papers and make “politically correct art” to get the A’s I needed for my GPA.

    I had a similar experience during grad school at a Catholic University.

    As for the culture wars… Nobody likes them. The sensationalism that the media hypes tends to polarize people more, and more. My personal feeling on the matter, however, is that we need to evangelize the culture. But whatever we do, as the Gospel teaches, we must do it with love. As Augustine put it Dilige et quod vis fac. (Homily 7 on the First Epistle of John). The whole homily is worth reading. It drives the point home: Whatever you do, praise, scold, teach, obey, work, pay… do it with love. Thanks for the reminder.

  3. I’ll be the first to admit it can be easier to be in the middle. I don’t always feel qualified to evangelize so I’m glad there are people like you to do so. I will look at that Homily. Thanks for your help.

  4. Amen sistuh! I love your blog! This one really touched me because I’m a Democrat (yeah, I said it) married to a Republican and I’m also a Catholic and he’s a Baptist who happens to attend church with me more than he goes to his own church (just don’t tell his mama). We respect each other enough to never let our beliefs become an issue. There are some members of my family (ok, all of them) who are staunch conservatives and only see black and white, absolutely no gray so there’s no point in arguing my side…I don’t even try. On the other hand, I DO see both sides, most of the time, so I describe myself as a fence straddler and I’m very happy there…so thank you for your blogs…keep em coming!

  5. An excellent post, covering lots of issues: I too have experience in having to find the ‘middle’ and sometimes it’s really mind-numbingly difficult making decisions.
    I’d like to comment on this:
    ‘I continue to walk the line between the two worlds. I converted to Catholicism but this weekend am going to my gay relative’s wedding.’
    As a Christian in this secular world we live in I don’t think there’s space for us to walk in ‘in the middle’. It’s becoming more and more necessary to stand at the start line, ready to compete with conviction; quietly ready to withstand the difficult questions and perhaps snide and derogatory remarks from those ignorant of the Truth. By doing this, we can get others to think about our decision, enquire and respect us for our conviction (or not). We need to stand firm.
    I ABSOLUTELY relate to the position you’re in, but I know that I would not have attended the wedding. (I am not ready to share the reasons why I an able empathise with you, but can say that I totally understand your predicament in this situation).
    Our Faith gives us clarity and direction. It points undoubtedly True North. It’s tenants can be relied 100%.
    I am eager to read of your experiences, more especially your emotional experiences at the wedding.

    1. Thank you for taking the time to talk to me about this. I felt it was necessary to be honest about where I stand– as a new catholic I struggle with certain issues and obviously this is one. I pray for more understanding.

      1. As a cradle -Catholic I struggle with the challenge of issues and I too struggle with the ‘bigger’ issues very close to home. Your honesty is commendable and the perfect springboard for constructive and open discussion for Christians at any stage of their Journey. Sharing encourages thinking, growth and reaching for more.
        I stand with you as a Pilgrim.

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