My nephew only lived 16 days, but his life changed me forever. This story is about how I choose to honor his life with kindness.
Tommy actually ordered one of those hats. Yes, that hat! The hat with absolutely no style. You know the one. The one in bright red that has a meaningless political slogan on it. Except, Tommy’s hat is in camo. Yes, a camouflage political hat. And he’s pretty damn proud of it, as he says.
“So, are you Pentecostal?”
After almost 3 decades of Sunday’s spent within the four walls of various charismatic denominations, that question still squeezes my stomach into knots and induces awkward laughter befitting a pubescent boy talking to his crush. Mainly because the question is accompanied with a look of disgust, followed by a litany of questions to point out that I am, basically, a heretic.
When asked about sexual harassment in the workplace as it might pertain to his daughter, Donald Trump said, “I would like to think she would find another career or find another company if that was the case.” So Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, a very wealthy and educated woman, could just quit and find herself another job but what about the rest of us? Most women can’t as easily quit and find gainful employment. What about single moms, or poor women, or elderly women who can’t go without a paycheck for any length of time?
I have found a virtual community, via Facebook and this blog, which expresses love in a way like I have never experienced before. It’s a place where everyone is accepted – regardless of station in life, gender, sexuality, chosen religion or any other differences. A place where seeking healing from brokenness is celebrated. Where friendships are born in an instant. Where life is messy and grace is abundant.
I have found freedom in a way I cannot otherwise explain. Through reaching out during some incredibly dark moments, I found grace, peace, and a lack of judgement.
My daughter passed away five months ago after a three year battle with a one of a kind brain cancer. That does something to your soul. To every aspect of your life, if we’re being honest. To say that I’ve lost faith is inaccurate. To say that I have completely unwavering faith – also somewhat inaccurate. To say there are days I’d kinda like to punch God in the face – accurate! To say I have so many questions, and no clue how to navigate them – completely accurate.
Although mistakes are a natural part of growing and learning, they were forbidden in my house. The only thing I learned to associate mistakes with was pain. If I got a low grade, I got yelled at. If I laughed at the dinner table, I was spanked. If I stayed at the neighbor’s house too long I was grounded. I wholeheartedly knew that my parents weren’t perfect, yet they expected us to be. What I didn’t understand at that time was, why?