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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

We Ain't What We Should Be, We Ain't What We Gonna Be, But At Least We Ain't What We Was

Beauty and the Beast, Frankenstein, Phantom of the Opera, Hunchback of Notre Dame, and every Disney story with a frog in it.  All where the character is perceived one way but is very different on the inside.  And all they want is for their "inside" to be seen and understood.

So today all you hunchbacks, Phantoms and frogs rejoice!  I am freeing all of you to embrace who you are and come out from behind the shadows, take the arrows in the back, and be who you are.

This epiphany comes from a feeling that I have to gloss over who I really am in an effort to reach a more diverse audience.  As soon as you reveal a belief, a political view or a religion you are assigned a certain seat in the room.  You cannot get up from that seat nor are you allowed to change seats, and I find that a little scary.  Will people find out who I am, measure me and find me wanting?  Will they ever read my writing again because they find out?  I love people who are just themselves and are secure in order to defy the labels society attaches.

Oxymorons?  I live for them.  Jumbo Shrimp, Gay Republicans, Skateboarding nuns, Feminist-militant mothers of 12, and the Conservative black caucus.  And me...I am a conservative Christian Mormon.

Are you reading this and making judgements about what I "must" be like?

Not so fast....

I am more zen than Phil Jackson
I have more soul than Aretha
I am "greener" than the green people as we built the first residential wetlands in Nevada (or almost anywhere else) right in our front yard.  Every ounce of water from our home, grey and black, goes through a pvc pipe to a series of rocks, gravel and plants.  When it comes out on the other end to a fifty gallon holding tank, it isn't drinkable, but it so clear...not one environmentalist we contacted had any interest in the amazing thing we did...which was to clean water with a system no more complicated than a science project.
My parents and grandparents had a full on casino in their home in Texas in the 50's and 60's.
My mother was married 7 times.
My husband ran a hotel and casino for 25 years

Did you see that coming?

Stereotypes are not fun, they aren't even clever, it's like opening a clear package, no surprises.  It is so much more fun to find that people have texture and layers, they have different viewpoints and
feelings.  Not every feminist is pro choice, not every poet is moody, and not every football fan is a guy (my dad was also a bookie, I spent weekends writing down scores for every football game on TV - this was old school technology) I am a fan.

Why would anyone surround themselves with people who agree with all of your  political views?  Or philosophical ideas.  So boring.  Don't you love a discourse of ideas?  Not like on TV, that is staged warfare meant to make you run into the dark American night, but a real exchange of ideas that educates and not denigrate.   People have reasons for their views...One of my stepmother's friends died from a botched abortion, because of that she was very pro choice.  My father was a staunch democrat who loved to hunt...he would never let anyone separate him from his guns.  Or any candidate.

Yeah stereotypes are boring....stop thinking folks won't like you because of what you believe, unless of course you are wearing a hood, in that case no one will like you.  And that's a hood, not a hoody.

Just a few other things about conservative me,
I don't hate poor people in fact, I volunteer every week and I give to a fund every month specifically designed to help those in my neighborhood.
I am not a homophobe,
I stand in judgement of no one - even those women who wear white shoes before Easter - or even just white shoes.
I believe woman should have the right to vote (that was a discussion the other day when a conservative Christian mentioned women and voting and they were wondering if conservative Christians thought women shouldn't vote)
I think there is a lot of good in Obamacare, and if everyone had participated in the discussion we might have a really good health care act.  But NEITHER side was interested in that.
I do not think the world was created in 6 - 24 hour days.  I think it took as long as it took, as God is the scientist, and after each creative period it was called a day.  Hey rocks took longer than plants, right?  When I look in the face of a baby, witness the body heal and just look up into the heavens I believe a higher being created us all. And that is just fine, it doesn't make me a member of the flat earth society.

Although my church has taken the high road, I think the Book of Mormon musical is a mockery.  When I saw the opening number on the Tony awards of Mormon missionaries in white short sleeve shirts with name tags on,and listened to the words of the song, I cried and then I got really, really mad.  My daughter and 2 sons served missions, I know how hard it was for them.  The musical is mockery and I will never understand how that is entertainment.  Our president was ready to think an Ambassador was murdered over a stupid video...but "musical of the year" mocking an entire group of people is OK?  My church took out advertisements in the playbill that said, "now that you have seen the musical, read the book"  I didn't find the turn off to that high road.

And my sister-in-law asked me why Mormons couldn't eat chocolate on Sundays.


But the best part is she asked me instead of just believing something odd.  My mother didn't do that, she believed Mormons ravaged virgins in the temple.  I can't even make a joke out of that.

People are different and they are fascinating.  Don't you want to get in a room with an Amish family and ask them how they can be so forgiving?  Don't you want to know how Mother Theresa could work in India all those years under such terrible circumstances?  Aren't you curious what Jehovah Witnesses believe in?  Have you ever tracked game with a native American?  I have, and it was life altering.  The love and respect this friend had toward the animals and plants was inspiring.  I loved
attending a Jewish Seder, nothing is happier than a Sunday in a black Baptist Church....and the orchid club!  Have you seen the face of an orchid club member who finally got a Dendrobian to flower?

When I hear political pundits on TV spew the word liberal, or let the word conservative come out of
their mouths as though it was rotten food, I wonder.... how foolish can they be?  Conservatives want 
to starve children?  Liberals want abortion at 9 months?  The pundits just want to keep you mad and worked up...No.  They want us to hate each other and think the very worst.  So many times people have said to me, "You aren't like any Mormon I have ever met"  When they are really saying, I have never really met a Mormon and you aren't what I thought Mormons would be like.  I say the same thing to them every time.  I point to myself and say, "This is what Mormons look like."  The inspirational thoughts I have at my desk are from everywhere.  Erma Bombeck to Marianne Williamson, Buddha to Groucho Marx...people are wise, they are clever and smart.

Good is good wherever you find it, truth is truth wherever you find it, beauty is beauty wherever you find it...if we have eyes to see it, that is.

These are words from a heartwarming scene in Designing Women a million years ago.  Miss Minnie, a woman dying in the same hospital where Charlene is having a baby.  Miss Minnie was a 100 years old and she spoke eloquently of her life and the 20th Century.  There was one thing she said that stayed with me all this time.

We Ain't What We Should Be,
We Ain't What We Gonna Be,
But At Least, We Ain't What We Was