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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

We Are All Connected

I'd like to start this post with a couple announcements.

First, Lady Gaga's single will be released at 7:00 am on Friday, February 11th. Be there.

Next, the announcement was made in my Gender class that David Pruden, the director of Evergreen, will be speaking in my class of 60 people on Thursday. I'm not exactly thrilled about this, but it should still be enlightening. But there will likely be a question and answer period. So, if you have any possible questions to ask him, leave them in a comment and we'll see what happens.

Alright. So today was Gender class. Now that we're getting into the juicy stuff I'll try to post regularly about the goings on in that class.

Today started with the charge that our professor left us with last week. Namely, based on the reality of attraction, shouldn't the standards for gay and straight people be the same. She didn't open it up for discussion, but rather tried to help the class see from a more sympathetic point of view.

"These people don't know why they're born this way," she said. A very strong point made by a BYU professor, but one that I'm sure we'd all agree with. She then asked that the class have more empathy for those of us who are attracted to our own gender. She said that growing up gay in the church is very lonely, and that to live the gospel means facing a life of loneliness, along with denying ourselves love, marriage, kissing, and dating, things they didn't even think twice about.

She concluded by speaking to the class from a psychological point of view. "Empathy is the best predictor of a good outcome in a therapist/patient relationship. You can say that it's wrong as a lay person, but as a clinician, you have to be empathetic. A clinician's purpose is not to criticize. It is to help the patient heal."

I am continually impressed by this professor. She has compassion that is rarely seen on campus. Of any class to be discussing these issues, and to potentially be taking an active role in, I am glad that I am in her class.

It's not where I intended to go with this, but I want to end talking a bit about love. I don't mean in the romantic sense, at least not tonight. But rather, in the sense that we are all members of the human family.

I love the movie "Lady in the Water." I know it received a lot of criticism, and that many people didn't like it. But I loved it. It is one of my absolute favorites. I can't watch it without tearing up. I highly recommend it.

To truly appreciate it you need to look beyond the story itself. It's not about a nymph or a hotel repair man. It's so much deeper. It's about you and me, and the purpose each of us has in coming to earth. Each of us is here to touch someone else, to change someone.

The story is about a water nymph named Story, who has come to our realm to find a certain person, and to be seen by him. All he needs to do is see her, and something in him will change, and he will write a book that will change the future. This man sees her, and is deeply struck. Later, he comes to her and says, "I don't know who you are, but you did something to me. My thoughts... everything became clearer. The fears that were muddling my thoughts just went away. I can hear myself."

She looks him in the eyes and asks, "Do you wish to know your future?" He nods.

"A boy in the midwest of this land will grow up in a home where your book will be on the shelf and spoken of often. He will grow up with these ideas in his head. He will grow into a great orator. He will speak, and his words will be heard throughout this land and throughout the world. This boy will become leader of this country, and begin a movement of great change. He will speak of you, and your words. Your book will be the seeds of many of his great thoughts. They will be the seeds of change."

It is a beautiful scene, full of power and hope.

Later, the man is talking with the nymph again. His book is done.
"You can see things in the future," he says.
"Some things," she replies.
"I have a question to ask you."
"I will do my best to answer it."
"You'll tell me the truth, right?"
And so he begins. "Change doesn't happen, the way you say it's going to happen, without dramatic events that accelerate thinking. I wrote this thing. It might take decades or longer to create a reaction, before it anchors in the consciousness. That's not the type of change you're telling me is going to happen, right?"

She doesn't answer, and he continues.
"I was wondering why he didn't meet me, this leader who's just a boy. If he was so inspired by my words, why didn't he try to meet me."
The camera pans around the corner to her face, full of knowing, and sorrow.
"There's a lot of things in this book people won't like to hear. I'm not anything, you know. I don't think I'm anything special. So I started thinking, 'how's this going to happen? Why are people suddenly going to take me seriously? And why didn't he meet me?' And I thought of how it could happen... Story, I wanted to ask you, is something going to happen to me? Is someone going to kill me because I write this?"


And then her powerful words:

"Man thinks they are each alone in this world. It is not true. You are all connected. One act can one day affect all."

I cannot do this justice in this post. Please, rent this and watch it. Or if you don't want to rent it, we'll have a movie night and watch it. It is such an absolutely beautiful film.

From the first time I saw this, I was struck by that phrase. "Man thinks they are each alone in this world. It is not true. You are all connected."

How often do we go through this life, bearing the burdens of a lonely soul? How often do we weep where no one can see? How many nights do we plead for a brighter day? We walk through crowds of people on the street, on the subway, on campus, everywhere we go. We pass them each, feeling worlds apart from them. Feeling isolated from them. Feeling alone.

But we are not alone.

We need one another. We need to support one another. To strengthen one another, rather than break down or demean. Each of us is a divine creation. We have been granted gifts and talents that make us priceless, of infinite worth. And we were sent to a world surrounded by one another in order to bless and strengthen one another. To work together, to laugh together, to cry together, and to wipe away one another's tears.

We are here to touch one another, to change the world, one heart at a time. To comfort those who are lonely, and to lift those who are in despair.

For we are all connected.


A Gay Mormon Boy said...

That's one of my favorite movies to the degree that Story is my number one choice for a daughter's name.

The reason other people didn't like it is because they went in prepared for one kind of movie and watched another, IMO. It's not a supernatural thriller but a fairytale. Fairytales teach us about the horrors and the wonders of the world through beings not necessarily of this world.

The point you emphasize about us being connected is an essential one for gay Mormons, I believe, because many of us face a point in our lives in which we prepare to be alone. We're taught for years and in patriarchal blessings in particular that we'll have a wife. I personally prepared to live the rest of my life alone because this felt off somehow for me and didn't make sense until I realized I was falling for another man. What followed was a long process of allowing myself to connect with others again-- to depend on and care for others in a way I never had before. I'm still learning.

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