"I hate no one." Those stinging words are included in one of my latest Facebook messages from a nice guy that I traveled with far back in 1982. We traveled the entirety of the United States from Los Angeles to New York and back. We ventured to England, The Netherlands, Belgium and what was then West Germany (any youngsters here have no idea what West Germany is?). You may remember my traveling and singing days with a Christian group called The Continental Singers. And this guy was one of our sound or lighting technicians on my very first tour.
As my life has continued to mature and evolve, I have indeed received friend requests from a variety of folks over the years. It is always those from my church past that concern me. I've been defriended. I have defriended some. I've had messages and chats, I've had emails. And without a doubt they always include some version of the "I don't hate you even though I may disagree with your choices" phrase. It is the new buzz phrase of the very old and tired, "I hate the sin but love the sinner" phrase.
And so yesterday it wasn't all that much of a surprise to hear from. I always send a message back first before approving the friend request just to double check and be positive sure that they know what they are getting in to. I want them fully aware of my politics, my beliefs, and my inability to keep my mouth shut if they get going on silliness or idiotic comments or thoughts. I simply won't listen to antiquated 1975 thoughts in the year 2014. I want them fully on board with my marriage. And I certainly don't want them to be my friend "Even though I may disagree with your choices." Ummm, no thanks. That was in a prior life.
So here is his response to my disclaimer:
"........ let me give you a little background on me. I hate no
one and even though we may disagree on some big and important things it
doesn't mean we can't still be friends. I married my wife 2 years ago
and let me describe my "modern family". Her ex left her after 20 years
of marriage and 2 sons because he decided that he loved a young man 20
years younger than him more than the family he created with her. _____
and _____ have now adopted a 3 year old and _____ and I are the God
parents. We celebrate birthdays and holidays together and while I don't
agree with the choices they make it doesn't keep us from being what we
are, a family. A long time ago for a very intense short time we
walked, talked and lived with 35 others and experienced many wonderful
times. I probably don't agree with you on many things and you won't
agree with me on some things but I hope that we can agree that
friendships formed in our life's journeys deserve to be respected and
cherished. No hate ever here. Disagree at times, probably but that
doesn't make me disrespect you as a person any more than I hope it
doesn't make you disrespect me. Thanks for listening to my rambles as
And my response to him:
"..... And you see ___, I want you to agree on the "big and
important things." The rest of it is crap. But it's the big and
important things like admiring and affirming and 100% agreeing with my
choice to marry my husband of 17 years that I require you to be on board
with. I don't care what choice you make for your ice cream or color of
car. But if you don't join me in my marriage and relationship and
friendship to my husband, then I'm afraid that you're not on board at
all. How would you like it if I told you I wanted to be your friend but
I'm not on board with your choice to marry a female. It would
put quite a damper on things, right? I have quite clearly learned that
there are many folks from my past who make it quite clear that they
don't "hate" me. They tell me that they "tolerate" me. My wisdom has
proved that the difference between tolerance and hatred is nothing more
than a thin, wobbly thread. I don't want to be tolerated. In fact,
I refuse to be. I'm worth far more than that. I love your family's
story. I love that it has taken a turn that you probably could not have
ever dreamed up. I love that. I hope you're open to your story
changing even more. Thanks for listening."
As of this morning, I've heard nothing. Nada. Not a word. I refuse to be tolerated. I refuse to be friends with those who don't like me because I've married a man. Those are no friends at all.