My husband and I recently attended a memorial service for a friend of a friend. Sadly, I get out so rarely, that I sometimes mistake a wake for happy hour. It’s bad. I float around and shake hands and hug and air kiss like I’m running for office. Wheel in a mini-bar and it’s my best night ever. Except there’s a casket.
At any rate, I was having a conversation with an acquaintance, and not a very close acquaintance, or he would’ve known better than to spark two out of the four inflammatory conversational sore spots for me: same-sex marriage and bigotry. The third and fourth are the president and aspartame; two different talk-show topics and a whole lotta therapy at a later date.
He was making a joke about someone who was attending the wake. I will not dignify the conversation by repeating it here, but it was so offensive I turned on my heel and left him stuttering in mid-sentence. I said to my husband: “What a moron. Let’s go …” (Except I prefaced “moron” with fancy, offensive adjectives.) Nancy was sad, because he also enjoys a good wake. We really, really need to schedule more date nights.
I stewed about it all the way home. I punctuated my derision with expletives and air finger-pointing. I yelled at Nancy, and he had no idea why. But I had to yell at someone. And he is right there. When I get really worked up over anything, his pat response is always: “Relax, lady. It has nothing to do with you!”
He is wrong.
I am offended on behalf of all my friends, and really, all people who live a lifestyle that is different from a good portion of our local population. It unhinges me. It angers me. I want to punch a wall. One made from dry wall, not plaster. I’m outraged, not stupid.
When I hear someone malign another human being, or a group of human beings, for nothing more than being different from the status quo in just the smallest way, I feel hopeless.
I have worked my entire shift as a mother teaching my children that there’s no difference in the kind of love one person shares with another. It needs to be kind, respectful and reciprocal. It needs to be given freely and allowed to flourish. It needs to be appreciated.
Never, ever did I think that in their lifetime, human beings would be punished or killed for loving someone who shares the same anatomy. I thought in this decade, as my children grow into adults, one would be accepted simply based on what they offer the world, not the love they share.
At the 2016 Tony Awards, Lin-Manuel Miranda, the star of “Hamilton,” condensed pieces of an English sonnet when speaking about acceptance of all humankind. He said: “Love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love; it cannot be killed or swept aside. Now fill the world with music, love and pride.”
Even our Pope has asked: “Who am I to judge?” Indeed. And who are you to judge?
Listen, Kermit married Miss Piggy. I mean that is a mixed coupling if there ever was one, yet, it works and none of the other Muppets think its unorthodox, or different or wrong. It’s fabulous! And colorful.
Black and white, men and men, men and women, women and women, orange and blue and green and pink mixed together upon the palette of life. It creates something: It creates equality; it encourages tolerance, and it should organically build a better human race.
Love is love is love is love. Learn it. Live it. Teach your children. Live and let live. Be like Kermit.
Maria Jiunta Heck, of West Pittston, is a mother of three and a business owner who lives to dissect the minutiae of life. Send Maria an email at [email protected]