Happy Monday, folks!
Here we are experiencing another Monday as we enter into the last week of April.
But as we enter this final week of the fourth month, I can officially say that I’m a fully vaccinated Mr. Sunshine! Yay!
I’m so incredibly grateful and thankful for all of the volunteers that made getting my vaccine possible (and a pleasant experience) at Vaccinate Lancaster.
Typically, I like to be ahead of the game and have my blog posts written and scheduled by the end of the week; however, this week, I wasn’t motivated to write at all.
But something happened to me yesterday afternoon that got me so upset that I knew right away it was what I was going to blog about.
So, here we go.
Yesterday, April 25th…
I was spending some time at my parents having lunch after church and decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather with a 7 mile run on the back, country roads of Amish Country.
It was about 2pm in the afternoon and I was running on West Lincoln Avenue when I saw an approaching truck going a bit slower than the speed limit of 45mph that displays on the signs by the side of the road.
And as the truck got closer, the man in the passenger seat (who I would say looked no older than my age), shouted the word “fag” very loudly in my direction as my feet continued to hit the pavement.
And as I continued to run forward without looking back, I could hear the truck speed up and squeal his tires.
And while I didn’t stumble over my feet at what had just transpired and tried to keep my head held high, I felt defeated inside and started to cry as I continued to run.
And those tears were more than just tears.
They were a symbol of the fact that bigotry, hate, and prejudice are still very much alive and well in our Country…even in the small town of Lititz.
And the year is 2021.
And it is heartbreaking.
The tears dried up quite quickly as I ran back to my parents’ house because of the brisk wind, but the lasting effects of the word that had been shouted at me by that individual were very much alive and well in my mind.
Please understand that I’m not writing this post as a pity party.
In fact, it is the furthest thing from that.
What I’m actually trying to accomplish is for those of you who have blinders over your eyes to peel them off and look out your window.
Take a moment right now as you read this to pause and look out the window…wherever that might be in your current habitat.
Or at least take a moment later in your day to look out the window, but please make sure to take a moment to do so.
And as you gaze out that window, I ask you to look at the world around and realize that it is not perfect and far from it.
And after looking out the window and at the world, go look at yourself in the mirror.
And as you look at yourself in the mirror, take a moment to ask yourself this question:
“Am I enabling the problem or helping to end it.”
While I realize that some of you have never experienced a moment of bigotry, prejudice, or hate (and might never experience one), I need you to understand that it still exists.
Very much so.
For so many people from all different walks of life…not just gay men.
And it is a reality that I have lived in these 33 years of life more than once. More times that can be count on your fingers and toes combined.
And while I hope and pray that we will eventually live in a world where these entities do not exist, I sincerely hope and pray that you will do your best to show love and kindness to everyone you meet and to help bring an end to discrimination and all the elements of hatred that come along with it.
So, as I close out this week’s post, I share this quote that really resonated with me, especially given the moment I experienced yesterday and how I will not allow it to keep me from spreading the love and kindness that I work to spread each and every day as Mr. Sunshine.
“One who is kind is sympathetic and gentle with others. He is considerate of others’ feelings and courteous in his behavior. He has a helpful nature. Kindness pardons others’ weaknesses and faults. Kindness is extended to all — to the aged and the young, to animals, to those low of station as well as the high.” -Ezra Taft Benson
Sprinkle sunshine always,
JP, I am so sorry. I recently was just telling a friend the other day how I have only had that word yelled at me once in my life. But I will never forget that moment on my college campus as I was walking to my car next to the library. It put an awareness in me that I was not always safe wherever I went because of something as simple as my sexual orientation. It made me want to change how I acted to ‘fit in’ more in order to be accepted in this world.
It saddens me that the lack of understanding by others triggers fear instead of compassion, which is the deep rooted reason someone would say such a thing to their fellow mankind.
I’m so sorry this happened, but I think it is so important that you shared this as people who have not walked in your shoes might never realize that this still happens in 2021.
Sending hugs from Nashville. Know that sharing your story make such a big difference and understanding that the reason behind their action has nothing to do with you. It has everything to do with their own pain that they are projecting onto you. Keep spreading sunshine and love because love conquers hate. I truly do believe that.
LikeLiked by 1 person