Tag Archives: Life’s Lessons

It’s no Fairytale: Have Courage and Be Kind

Have Courage and Be Kind-10

Did you happen to see the latest rendition of Cinderella starring Lilly James?  If not, I highly recommend it.  I know it’s just a fairytale, but the messages it shares is golden.   I must warn you – it’s not a musical so don’t expect the mice to break out in song.

Cinderella’s beloved mother suddenly takes ill and in her final moments with her daughter she utters the simple formula for happiness, “Be kind and have courage and all will be well.”  Up to that point, being kind was second nature to Cinderella – it was a gift she inherited  from her mother.  But  to be kind to people who were intentionally cruel would take courage and soon be put to the test.

You know the story – she endured. She turned the other cheek. She went to the Ball. The clock struck twelve.

And…

With ash smeared face, straggly hair and raggedy dress, Cinderella gathered courage as she approached the prince to try on that legendary glass slipper. The narrator, her fairy godmother turns to the audience and asks, “Would who she is really be enough?”  She had no magic to help her this time – she was on her own to shine.  It was perhaps the greatest risk of all. “To be seen as you truly are.

Aren’t we all covered in ash?  Don’t we all struggle with varying levels of doubts, insecurities and self worth?  Do we question if we are good enough?  Do we have the courage to take the risk of showing who we truly are?  Do we acknowledge our infinite worth with gifts and talents that make us unique and genuine?

Recently a friend posted a photo of herself on Facebook, with permission I share; “This may seem like your ordinary gym mirror selfie. But to me it marks Day 1 of facing my fears. The gym. For me the gym is a scary place where I’m judged and embarrassed. But more than that, it’s a place that triggers me. It triggers what I’ve been suffering for years …..an eating disorder.

Going to the gym defeats me thinking I’m not getting where I want fast enough. It makes me think I’m not good enough. I hate seeing my reflection, or the body types I wish I was. But today is a fresh start. …..Today is Day 1 of learning to love myself.”

I am proud of my friend for her courage to be real and vulnerable.

Do we believe that if others knew our worst actions, our ugliest thoughts, our embarrassing secrets, and our weird habits that no one will like us?

Look in the mirror and repeat after me;

“You are more important than your mistakes – you are worthwhile, valuable, and useful.”

Thomas S. Monson spoke on having courage in the April 2014 LDS general conference,  “Courage is needed—the courage to say no when we should, the courage to say yes when that is appropriate, the courage to do the right thing because it is right.”

The following April in 2015, Dieter F. Uchtdorf  spoke On Being Genuine.  “…If Jesus Christ were to sit down with us and ask for an accounting of our stewardship, I am not sure He would focus much on programs and statistics.  What the Savior would want to know is the condition of our heart.  He would want to know how we love and minister to those in our care, how we show our love to our spouse and family, and how we lighten their daily load.  And the Savior would want to know how you and I grow closer to Him and to our Heavenly Father.”

prince-putting-on-glass-slipper

Beneath the smudges of ash, beyond the raggedy clothes – the glass slipper fits – because YOU are enough.

 

A Follow Up to A Very Real Matter: Same-Sex Attraction

It’s only been two weeks since I held my breath as my finger hovered over that publish button to “A Very REAL Matter: Same-Sex Attraction”.  My stomach ached as I dug even deeper, to muster additional courage to share to Facebook and Twitter.  Fear of how the public would react to my son’s vulnerability and to my motherly plea to the world to reinvest in kindness.

The response has been over-whelming. Our inboxes inundated with positive emails, messages and phone calls, along with a long stream of comments beneath the many social media shares.  We thank you from the bottom of our heart for your kind and supportive messages, your openness, AND for sharing the video and post with others.

(If you have no idea what I am talking about, STOP and take a few minutes

to watch the video and original article.)

The message we had hoped would shine through was validated with comments such as…

“Thank you so much for sharing this video. It touched our hearts, and we cried all the way through it. This is exactly our son’s story as well. We are learning everyday as a family. Thanks for your words and lessons. It has helped so much!!!”

“I agree that whether we agree or disagree with same-sex attractions, we can ALL be kinder and more compassionate about it.”

“Wow. I was deeply touched AND educated. Thank you to you and Sean for taking the time to open up about this subject. I needed the lesson on being less judgmental and more loving.”

A great number of the responses mirrored my son’s story having received an outpouring of  love, empathy and compassion. Others experienced  rejection, and still others live in fear of telling their parents, or sharing their secret with anyone.

Hundreds thanked us for helping them see things in a different perspective.

One father confessed,  “I haven’t spoken to my gay son in four years.”  He humbly added,  “I can see I have been doing it wrong.”  He committed to send his son a text that simply said, “I love you”.

Bullseye! That was our intention!

It’s rewarding to hear that hearts are healing, families reuniting and lives being saved.  It’s a start.

Some people questioned the need to even have this discussion asking, “Why would anyone not accept a person just because of their sexual orientation?”

Another person confessed, “I was brought up to believe you only accept gays if they do not act upon their desires.”

I must confess…

I cried as I read the many heart-wrenching emails that claimed they had often gone to bed crying and pleading with God to please not let THIS be their challenge. Praying “Please take my eye sight, my hearing, my legs, ANYTHING in place of being gay.”

Heart wrenching.

The most common patterns I noticed within the mass of emails were… 

1) The internal conflict between their natural feelings they did not choose, and their religious beliefs.  Leaving them wondering, “Does God love me?” 

2) The most difficult step seemed to be admitting to him or her self that number one, this was not going away, and number two, this was a real part of who they were.

Then REAL fear steps in…

 “Who do I tell?  Do I tell my parents? HOW do I tell my parents? How will they react?”

And the biggest fear of all – “What if they reject me?”

This leads to the next big dilemma…

Is it okay to date someone I am attracted to, or do I continue to date someone of the opposite sex to appear normal?  Do I live a life of celibacy? Is it possible to meet someone of the opposite sex who will marry me?

Many emails (too many) contained confessions that ending their life seemed like the best and only option. And many shared they had already attempted to take their life.  No one should feel ending their life is their only or best option. Never. Ever.

It was heartbreaking to read the many emails from parents and gay young men and women who expressed they had become disillusioned and angry with God and many claiming to be atheist.

                 I wish I had a magic wand to calm the hearts of those who live in fear of telling their parents or sharing their secret with anyone, fear of  disappointment and of being rejected. 

The happiest and most positive emails were from gay young men and women who believed in God and had loving family support. 

The happiest expressed gratitude in having parents who loved them unconditionally. Just knowing their parents loved them seemed to make a huge difference.

My heart is full and I fight back the tears. I never imagined this is what I would learn and experience when I pushed that “publish”. But I am grateful. Grateful to know that hundreds and perhaps thousands now know they are not alone and they have a friend in me and my son.  My inbox is filled with people who just want to fit in, to be understood and feel loved.

My plea to the world is to reinvest in kindness, compassion and charity. We all could do a little better don’t you think? I know I could.