Travel Farther Down

My daughter died 3 months ago. I remember one friend, Beth, brought us a meal not knowing Olivia was dead in my arms on our back porch. Beth smiled and said hi. I watched her face as she looked at ours and realized Olivia was gone. I watched as she traveled FAR down, from every-day to the deepest place of anguish. In one instant, she was there, with us. She didn’t speak another word, and she didn’t have to. I saw it on her face - her expression summed up everything we were feeling. I will never forget Beth’s act of kindness that night. Friends, please listen to this. We’re all sad and outraged at what happened last weekend. But the people who died were more than LGBTQ. They were humans. Each of them was an individual. The individuals were more beautiful than any group they belonged to. I promise, from my own experience, their families don’t need you to be outraged or to speak up. I’ve had to tune out friends who send me links and books about Trisomy. Trisomy is not the enemy. Neither is death. Not even hate. The enemy is Fear. Forget hate - hate is a pawn. And many of the ways we choose to speak out against hate only feed into Fear’s hands, and perpetuate hate. Beth had a split-second to listen to Fear in our kitchen that day. She could have decided not to travel far down with us. She could have decided to do or say something helpful. She chose the harder thing, and in doing so she honored us. Every one of the 50 Orlando victims had a name, a favorite food, an embarrassing quirk. We have to travel farther down. If we want to post things on Facebook, let’s look up those 50 people and talk about who they were - honor their unique beauty. LGBTQ is one part - it wasn’t all of it. I’m so scared that I’m going to forget Olivia. My father-in-law mentioned it to me at her funeral too. “She’s just gone. How can that be?” I remember my response, but I’m still not sure how well I believe it… I want to believe it: She can’t ever be gone. She changed us. We’re still here. So she is still here. So it is with these 50 people. I don’t CARE if the label of their sexual orientation lives on. Whatever. In 50 years we’ll have a new issue to argue about. This isn’t the time for that. Imagine their parents logging onto Facebook to see their children reduced to a sexual orientation. Now imagine their parents, when they raise their heads and all of the dust is settled, looking up to see pictures and stories specifically about their son or daughter - their face - their funny quirks - their best moments - their worst moments - their LIFE. HONOR them. Don’t avenge them. Look - the Church will never get it right. It’s always behind. It’s always slow to change. Stop acting surprised and outraged at something that’s always happened and will always happen. Be mature. Accept it. You don’t have to change someone else. Take that pressure off of yourself. Allow. Let. Then, once you’re bored from no longer having anything to be upset about, look inward and start the only work you’ve been asked to do. Life will flow out of you naturally when you do, and the very change you’re trying to force today will happen naturally tomorrow.


Copy & share: https://nathanpeterson.net/travel-farther-down/

← previous | next →