The deafening silence of friends


Once upon a time on the planet Myrth, in the proud State of Secksas, the largest and loudest of all the States of The Union, the freest country on Myrth, in the city of Bootson, the third largest city in The Union and the home of many of the leaders of all of Myrth, there was born and raised a girl whose deepest desire was to serve God as an ordained priest of the church that nurtured her. Her name was Humility.

Humility always wanted to do the right thing. Putting others’ desires ahead of her own, she happily did what was expected of her — went to college, graduated, got a good job, rose in the ranks, was a dutiful daughter, sister, friend, and — by all accounts — an exemplary citizen. For decades, Humility never made a wave.

In the middle of her life, Humility woke up one day and said, “I have been faithful to the expectations of everyone around me, but I have not been faithful to myself or my God. I believe I have been called to ordained ministry — I have always believed this — and now that I am older, stronger, and wiser, I must pursue my call.

Humility’s parish was honored to have her begin her journey with them. At the behest of their bishop, they formed a committee to help discern whether Humility’s call was authentic, and after many months, they wrote a glowing report saying that any parish led by Humility would indeed be a blessed one. And then they became sad because in order to continue her dream, Humility would have to leave the State of Secksas and move to another diocese. Although two-thirds of all the bishops in The Union would gladly ordain someone like Humility, the Bishop of the Diocese of Secksas would not ordain a “non-celibate homosexual.” She could say that she didn’t make love, but Humility thought that beginning her journey toward God’s ministry with a lie was probably not a good idea, especially since God himself had made her that way.

So Humility left her aging parents, her girlfriend, her extended family, her friends, her church, her community, and life in the only place she had ever called home, and journeyed to a far-away city to pursue her call. And many mourned and many cursed, and all cried bitter tears at the unfairness because in order to serve God, Humility had to leave everyone who loved her.

That night, Humility’s girlfriend, Patience, fell asleep in a chair. After midnight, she awoke and, realizing that there was no longer anyone there to wake her up to go to bed, she cried.

The next morning, Patience woke up feeling impatient. “Our friends and family say that they believe we are all the same, but do they tell others? Do they insist that their bishops and politicians and bosses stop discriminating based on who someone loves? Do they vote to help us become equal or excuse our issues as irrelevant? Do they realize that what they sometimes call ‘tolerance’ is back-handed judgment? Now that Humility has been effectively run out of town, with Patience likely to follow, will the people who love us commit to telling the truth about what they believe and become leaders by example? We must all be the change we seek to affect in others.”

Patience asked these questions and wondered if, by asking them aloud, her friends would understand that she and Humility and other people like them, need to hear their voices. Because, as Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

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Copyright © 2010 Alice Melott

This essay and others can also be read by joining http://www.facebook.com/alicethewriter.

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  1. #1 by Alex on January 10, 2010 - 2:59 pm

    “The great secret of morals is love.”
    Percy Bysshe Shelley  (1792-1822)

    The only difference between animals and humans is the ability to love. Unfortunately, not all humans understand or use their gift. Consider what the world would be without love and dream what it would be with.
    Alex

  2. #2 by J Roy on January 10, 2010 - 4:33 pm

    Wow. I’ve always believed that Humility and Patience walked hand in hand. And that ignorance is just a step above stupidity. Hopefully, the new mayor of the fourth largest city in the US will help some others open their eyes to see beyond their own comfort levels. My prayers and wishes are with Humility……and Patience.

  3. #3 by peggy tuthill on January 10, 2010 - 5:00 pm

    You made me cry. the hypocrisy of the whole situation is difficult for me to understand and deal with. The rules have changed alot in my lifetime. Understanding And tolerance for people of different races & sexual orinintation has taken some giant steps. Fear causes intolerance. We need to be diligent about understanding our differences Peggy

  4. #4 by Ron on January 10, 2010 - 5:11 pm

    Forgive me if my voice has not been enough.

  5. #5 by Jen Hurst McIntyre on January 10, 2010 - 5:28 pm

    Bless you for not remaining silent Alice.

  6. #6 by Judy on January 10, 2010 - 5:29 pm

    Tolerance is just another word to hide behind and continue to be silent, yes, judgemental. I’m learning to be more Brave, Courageous and Vocal. It is wrong for Humility not to be able to do what she is called to do and it is sad for Patience not to be able to wake up with her loved one.

  7. #7 by Mary Lee on January 10, 2010 - 5:44 pm

    May we all realize and recognize in our lifetimes, that we are all one with eachother and one with God. There is no separation – except when we turn away from God and eachother and turn to fear.

  8. #8 by Debra on January 10, 2010 - 9:54 pm

    “Be the change you wish to see in the world,” said Gandhi. Like the ripples emanating from a pebble when dropped into a pond, the actions of one can change the world.

  9. #9 by MaritaBeth on January 11, 2010 - 1:53 am

    Oh my goodness, how I enjoy reading what you write. Thank you for your voice.

  10. #10 by chris on January 11, 2010 - 10:18 am

    The word “judge” is used over 700 times in God’s word…the bible. Peggy is right. Fear causes intolerance. We are to love ALL the way Christ so loved the church. It is scripture.
    Ignorance is innocence – stupidity comes with experience.

    Humility and Patience- “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love” Ephesians 1:4

    Both would be missed tremendously if one follows the other.

    Your friends hear.

  11. #11 by Gayle on January 15, 2010 - 2:38 pm

    Humility and Patience are in my thoughts. There is nothing fair about the situation. I can only hope that they find a way to melt the distance between them. And know that given a chance my voice will be in your corner.

  12. #12 by Nancy on July 6, 2012 - 12:26 pm

    dear alice — i loved reading this although it brought me to tears. i have know and
    loved humility since she was 13 and she has carried me down a road i never knew
    existed and certainly not one i expected to travel. she is one of the finest women
    i know and i have always felt that. i am so glad that you are a part of her life now.
    blessings to you both.

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