Which Side of the Street Do You Live On?


Do you know who you are? 


Has this phrase become “a thing” in recent history? It seems as though I’ve seen it used as a theme in television shows, internet memes, video clips, and blog entries. Did I miss the do you know who you are boat?

When I was in Guyana, with limited access to the internet and ample time to journal, reflect, and think, this phrase used to run across my brain. As I traversed the difficulties of living in a new culture, I had plenty of opportunity to assess how I was dealing with the trials of being far from home and of being a stranger in a strange land. Did I know who I was?

As the year wore on, as I gained a better understanding of what day-to-day life was like for the people I was falling in love with, I thought more and more of how I was ‘doing.’ Was I good at living in Guyana? Was I making the most of the experience, siphoning meaning from each moment to carry back to America with me by the time the summer rolled around?

In my most recent entry, I discussed a pit stop I made in Topeka, Kansas in the summer of 2014. There, I stopped by both the Westboro Baptist Church and the Equality House. One exuded love, the other, hate. You could feel the energy off of both properties, located directly across the street from one another.

It didn’t occur to me until I was trying to piece together this blog entry that this little street in Topeka, Kansas is quite the metaphor for my life. Especially my life right now.

I’ve had to dig deep lately–ask myself which side of the street I’ve been living on, which side of the street I’d like to be living on. Only one of these houses has the capacity to invite a friend or a stranger inside. Only one of them has the ability to leave a person feeling more than when they stepped over the threshold. In my recent struggle to sort a couple of emotional tiffs out in my life, I turned to these simple photos I took two years ago:

Planting Peace.
“God hates America.”

There are Equality Houses and Westboro Baptist Churches all over the world. And boy, is it ever easy to get sucked into the energy of the latter. You could be going about your day, traipsing around with a smile on your face and then BAM, someone sucker punches you with their loveless-ness unexpectedly. The trick there isn’t to move into their negative energy, to allow them to drag you down. That, sadly, may be just what they want, and we  can’t be getting into the business of appeasing the WBC. Instead, we have to counter act the hate, counter act the florescent protest signs, high fences, and grotesque verbiage. We need to build Equality Houses wherever we go, we need to fly our flags high, paint our walls rainbow, pound some welcome signs onto our green lawns. This is the kind of stuff that will make a little difference in the world. These are the candles that we can light in the night instead of cursing the darkness.

LGBT people are continuing to expand the universe’s understanding of love.

I’m going to be an Equality House. Come over whenever you’d like.

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