In my senior year of High School, I had a placement with a organization called (Ontario) Public Research Interest Group ([O]PRIG). They are a grassroots student-based organization committed to struggling for injustices in the environmental and social justice, radical research, community engagement and popular education. At the time, I was completely unaware of how left-sided this organization is, but at that point I was a clueless pagan. I was 18 years old and desperate to graduate from school, and if I could be earning credits while not in a school building – I was in.
Even though I didn’t go onto university, though in an alternate world I would’ve earned my BA and MFA. (useless information – I know!) I was introduced into a world that I was not familiar with, and one that intimidated me. I assume they were all these super smart intellectuals with their heads in the clouds. Not really.
At the time, I was a little starry-eyed because I love information, and this organization was packed with all of what I was interested in at the time like; the environment, health, gay rights and ecojustice, etc… It was right around the time that McMillan Bloedel was clearcutting the temperate rain forests found in British Columbia, in particular, in and around Clayoquot Sound. Being around people who I knew to believe in the same things that I thought to be important was huge for me.
As I got settled in and began pulling together articles and assisting in their newsletter, The Radical Chameleon. I got to know the two women, Sandrine and Judi who ran OPIRG on a full-time basis. They were the only two people who were paid,everyone else like me, was a bonafide volunteer.
Some of the students were in and out, but I remember one who I actually spoke with quite a bit. I think his name was Alex, however his face and his voice are very clear in my memories of him. I’ll admit in the beginning, I was a little apprehensive of him. He expressed himself quite vocally, and was willing to argue with anyone who disagreed with him. Still I had some good chats with him, while he worked on his writing. He was the first person that I knew was a gay man, he didn’t hide it at all. He talked often about his partner. The gay rights activist weren’t as busy as they have been in the last decade and a half, but I was brought up to respect others, and not tell them what they believe isn’t right. Interiorly,I didn’t understand where I stood, but something didn’t sit right in me, yet who I was to say it was wrong…
Fast forward: Friday June 26, 2015. I work half days on Fridays, so I was headed to my last client of the morning. This client normally watches CNN, and while I don’t watch news,or have a TV, the majority of my clients do, and sometimes there are things that I would rather not hear or see. Only in snatches had I heard something about the Supreme Court in the U.S. and same-sex marriage. When I came into my clients apartment, I walked into a situation where some kind decision had been made, and clearly the supporters were joyous and celebrating their victory.
Quickly, I understood that my neighbours across the border were rejoicing because their Supreme Court had made same-sex marriage law throughout their land. No longer in just some states was it legal, but in all fifty states. I felt this deep sadness interiorly, and I kept praying for His mercy to be poured out. I felt this silent outrage at their apparent joy. They believe it is just a matter of time that we’ll(the dissenters) realize that they’re right, or otherwise we’re bigots. Love is just love, right? Most of us don’t even know what or how to love others. I know that I am still trying to figure out how to love others, and my past choices hinders this simple act. We have a choice in how we love, and just because our perspectives may differ that doesn’t mean we can’t still be acquaintanced or even friends.
In a perfect world, it would be a place of changing perspectives, a coming of age for all ages, not just teenagers on the edge of adulthood. The mystery of God doesn’t prevent us from experiencing this, but many of us limit ourselves once we reach a certain point in our lives, and slow down to a halt, we get stuck in routines, and forget that God has a plan for all of us.