Last night I had two instances where "walking in someone else's shoes for a split moment" jumped out and punched me in the face. While watching an episode of the new Celebrity Wife Swap - I was instantly thrown into a place of disbelief that pastor Ted Haggard could be on there. (Both for being called a celebrity as well as the numerous jokes that can come to mind when thinking of this man wanting to swap mates.) But as I watched, I found myself saddened more and more by what I witnessed.
I've often said in interviews it was the "Ted Haggards" of the world that inspired me to write Well With My Soul, so I'll admit I have a clouded view of people's ability to live in the truth. And honestly - who am I to judge what is and what isn't his own personal truth. But when I look at the man through the huge grin he plasters across his face; I see pain. Perhaps that pain is from the shame the scandal brought to his family. Perhaps it is looking at his wife and kids daily and having a constant reminder of all he has lost. Or just maybe...maybe it is because he is unable to declare who he is and find peace from that. I'm not questioning the love he has for his wife...I believe he truly loves her. But if only society would allow people to have that love for themselves so they could be honest about who they are and not treat homosexuality as Satan tempting Eve in the garden.
His shoes; not mine.
I can hear people saying "we can live openly as gay men" - but can we? Is it 'safe' for everyone? As much as we see marriage equality making it's way into more states (Yay Hawaii and let's go Washington) - there are still a huge amount of Americans who would love to keep that tucked away in a closet and not be faced with it in their lives.
And the GOP Presidential hopefuls are right there in the thick of it - making same sex marriage an issue every chance they can get. Last night, when Rick Santorum made his speech in Iowa - I found myself planted firmly in his shoes as he quoted C.S. Lewis. "A Friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you've forgotten the words." he went on to say his best friend, his life mate who sings that song when he forgets the words is his wife. What a lovely sentiment. Truly. But is there any reason why he can't change those shoes just once and not understand that is the same love and feelings I have for my life mate? The one who has been by my side for almost 12 years now?
Why can't people stop for a moment and see there are many kinds of shoes in this huge closet we call Earth? Colors, sizes, flats and heels: variety is good. And if it makes you happy to walk in them - if you can find the peace you are looking for...it's not hurting anyone else.