This morning, I woke up to the sound of rain. I knew it was coming and wasn't surprised, but I still just snuggled down into the covers and listened to it for a while – drifting in and out of that half-state where the mind is free to travel wherever it wants to go. I was reluctant to get up and get things started – content to just be in the moment. I could see the glass in the window was foggy, and the view outside was blurred.
I rolled over and pulled the covers up over my hand, blocking out the morning light. As I listened to the rain, I thought about the rain washing away the new layer of pollen that had covered everything over the last few days, although it was a lighter blanket than the week before. I thought about the things I need to get done today, and I thought about the last week and what the new week might promise.
Yesterday was a trying and frustrating day. It seemed everything I did was more difficult than it should have been. Some days are just like that I suppose. Nothing was wrong, specifically. I 'd made pretty good progress over the last few days. Book One (Done Rubbed Out) is now in the hands of the publishing channels and I'm waiting on notification that it's available on Amazon, Kindle, Nook and Kobo. Book Two ( Hard Job) is in the final stages and I have exchanged drafts and ideas back and forth with my wonderful cover designer, Kathy LaLima. As soon as that's finished, I'll be charging ahead with the many never-ending administrative tasks needed to get a book into the hands of the readers. I really didn't have much to complain or fret about. But still, my day was blanketed with a feeling of being buried under the covers with a curious reluctance to move forward.
A lot has happened over the last week. HB2 (north Carolina) has come under a lot of criticism, and major corporations, activists, actors, directors, composers and writers have clearly stated their disgust with this new, discriminatory legislation, and many are taking direct action that will ultimately have an economic impact. Ironically, yesterday was the designated Day of Transvisibility, designed to improve awareness and foster understanding of the Transgender community. Valiant and brave members of that community have been fighting this battle for many years, and I'm privileged to number a few of them as friends and colleagues.
It wasn't always that way. I – like many others – had a hard time understanding the Transgender community. I struggled for years until I finally realized I didn't have to understand. I just had to accept them as unique individuals with the same rights and needs as the rest of us. I would probably never understand their struggles, but I do know it's ironic that as a gay man in the south, I have more rights than they do, and live in less fear and worry. Letting go of my need to understand and learning to just accept led to better vision, and the ability to not only see, but to learn. Accepting is always a good start.
This week also saw the rise of new rhetoric from the two leading Republican candidates for President. The idea that a woman should be criminalized for making a decision about her own body is not a new one, but I'm horrified at the thought that once again a group of people are trying to turn back the clock. I wish I could say it it unbelievable, but unfortunately, it's almost expected at this point.
And around the world there were more attacks of religious or extremist terrorism, and additional prosecution and marginalization of minority groups.
What these all have in common is they are born out of fear, ignorance, and an obstinate refusal to accept – much less understand. You can't do that if you're afraid, or if you have a mindless desire to control the things around you.
After I finally crawled out from under the covers this morning, I learned that the husband of a former co-worker had passed away, after years of fearlessly fighting his battle against illness and pain. Even though it has been a couple of years since we've been in contact, my heart still broke for this family, and I know they have a long road ahead before they can accept that a much-loved part of their life is now gone. They may never really understand.
I find myself wondering how many people I run into on a weekly basis need a little bit of acceptance and understanding. We all see these people at the grocery store, or the gas station or at an event we attend. Sometimes we're irritated by something they've done or something they've said. For the most part, they're simply blurry to us and not really seen. It is tempting to brush them aside, ignore them, or take offense at something they've done while we are standing behind them in a check-out line.
My wonderful sister-in-law, who has fought her own courageous battles, has a saying. As a matter-of-fact, she posted it again just this morning, and the timing was perfect. It goes something like this: " Be kinder than you need to be to the people around you. You never know what personal battle they're fighting."
All of the people we encounter have their own story. Many of them simply want to be seen clearly for a moment through the blur of life. Some just want to be acknowledged. All of them have battles they're fighting, and some of those battles are inconceivable to me. All of them have times when they pray for acceptance, and perhaps, eventual understanding. I know I do.
How many of them wonder what the next day, or next week might bring? Some are hopeful and some might be afraid. If we could really see past the layers and through the foggy window glass, we might find that most of them are just like us, and some days would give anything for a moment of time spent under a warm, comfortable nest of blankets, listening to the sound of rain.