“Be the change you want to see in the world.” I have heard this phrase many, many times. I have no idea who said it (Gandhi maybe??) – I know I could find out with a ridiculously fast google search, but I don’t really want to – or need to for that matter. All that matters are the words and I know what each of the words in that sentence mean.
Be – To exist; to live. Be is the very essence of who we are. Be is an action. It means you are doing something. I am, I was, I have been, I am being. It’s also not something you have to do alone. We can all be. We can all exist in so many ways.
Change – To make different; to transform. Do you know how difficult this little word is? A caterpillar has to fight and struggle to become a butterfly – it doesn’t just happen overnight. This is monumental stuff. That six letter word is one of the hardest tasks in the history of tasks. Think about some of the ways you can change: you can change your heart, your mind, your attitude; these can be wonderful things, but none are easy – there’s a level of sacrifice involved.
Want – to desire; to yearn. Want is probably a word you hear all the time. You want a drink, your child wants a cookie, or your dog wants a treat. Want can become mundane, but desire – desire is special. Something you desire is something you want from the very depths of your soul.
See – To perceive, or more deeply, to discern. Think about this word as more than what you do with your eyes. When we discern, our eyes are only a part of it. To discern is to understand – to know.
World – the earth, and all the people, animals, plants and things in it. Now this is a big one. Think about how much space you occupy in your house at any given moment and about how much space your house occupies in your town, your town in your state, your state in your country, and now your country in the world. The space a single person occupies is so insignificant that it is immeasurable – the world is just that huge.
With a little word play, “Be the change you want to see in the world” becomes “Exist to be the transformation you desire to know in this giant place we call Earth.”
As I sit here thinking about everything that has changed in the last week, it gets to be somewhat overwhelming. I decided to start writing this blog on a whim because Facebook posts were not enough to contain all the words I had, and now there are over 300 people a day reading those words. I’ve always had a lot of words, but now, I have a cause. I have something worth fighting for – worth changing for.
This change has not been easy. If a caterpillar can’t break through its cocoon, he dies. It’s not the transformation that kills him, it’s the inability to leave the safety of the familiar and comfortable world he created. Like the caterpillar, I’ve had to break out of my cocoon. My cocoon wasn’t made of silk though; it was made of fear, complacency, and social blindness. My emergence has had a mostly positive reaction. I’ve been getting a dozen or so Facebook friend requests and messages everyday from strangers who identify with my words; that’s the good part – the easy part. I imagine it’s how the butterfly feels after his emergence as he shows off his new wings and bright colors to the world for the first time. This is where the caterpillar analogy starts to break down because his is a change that all of his little insect friends expected – mine was not.
When I get new messages, either here on WordPress or on Facebook, my phone makes a noise. That noise has started causing a bit of anxiety. So much so that I’ve started giving my phone to friends to pre-screen the message, or just delete it if I know it’s going to be antagonizing. I’m not afraid of confrontation, but I don’t want this to make me have bad feelings toward people. People challenging my views isn’t what bothers me. What bothers me are the people who send me messages damning me to hell or telling me that I’m not a real Christian anymore because of my transformation. Not one of these messages have come from a stranger; they are coming from people I know – multiple people from different stages and places in my life. I know this has been shocking to some and I have lost some people who were at one time very important to me, but that is a sacrifice I have to make.
As I said earlier, change comes with sacrifice. I am willing to make this sacrifice to stand up for what is right. If my words can make even one person see that there are people being hurt by others in our country – it’s worth it. If my words can encourage others to speak up when they see hate toward another person – it’s worth it. It’s worth it because in order for this to become a better world, I have to be a better human and part of that is not being silent. What we have now is a country full of hate and distrust and the only way that is going to change is by each person making a decision to fight that hate with every word and every action. I am being the difference I want to see in this world and I’m not going to stop.
My call to action is simply this: stand with me. Stand with me to fight racism. Stand with me to fight sexism and misogyny. Stand with me for our LGBT friends, our Hispanic friends, our Muslim friends. Stand with me for all the people who are, rightfully so, too afraid to stand for themselves. Stand with me against hate of all kinds. Let’s stand together in love, inclusion, and peace because that’s the only way that we are going to stop all the bad things that are happening all around us.