Stories of love vs. stories of fear and hatred. These days the headlines are filled mostly with the stuff of nightmares, stories that tell you the villains have taken over the world stage. But it’s simply not true. Love and compassion are still the lead players, and they’re better actors. Actually they’re so good that when they do their thing, fear and hatred get pushed off stage into the darkness and lose their hold on the audience. I have a story to tell, one where love and compassion take center stage.
This story starts with a young elementary school boy who was having a hard time at school, but he was holding it all in, telling no one and hiding his pain. You see this boy has two Moms. Two awesome, loving, kick-ass Moms. A couple of the boys on his schoolyard had awakened to this fact and thought they might use this as ammunition against him. So they began to hurl epithets at him. You know the kind— the standard, elementary school “let’s try this on for size” ones: “Lesbians!” and “You have two moms! and that’s weird!” and worse. That kinda thing.
One day, after holding in his hurt and shame for long enough, he finally broke down and told his Moms what was happening. When the asked him why he hadn’t come to them sooner, he admitted it was because he didn’t want to hurt their feelings. He didn’t want them to know others thought bad things about them. Justifiably distraught, they confided in a couple of friends of mine, another awesome set of parents who were saddened to hear that this was happening in their corner of the world, at their school, and to a young boy that they care about.
These awesome people decided to inject some love into the community and went to work. Within a week they had organized and spread the word that a kids gay pride parade would be happening at the local park. A Rainbow Parade! A Love is Love Parade! Their message was simple: Everyone deserves to move through life without being bullied for their differences. They hoped for a turn out of maybe 20 close friends. That Saturday, nearly 100 from the school community showed up. All the kids dressed in bright colors and face paint. They were eager to march, to shout and to twirl. An ice cream truck was ordered. One parent dressed as Rainbow Man- a rainbow caped super hero, who, with the help of his children, ran around sprinkling ice cream cones with rainbow sprinkles.
I heard the boy— the one at the center of our story— was hesitant to participate. It had only been one week since The Orlando Nightclub Shootings. He thought if “bad people” found out about the parade, they might show up and hurt him, and his moms, and his friends. His moms assured him this was a local parade, a small gathering of people they knew. Reluctantly, he came along but kept a low profile and did not make a sign. There were tables set up with poster boards and markers and stickers. He watched as other children made signs and drew pictures. He watched as more and more people spilled into the park, brightly dressed. Happy. Playful. Friends came. Kids he’s never seen before. Dads in rainbow wigs. Just before the march began, he took up a marker and a piece of construction paper. He paused, took a breath and wrote: “My moms are lesbians. That doesn’t make their love different than yours.”
With a brave child. With a heart full of love and a Rainbow Army at his side. This is how love wins. This is how love takes center stage, which is exactly where it belongs.
Share a story of love and compassion and you never know, you might save a life, or you might just save the world.
Do you have a story where love won? I would love to share it, please send it on to firstname.lastname@example.org