It’s funny how something that seems so little to some people can be such a big deal to another…
When I go for a long time without seeing some of my friends, it is not out of the ordinary for us to greet each other with a hug. Honestly, I am not sure I know exactly the significance of that greeting hug, but I have no problem with it, and many times am happy to get it. But it is like there is something accepting about a hug.
I know it can be a sign of welcoming in some cultures, so maybe that is the purpose behind it when I am reacquainted with my friends, but I don’t know. I like to think in a strange way, it is a sign of love and appreciate for getting to see that person again. It is an acceptance of that person in a way.
…just go with me on this one…
And for me, those reuniting hugs have grown in significance….
If you have shared something that you were not sure how it would be taken or experienced by others, you know the significance of acceptance, and you know the importance of “the little things.” If you’ve ever had to reveal “a big secret” about yourself before, you can appreciate the importance of those reuniting hugs.
My “coming out” experience was with my agnostic views. When I went, so to say, public (that means via the World Wide Web…HA!) with my views, there was undoubtedly a worry within me that I could lose some of my friends. And if not that, that it would for sure affect some of my friendships.
Today, I have many blessings to count, but one that stands out to me often is the friends that I have. It’s funny to me that I have yet to find one of my good friendships that have been affected by my disclosure of my religious stance. [Note: I say “good” in reference to friendships there, only because I have one individual who I consider to be a friend that I think might have it out for me because of my non-compliance with church and its functions, but other than that, I could say friendships in general…HA!] From my point of view, I haven’t even got the notion that any of my friends view me in any less of a light because of this, nor do I feel they think they are better than me. It is definitely a blessing to me!
But what’s really funny is how once I disclosed this information, immediately I became more sensitive to accepting gestures…
…being met with a reuniting hug from people that I knew had read my blog and this was my first time to see or talk to them since their reading. Being chatted with on AIM as if nothing was different. Being invited to stay at their houses. Being invited to hangout with them and their groups of friends.
Signs of acceptance can be rather small sometimes, but they are enough to recognize that some level of acceptance does in fact exist…
What’s important to me is to remember that acceptance does not necessarily mean endorsement, agreement, or even approval.
I view acceptance as a sign of love. I believe acceptance should be a greeting for everyone, because I am willing to accept anyone as another human being. I might not agree with everything they say or do. I might not even agree with most of the things they say or do. And in my disagreement, I will most likely not approve of it for my lifestyle or my values or beliefs. So, it would most likely go without saying that I would not endorse it, but even amidst all of that, I can accept the fact that that individual is yet another human being and as deserving of my acceptance of their state of being who they are, as I am of anyone’s acceptance of me being who I am.
I did not ask any of my friends to accept my agnostic view. I certainly didn’t ask any of them to endorse it, nor did I say they even had to agree with it. And if they do not want to approve of it, I enjoy a whole-hearted debate with them about it…HA! But what I did ask of them, though not formally, was for them to accept me as a person. Through there acceptance of me as a person, they could see there was much more to me than my views on religion.
I have a name…
…a name that is referenced when I am invited into conversation.
I have a need to eat…
…a hunger that can be fed when my company is welcomed at meal times.
My having a name and needing to eat are what make me human, not agnostic. Similarly, having names and needing to eat was what made Soulforce Equality Riders who were visiting campuses nation-wide human, not homosexual.
Would you believe it if I told you that the mere gestures of asking these individuals’ their names and inviting them to satisfy their hunger with other human beings was the acceptance that stood out among so much un-acceptance to a group of HUMAN individuals who were facing their seventh attempt to be accepted as human beings?
Yes, it is possible that a higher level of acceptance was being sought through their visits, but I can assure you that no acceptances can bi-pass the beginning level of being accepted as a human being first.
I think many times in life we all just want to be accepted as another living and breathing human being. It is this first sense of love and acceptance that allows use to feel alive.
Maybe we don’t agree based on beliefs. I can accept that. But maybe, just maybe, we can share the same air and walk the same streets and agree to accept that we are all different and just as deserving of being a human as any other being out there.