I Hear I’m Controversial

Sometimes a part of our truth can be right in front of us and we can’t see it. Case in point: I sheepishly confess that I was utterly entirely flabbergasted this morning when a friend of mine said, “Well, you know you’re controversial, Peter.”  It was, I’ve gathered since talking to others since this morning’s conversation, and enduring everyone’s laughter by the way, a rather prominent deer in the headlights moment for me. I instinctively responded by saying, “Why should equal rights be controversial?”

They are.

I asked them why they think I’m controversial. The theme of their answers was the same. You call out people, companies, agencies, government agencies on their actions or lack of actions. You don’t politically walk on eggs. You are deeply sensitive to all minorities and you don’t hesitate to identify those who persecute them, even when you know it is going to cost you. People know if you see people being mistreated you’re going to say it and name names. One person said, You drag things into the light.

Well, if that all makes me controversial then I’m glad I am. I was recently in a meeting where someone I respect a great deal said part of advocacy is about pushing the envelope.

One person said, Some folks hope you’ll just go away.  Those who hope I’ll just go away are those who through action or inaction support things that deny people their rights.

I know of too many people whose support for minorities like people with disabilities, Gays, Lesbians, blacks, Latinos, Jews, Muslims, Native Americans is cast in lip service and self-aggrandizement. Bad news for these folks. I’m not going away. I can’t. I’m controversial.

My Task

And now, to the writing of it. The telling of it, knowing beforehand that no words get close to the realities of those here and gone from life; those we have loved and love still from the center of our beings, our souls if you will. Yet, it seems to me, to not write about them, write for them, tell others about them, would be an injustice of the heart.

I cannot tell you the glory of an Oak tree by phone or on the page. Nor can I tell you in full measure the exquisite beautiful mystery of the always enchanting morning mist. But I can tell you something, and that is my task.

I cannot possibly tell you or explain in any full and complete measure how a woman hours from me warms my heart and lifts my soul with so much love and comfort I find the experience baffling, wondrous, soaring. So much so I hardly dare to believe it. But I can tell you something and that is my task.

I cannot possible tell you in full accurate detail and scope how it sickens my heart and soul when I see people being treated with hatred because of some aspect of who they are. The damage of this kind of hatred and bigotry is wide ranging. It is aimed at those who are gay, lesbian, disabled, black, Latino, Asian, female, Jewish, Muslim and so forth. But I can tell you something and that is my task.

I think, now, as the memoir pushes to its conclusion and I gear up for the next writing task, I need to and must accept that I can never tell the all of life, just, if I work hard enough, glimpses of it.

And that is my task.