unconditional love

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My mom suffers from schizophrenia. It’s an ugly mental illness that showed its nasty face when I was 15.

Mom became obsessed with the bible, seeking her guardian angel, talking to the Lord, and swore she heard the voice of the Lord telling her to do things, odd things. She would drive with her eyes closed. She would not eat. She would get into battles with the Lord and the devil. She had visible battle wounds. She told me I was going to rot in hell.

My mom was sent to a mental institution the day I found her laying face down & wet in her bed with the shower running on scalding hot. I could not wake her. I had to get to school. I called out for my step dad and he ran over and pulled the pillow out from underneath her head & she shot up, eyes wide open and screamed, “Satan get behind me, Satan get behind me, Satan get behind me.” That’s the day the police took mom away and put her into a mental institution.

Summer came and that meant it was time to visit my beloved father and step mom. I asked my dad if I could move in. My mom was no longer able to take care of me and since my stepfather blamed me for the onset of my mom’s illness, I did not want to return to him.

My dad and step mom saved me. They got me the help I needed. My mom remains medicated to this day, is a breast cancer survivor, a dementia sufferer, & a victim of Parkinson’s disease. We talk weekly. I love my mom. She’s a fragile woman for whom has been through so much. She has a warm heart.

As much as I adore her, our beliefs could not be more different. She is a bible fundamentalist  & my mom completely disagrees with homosexuality. She believes there is something wrong with their souls.

Was chatting with my mom a few months ago and  I mentioned that Hope had dressed James up in a pastel orange  tutu & baby pink ballet slippers. They were doing ballet leaps around the house. I found this hilarious and thought my mom would get a kick out of it. She didn’t laugh. She is pretty flat affect these days and her voice is monotone and lacks inflection. She is very childlike and fragile. After our I love you’s, we hung up.
I got a call a few hours later. I always pick up because mom talks to very few on the phone, as most of her family has gone to heaven. She spoke in a low and very serious tone as she said, “Honey, I have tried to nap, but I just can’t. I just can’t. You know when you mentioned that Hope dressed James up in a tutu and ballet slippers? Well, that’s how it starts, Melissa. That’s how homosexuality starts. That’s how it all starts.”  I started feeling like I was going to break down in tears and so I said, calmly, “Mom, I can’t have this conversation with you, love you, goodbye!”

In a previous conversation with her, months prior, Mom asked, “What would you do if you found out Hope was a lesbian?” I immediately replied, “I would love her, unconditionally.” I had to walk away because the tears began welling up in my eyes, again. I love my children. If Hope said she was a lesbian, so be it. If James said he was gay, so be it. I love my children.

This is how hate starts. This kind of rhetoric is what truly pulls us a part instead of pushing us together. I absolutely can’t talk to my mom, or others, with these limited beliefs. It breaks my heart, as I view it as absolute nonsense & rubbish & gibberish. It’s outdated bullshit. It’s illogical & absurd & irrational thinking.

The God I love, loves:
the rich,
the poor,
the broken,
the put together,
the gay,
the straight,
the hookers,
the drug addicts,
the alcoholics,
the sober,
all races,
all genders,
all political views,
& on
& on
& on.

Love, acceptance, goodness, & everything in between are birthrights. God says so. I am a child of God & so are you. We are loved. You are loved. Our children are loved. Aren’t we to also love our children from a place of absolute acceptance? Unconditional love? Shouldn’t we aspire to be an extension of His love towards others as much as humanly possible?

Days later, after mom had worried & prayed & confided & chatted with a few ladies from church, she left me a voicemail apologizing by mentioning that it was just fine that Hope had dressed James up in ballet slippers and a tutu and danced around the house. These ladies had reassured my mom that this type of behavior is very typical for small children. Thanks for the voicemail, mom, but I already know right from wrong. I don’t need your permission. Love is love is love is love.

My mom is ill & we will never see eye to eye on homosexuality, but I do my best to love her from where she is because I know her heart is in the right place. & she loves me, too, even though we believe very differently.

My kids and I often listen to “Born This Way” by Lady Gaga on repeat. Hope is a huge Lady Gaga fan, as am I. We’re both her little monsters. My kids know the words by heart & we love to sing it on the way to school. It’s pretty amazing hearing my children sing such profound and powerful lyrics. They absolutely illuminate unconditional love. Young children do not have to try to love, they just do. Children are beautiful creatures and we could learn a lot from them. They don’t build walls or discriminate or put labels on others. They do not set limits on who is acceptable to love and who is not. There are no borders. They open their arms to the human race and treat others with kindness. They don’t select who is in or who is out. They love ALL. They love for love’s sake.

Hope asked what the song meant and I explained that it is all about unconditional love. I explained that we all have a heart and we are here to love every single person and we are here to celebrate each other.

I cry every single time I hear this song and I’ve heard hit a million times. & when I saw Gaga perform it so eloquently at the Super-bowl, I bawled my eyes out. Her words repeat themselves in my head, but seeing them on paper is poetry and beautiful words to live by.

“Born This Way”
by Lady Gaga

It doesn’t matter if you love him, or capital H-I-M
Just put your paws up ’cause you were born this way, baby
My mama told me when I was young
We are all born superstars
She rolled my hair and put my lipstick on
In the glass of her boudoir
“There’s nothing wrong with loving who you are”
She said, “‘Cause he made you perfect, babe”
“So hold your head up girl and you’ll go far,
Listen to me when I say”
I’m beautiful in my way
‘Cause God makes no mistakes
I’m on the right track, baby I was born this way
Don’t hide yourself in regret
Just love yourself and your set
I’m on the right track, baby
I was born this way (Born this way)
Oh there ain’t no other way
Baby I was born this way
Baby I was born this way
Oh there ain’t no other way
Baby I was born this way
Right track baby I was born this way
Don’t be a drag, just be a queen
Don’t be a drag, just be a queen
Don’t be a drag, just be a queen
Don’t be don’t be don’t be
Give yourself prudence
And love your friends
So we can rejoice your truth
In the religion of the insecure
I must be myself, respect my youth
A different lover is not a sin
Believe capital H-I-M (hey hey hey)
I love my life I love this record and
Mi amore vole fe, yah
I’m beautiful in my way
‘Cause God makes no mistakes
I’m on the right track, baby
I was born this way
Don’t hide yourself in regret
Just love yourself and your set
I’m on the right track, baby
I was born this way
Oh there ain’t no other way
Baby I was born this way
Baby I was born this way
Oh there ain’t no other way
Baby I was born this way
Right track, baby I was born this way
Don’t be a drag, just be a queen
Whether you’re broke or evergreen
You’re black, white, beige, chola descent
You’re Lebanese, you’re Orient
Whether life’s disabilities
Left you outcast, bullied, or teased
Rejoice and love yourself today
‘Cause baby you were born this way
No matter gay, straight, or bi
Lesbian, transgendered life
I’m on the right track baby
I was born to survive
No matter black, white or beige
Chola or orient made
I’m on the right track baby
I was born to be brave
I’m beautiful in my way
‘Cause God makes no mistakes
I’m on the right track, baby I was born this way
Don’t hide yourself in regret
Just love yourself and you’re set
I’m on the right track, baby
I was born this way yeah
Oh there ain’t no other way
Baby I was born this way
Baby I was born this way (Born this way)
Oh there ain’t no other way
Baby I was born this way
Right track, baby I was born this way
I was born this way hey
I was born this way hey
I’m on the right track baby
I was born this way hey
I was born this way hey
I was born this way hey
I’m on the right track baby
I was born this way hey
Same D.N.A. but born this way
Same D.N.A. but born this way

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