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Remember Me Well

February 1, 2020

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The way I understand Christianity is this: Learn to love people in all their fullness.

That’s it. That’s all I have, but on the other hand, it’s a lot, because people are messy and complicated and weird and unpleasant and mean in addition to being kind and lovely and generous.

One day I took a bouquet over to the house of a woman my BFF and I know.

“Why did you do that?” my BFF asked. “All you do is complain about her.”

“But I love her,” I said. “Yes, she’s fussy and a pain in my butt and she never stops complaining about things, and she drives me crazy on the reg, but she’s also caring and concerned and tries to make things better, and she’s just a dear. She’s one of my people.”

It’s like that.

I have been thinking about how, earlier this week when Kobe Byrant died, some people immediately wanted to talk about how weird it was seeing him being lauded. In their minds, his admitted rape (which he said had been consensual, in his mind) outweighed his stellar basketball career and his charitable acts.

Others said how dare anyone bring that up during a tragic time like this, when people are mourning? We shouldn’t talk about that NOW.

Kobe was all of it. He was a guy who came straight out of high school to play in the NBA, so great was his talent. He was a guy who raped someone. He was a loving dad and someone who granted more than 200 Make-A-Wish requests. He was good. He was bad. He was awful. He was arrogant. He was kind.

If you love the player and the wish-granter, you love the rapist. You don’t love the rape, obviously, but you have to acknowledge the deep flaws in him and then choose the path you want to go down. Do you offer him a crown of thorns, or grace?

We have to be honest with one another, especially in this world, where increasingly we use don’t want to admit terrible things, so we surround them with flowery language. Torture in “enhanced interrogation.” People killed in wartime are “collateral damage.” Getting fired is “involuntary attrition.”

We have to see our sins and talk about them honestly and still keep loving. Covering up for someone never does any good. Unclean wounds fester under a bandage and the sins of the fathers are visited upon the sons – unless we admit our shortcomings and vow to do better. Father Richard Rohr says “What is not transformed is transmitted.” The transformation comes from being real and honest.

When you remember me, it’s ok to say I was a bit of a shit. I know I’m quirky and weird and impatient and judgmental and have a mean streak, and I love being right and I can show off and I am too often a people-pleaser. And on some days, I’m pretty all right. But I would expect those who love me to be honest with me and want me to do better.

It’s ok to tell me when I have fallen short. Do it gently, of course – I am still me, as sensitive as a venus fly-trap and as quick to clam up. But please don’t stop loving me, and I will try to do the same with you. As Ram Dass put it so well, “We are all just walking each other home.”

6 Comments leave one →
  1. February 1, 2020 07:28

    THANK YOU so much for this. I’ve been having a hard time justifying my admiration for Kobe and sense of loss. So I’ve said nothing. Thank you for the words to use. He made mistakes but he certainly wasn’t an evil man. Love you, Sue. ❤️

    • Viviane permalink
      February 2, 2020 01:50

      A rape is not a mistake, it is a crime.

  2. VDog permalink
    February 1, 2020 08:13

    Beautiful. Xoxo

  3. Gail permalink
    February 1, 2020 10:44

    Beautifully said!!!

  4. Robin permalink
    February 2, 2020 05:05

    I love you

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