If more people set aside their differences and the labels they place on others and got to know the person behind the preconceptions -
imagine how many epic friendships would be born
~ J.V. Manning
A conservative Republican homosexual and a motorcycle-riding former Marine turned Priest who cussed a lot walk into my life…
Sounds like an epic setup to a joke.
But no joke. This really happened.
Honestly, in hindsight, I have to say that it just may be one of the most memorable days I’ve ever had because without even meaning to, they taught me about life, friendship and the importance of accepting every facet of who you are, even when it just doesn’t make logical sense.
The conservative Republican I have known and loved for many years, his traveling sidekick, the former Marine turned Priest, who cussed, was a new acquaintance. You can’t imagine my surprise, when after an hour or so of showing them around some of the lighthouses of Maine, I learned my new friend was a member of the clergy. I can’t say that I have ever “hung out” with a priest before but I can say that I had I thought about it beforehand, I would have been totally off base with my assumptions on what it would be like.
They both had me laughing with their antics and verbal volleys back and forth. Two more illogical friends, I can’t imagine but with these two it worked. Both love and accept each other for who they are and the admiration they have for each other comes through loud and clear between the sarcastic jabs and hilarious insults they hurl at each other. After two decades of friendship, they each know what buttons to push to get a rise out of the each other and yet at the same time you could feel the love of two souls who have found kindred spirits in one another.
I felt honored to be a part of that camaraderie for the afternoon. I stood to the side at one point and just listened to them go back and forth, and I realized that if more people set aside their differences and the labels they place on others and got to know the person behind the preconceptions - how many epic friendships would be born. These two men have settled into themselves, have nothing to prove to anyone and instead of focusing on what separates them, they embrace it and add their uniqueness to the blend. It is awe inspiring and made my entire soul smile. Their friendship is what I want life to look like.
Our conversations went deeper over dinner. We talked about how more often than not we are our own worst enemies in trying to change ourselves to fit into something acceptable to the world. We spoke of labels and how it’s not just what others think of us but what we believe of ourselves that limit the happiness and peace we all seem to be searching for. One of the men said for many years the internal war of who he was against who he thought he should be broke his spirit and that it was only when he realized he was never meant to fit nice and neat into a box labeled just one thing, he became so much happier.
When he embraced all of who he was, life began to make more sense.
We limit ourselves when pieces of who we are don’t jive in any logical sense. How can someone be a conservative Republican, gay and devout Catholic? Well, after spending time with a man who is just that I figured it out. You do it by honoring all facets of who you are, even the parts that on their own don’t make sense, and you do it because it’s who you are. All of it. We are all complex and intricate human beings and limiting ourselves because the world may not “get it” or understand us, does an incredible disservice to our heart and soul. They don’t need to get it. They don’t need to make peace with who you are. You do.
How is the world supposed to accept you, if you won’t accept yourself?
We all have parts of us that when taken out and examined on their own seem illogical but when you add them to all of the other pieces of our soul, the mosaic comes together in a way unique and perfect to us. It’s like listening to a symphony: each note an instrument plays on its own, while beautiful in its right, doesn’t become as powerful as it does when all the instruments come together as one in a kaleidoscope of music blending the differences of their sound together in beautiful harmony. Our inner symphony becomes more melodious the more we bring in all the facets that make us unique and powerful together.
Logic be damned.
Both of these men have looked deep into their soul and spent time with every single piece of themselves. There are parts they still don’t completely understand. Pieces they have no idea what to do with at the moment. Facets they wish were different but appreciate that they weren’t meant to be any other way than exactly what they are. They have woven them into beautiful examples of what being human is all about. They love. They laugh. They are charitable and care for others. They don’t take themselves too seriously; they know and appreciate their failings; they accept others just as they are because they know it’s not their place to alter or change anyone. They live by example. They show, simply by being themselves, what it looks like to bring all of you together within your soul and find love for every facet that makes you exactly as you were meant to be.
A quiet confidence radiates from them. These are men who have wandered through the dark times we all have to face at one time or another and have come out on the other side to a peace that is only possible when you stop fighting everything that makes you who are you. All of it. Life doesn’t have to make sense to work. Life doesn’t have to fit nice and neat into a box wrapped in colorful labels that say nothing of who we really are. We are all of them and none of them. We are who we are and the sooner we realize that by bringing all of who we are together instead of waging wars within; the happier, stronger and more peaceful we will become.
The conclusion of our little adventure was at a local pipe and cigar shop. My new friend has a deep love and affection for pipes. I have a deep love of the intricate smell of pipe smoke. So, over coffee and more amazing conversations, the Priest taught me how to smoke a pipe. I was awful at it. However, these moments will forever live in my memories of awesome days when the universe conspires to bring lessons into my world in the most illogical ways that always seem to make the most logical sense. Even learning to smoke a pipe with a conservative republican homosexual and a motorcycle-riding former Marine turned Priest who cussed a lot.
I love it.
JV Manning's work and keep her in coffee ♥
©JVManning 2020 All Rights Reserved