Thursday, July 27, 2006

Bloody but Unbowed

I had to look up the source of that familiar phrase and here it is, by William Ernest Henley. 1849–1903


Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

Yesterday here in Washington State was a sad day, with the gloating anti-gay lobby all over the TV screen in contrast to the grief-stricken same-sex families portrayed. I spent the day moping around the house until it was time to get on the ferry to go to the rally and worship service in Seattle.

Once there, my mood began to lift, surrounded by folks who needed me to comfort them. Funny how that works-----no matter how bad I feel, I am comforted by the opportunity to comfort another. And the gathering at Seattle First Baptist Church was upbeat and hopeful. Speaker after speaker mentioned the disappointment but also identified the next steps and the progress we've already made.

I came home feeling greatly cheered and full of resolve for the continued work ahead. This issue has been the primary social justice issue of my life; a friend came out to me in the 70's and I have been a straight ally ever since, with increasing involvement over the years. My first statement to anyone was to my astonished family members when I told them I would never consider voting for Ross Perot because he was clearly homophobic. (Well, it felt revolutionary, especially when you consider my family of origin---lovely people who at the time probably didn't think they even knew any homosexuals.)

Times have changed and now I am up to my eyebrows in it. I no longer care whether someone thinks I am a lesbian----it simply doesn't matter. I love the button I found somewhere: "I'd rather a bigot thought I was a lesbian than a lesbian thought I was a bigot."

The court decision was quite close (5-4), which indicates the degree of disagreement on the court. And it actually encouraged the legislature to consider the gross inequities for same sex couples and deal with them legislatively. I believe that will begin to happen when the legislature re-convenes in January. Till then, we have a lot of educating to do and I'm ready to start.


patpb said...

I also was uplifted by the meeting at Seattle 1st Baptist Church and by the time of the end of the service my tears were flowing which tells me my grief had moved from my head to my heart. This is good because I need my whole being together as we continue the work that lays ahead and which has already begun.

ms. kitty said...

And we've got a lot of work ahead, don't we? But it has already begun. Stay tuned!