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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

To Her Parents

There is much in this world and this life that we can't understand.  We have our science, our religious faith, and our cherished traditions to help us cope with the problems that come our way.  Yet, sometimes these things are not enough to help us understand, comprehend, believe, and forgive when the most unexpected appears on our front door step.

Let's suppose that you have been told that your child has an incurable cancer, defective kidneys, or any congenital defect.  You might be told that your child is accused of being a predator of children, a rapist, or a serial killer.  Be honest with yourself; think.  How would you react to each of these situations?

Would the compassion and love you have for your child be devoured by any of these revelations?  Would you attend to your child in the hospital as she receives needed blood transfusions?  Would you visit your child in jail while she awaits trial?  Or would the cherished love you have developed over decades be discarded as you leave your child to face these challenges on her own?

In Old Testament times, the children of God feared leprosy.  In fact, they actively shunned those who contracted this ugly disease:

Numbers 5:2 Command the children of Israel, that they put out of the camp every leper, and every one that hath an issue, and whosoever is defiled by the dead.

They had good cause to be fearful of leprosy, for it was truly a disabling and disfiguring disease. For this reason, they were put out of the camp, shut off, and left to fend for themselves in poverty. It was thought that this condition was brought on by sin and unrighteousness.  Yet, Jesus was unafraid of the lepers.  He faced them many times and brought them unto him for his blessings.  We now know that leprosy is a disease and not castigation from God.  Our knowledge has let us see through the ignorance of past generations to see that it is a disease of the flesh and not one of the spirit or soul.  We know with assurance it is not something born of sin.

Christ's compassion went beyond those things that men did not understand.  He loved all men and women.  In fact, he once told that love of God and of fellow men were the greatest of the commandments.  In Mathew, Chapter 22, he said "On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."  If we were to do nothing else, the exercise of pure love of God and our fellow man would be the greatest accomplishment in our lives.  All of the laws come secondary to these two great commandments of love.

Your child has told you that she is a transsexual.  Yes, she is a modern day leper of sorts.  It is a condition that is little understood because of its rarity and unwillingness of the scientific community to investigate. Neither is the topic properly addressed in our religious history. It's not because there never were people with what we call gender dysphoria.  There have always individuals with GID.

No, it is not sexually motivated.  The desire to have sex does not relate to how a transsexual views the world and his/her place in it.  In fact, for many transsexuals, sex is not a primary factor in considering their transition. 

So, now… you know that there is something terribly wrong with your child.  It is something you dare not talk about with your friends. It is something you can not address with your church leaders.  You feel betrayed, hurt, and ashamed. 

Pretend you are the leper for a moment.


Could you be the leper? Could you suffer the ridicule, the emotional stress, the longing of having lost your family?  Could you stand up and proclaim; "I AM A LEPER!"?  Could you learn to deal with it, even though all of society believes leprosy is caused by sin?

Now, step back into your own shoes.  Did you love your child before this revelation? Do you still love your child?  Has your child physically harmed anyone? Is your child suffering? Can you muster the powerful love of your faith… or just that of a parent to overcome any personal differences you may have? 

Can you just tell your child "I love you?"

When posed with such difficult life decisions, I always think to myself:  "What would Christ do?"  Now, I'm not a Christian.  But I admire the man from Nazareth.  He had great wisdom to express his wisdom of love, charity, and grace facing the structured law of Judaism.  Did he win?  He is remembered, so I'd have to say that he did.  I also firmly believe that his message of love is the most powerful binding force that can solve so many of the problems we face today.

Christ's ultimate message was that of love.  I'm hoping that you can manage to overcome the minor hurdles that separate you from your child.  Love is ultimately more important.  You may not understand. You may not agree.  But, you can love.

Cindi Jones

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