The morning began with a curse. Two, in fact, biblically grounded just for me.
My husband stood in the doorway, leaning into the living room. Our children were outside with their bike helmets on, waiting for him.
He leaned with one hand on the doorknob, looking at me.
I looked back at him and started to cry.
My daughter, all three years of her, was on my lap. I heard her whimper. She had never seen me cry before. Neither had her brother, who had now walked back in. He leaned up against me and put his small arm around me. My older two daughters followed suit. My husband’s arm wrapped us in.
He got down on his haunches.
“You know how people love each other, like me and mama? And that a woman can love a woman, and a man can love a man?”
The kids nodded. Nothing new here.
“Well there are people in the church who don’t think that’s okay. So if you,” pointing to our son, “loved a boy, they would say, ‘you can’t come to our church.’ That’s what mama is crying about. She’s really sad that people feel hate.”
They were quiet, except for the oldest. “What a bunch of jerks. We’ll show ‘em.”
“You know what Jesus says we should do about people like that?”
“Pray for them.”
They went to school, and I moved through the morning feeling broken. I could not give total credit to the curses, though. This fatigue was years in the making. I had come from an inclusive community in the United States. The rainbow flag on the door of my home church had guaranteed it. It had been a shock to move into a denomination where “inclusive” was long coming.
During my workout, I flipped through my history on YouTube, looking for an album. A song popped up at the top of my feed – “Where is the love?” by the Black Eyed Peas. My oldest daughter and I had listened to it together last weekend while hanging up the laundry, playing the video over and over again.
I put my headphones on and played it on repeat.
But if you only have love for your own race
Then you only leave space to discriminate
And to discriminate only generates hate
And when you hate then you’re bound to get irate, yeah
Madness is what you demonstrate
And that’s exactly how anger works and operates
Man, you gotta have love just to set it straight
Take control of your mind and meditate
Let your soul gravitate to the love, y’all, y’all
An hour later, I was a little less broken.
When I picked up my kids from school at the end of the afternoon, the song was still humming on my lips. My oldest daughter walked up to my bike holding a sheet of paper. She handed it to me and said, “Mama, this will show ‘em.”
She had drawn a heart and a question mark in bright marker colors. It was reminiscent of the question mark in the video I had played all afternoon, drawn by the Black Eyed Peas.
Over the top, she had written, “Where is the love?”
© 2016 Anastasia Hacopian