" I stand before you today not because of a great marriage or a good family, church or government that allows my existence. I stand before you today, a living soul, because the greatest relationship in the world, one that surpasses any institution or structure known to the human race, has breathed into me the breath of life. Sound cryptic? Hopefully, my words will make more concrete sense as I tell you what I as a person truly value and aspire to be as my years go by.
I come and speak to you today having gone through a past of sexual and emotional abuse and having lived each moment of my life to date in a body that is terminally ill. I am a daughter of a wonderful and fairly average middle class mother and father. I am a sister to two annoying yet amazing brothers. I have been a member of Baptist and evangelical churches. I am a citizen of the United States of America. This defines me but does not tell you anything about my life.
Life has to be defined. Life has to be lived in boundaries. How do you know who I am unless I tell you what family I came from, what church I go to or don’t go to, or what country I live in? On the flipside, life is not lived inside structure. Structures have flaws. It was in the structure of my loving family that a recommended babysitter, trusted by small town Wisconsin, took advantage of my five year old mind and body’s innocence. It was in the country of America that I was denied life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness with the three words I heard at the age of twelve: you have cancer. It was in the walls of churches that I consistently heard the words: you are wrong and you are selfish.
Despite these flaws or sufferings that structures have let into my life, I have learned how to cherish ideas and concepts that do work in whatever category you find yourself defined in whether it is race, gender, sexuality, religion or political theory. I value truth. Contrary to man’s speculations and theories there is a constant, unchanging God of the universe without limits Whose laws govern the ways of man. People and circumstances change; therefore, truth applied to different people’s lives will result in different outcomes because everyone has a different background, circumstance, and peoples in their life.
I value love. Who you love determines what you do. If you truly love someone, you put your rights aside so the object of your affection can have the best even if the best for their life is one where you are not in it. Is this not what Jesus Christ exemplified? I introduced myself as standing before you today because of a great relationship. I as well as every human being that has ever lived have broken standards and structures. Jesus saw this and instead of letting death and sin take me to rotten consequences and ultimately an eternity away from him He confined Himself in the body of man. God gave himself a gender and a race so He could perform the very act of love: dying on a cross and then defying death itself by being raised in eternal life all so that every human who was ever born could all come to a place of equality in such a defined space of inequality as earth. Every man standing before God is of equal value and worth and it is through Jesus that every man receives eternal life if he chooses to accept it. I did accept Christ’s love now I am living a forgiven life and a hopeful life. I am hopeful because I don’t have to depend on living a life by any nations or any person’s standard to feel fulfilled. I possess a freedom to love human kind because of Christ’s great relationship of love I embraced.
I value difference. General George Patton said, “If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.” The discriminations between people help us see abstract concepts such as love, hate, peace, conflict, ext. Fragmented pieces from others lives shows us our own shortcomings and encourage us to give support to one another. The absence of structure shows us how hopeless and chaotic the present can be. In the case of my experience with sexual abuse, I learned love is not equal to sex and it is only appropriate within a marriage structure. The presence of structure gives us a future and a place to perform and exist. In the case of my identity as a daughter and sister, I know I can be a caring, respectful human being, sharing myself in inside different human relationships. As a daughter I was taken care of in regards to terminal illness. My parents gave me my medical treatment every six hours until I learned how to be responsible for my own medical care. As a sister, I learned humility when I was treating my brothers wrongly and I also learned how to care for others when they are hurting whether I feel affection for them or not.
I aspire today to tell the world that where they came from, who they are, what they did can all have a purpose in Christ alone. Governments may have failed your expectations of human rights, churches may have offended you, families and friends may have hurt you. There is a place you can go when the castles you and I build in the sky come crumbling down in a constricting universe. Jesus Christ offers you His boundless and limitless truth and love and it’s yours if you just take it.
An Italian proverb says, "When the game is over, the king and the pawn go into the same box.” Whatever story your life has, when it comes down to your final breaths, consider the eternity of your never dying soul and embrace the truth and love found in the God Who created your soul."