I've been inspired to take a step out of the so-called comfort zone. Subject matters aforementioned in articles referenced were generalized to all persuasions. Retirement, being authentic, even making mistakes crossed pretty much all races, religions and ethnic groups if there be an exception ... no argument on my part.
I must admit before you and God that I get stirred up when the subject of gay and lesbian rights is brought up in conversation. They want to get married, have the same rights as their heterosexual counterparts in committed relationships. Prejudice abound! Now, here's a subject that touches in to our collective emotions. Dialogue often discloses powerful feelings on a narrow band of a great emotional spectrum.
Wisdom derives from experience. Decades ago, by no accident, I found myself residing in an area of our great nation known for free-spirits. Unless residing in a bubble, or remaining purposely sequestered from the general populace, one was bound to meet people of different religions, ethnic groups, races and sexual persuasion.
I look back with great fondness at the opportunities accorded to me. I met a full spectrum of people delighted to feel safe and able to express their uniqueness. This vast and lengthy experience offered a look within, that is, myself. Any prejudices I learned will gradually test and gladly whittled away. I got to experience people both professionally and in friendships as ''regular folk'' not for their aforementioned persuasion. People of color wanted to be seen as people, not African-American. People of different religions didn't want to change others to proselytize their station, moreover, just to be themselves. And yes, my ''gay and lesbian'' friends .. Oh my!
My experience was not of any sexual nature. Yes, sex to many was important yet held to privacy. Over a refreshment or perhaps a meal, men and women with same-sex partners all raising children and dealing with problems most folks face daily shared their emotions with me. Single men and women facing life's struggles experience joy and contentment no different from anyone. The common theme I experienced was being free to live one's life without the veil of threat-beatings, assault and bullying for example as well as deeply bested prejudice.
Allow me to walk tangential for a moment. I know the path and will soon return to the source. Remember folks prejudices are learned and can be interrupted. Prejudice-prejudge, meaning, have an opinion with little to no actual direct experience. A divorce attorney once told me that the divorce rate is around 50 percent. Wow, are you blown away? So, something is abundantly in disarray.
Now that our collective consciousness is ever-so-gradually opening to embrace all people, some states are legalizing gay marriages. I've got something to say about that. It's about time. Hey and guess what, this will blow you away too? Divorce and separation is already occurring in gay marriages. Oh, oh, I heart the pundits now! ''See ... See what I say!'' Back to what I said before. Allowing all folks who want to lead a healthy life without harm to others merely evens out the proverbial playing field.
Guess what! All folks get to enjoy their lives in peace, deal with daily struggles, experience successes and failures. Learn from them and forge ahead in their lives. Let's learn to get along without threats and be helpful to others.
One day our children, perhaps their children, will have raised their collective consciousness, look back at the matter and exclaim, why did it take them so long to get their act together.
Marshall Greenstein holds a master's degree in marriage and family counseling and is a licensed marriage and family counselor and a licensed mental health counselor in New York state. He has regular office hours at Hutton and Greenstein Counseling Services, 501 E. Third St., Suite 2B, Jamestown, 484-7756. For more information or to suggest topics, email firstname.lastname@example.org.