Sunday Morning

This morning I marched in a parade. Yes, that parade.

I was seventeen the last time I was in a parade. I carried a tenor sax and became dehydrated because I was in full band uniform.

I got dehydrated this time around as well, because I was wearing a suit.

I don’t like parades. I don’t like going to them, let alone marching in them. The heat, the crowds, the . . . social interaction. Give me a dusty bike trail or a small boardgame night with friends and family any day of the week.

But today I stepped way out of my comfort zone, and marched in a pride parade. I marched with a group of Mormons who went to share a simple message, “We love you.”

Although I marched in a group I drove to the parade alone. This almost made me turn back about a dozen times. I knew no one. There I was, walking down the street in a suit and tie, asking a woman in a leotard if she knew which way to the pride parade. I’m sure she wondered if I suffered from heat stroke.

But I found my people. I didn’t count, but wouldn’t be surprised if there was over 400 of us. Brothers and sisters and children, decked out in their “Sunday best”, carrying rainbow flags and signs. I think my favorite sign quoted a primary song.

I’ll walk with you, I’ll talk with you, that’s how I’ll show my love for you.

We were right behind the grand marshall, so second in line. As we marched, the crowed cheered, clapped, and at times even roared. I can only hope the love we were trying so desperately to show matched the love they showed us. A few images I will never forget:

A middle-aged woman in a tank top, stood on the sidelines, crying. She kept saying over and over, “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.” A woman marching next to me went over and embraced her.

A five-year-old girl, marched in front of me with a sign that said, “Free Hugs.” Many people took her up on the offer.

A man rode in a wheelchair with a walker on wheels attched to it. The walker was empty the entire time because the woman who supposedly needed it was bouncing back and forth to each side of the parade, waving and waving and waving.

I can’t explain why I felt compelled to go and march. I’m not gay. None of my immediate familiy members are gay, at least not that I know of. I’m told that the social, political, and religious issues surrounding homosexuality are complex. I won’t profess to be an expert on any of them. In fact, I’m pretty slow. I like things simple. One of my favorite parts of the bible is when Jesus boils everything down to two commandments. Only two.

Love God.

Love your neighbor.

On these two commandments hang all the laws and the prophets.

That I can understand.

With apologies to Thomas S. Monson: Miles were walked. Tears were shed. Bridges were built.

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23 Responses to Sunday Morning

  1. MelonyMartin says:

    Marion,
    Thank you. Had I known about this I would surely have joined you. I am not gay and I have no immediate family members who are gay, but I have several friends who are gay. I think the fact that you did this makes you pretty amazing, even though I already believed you were. We are not here to judge, we are here to love and support on another for who we are. Your thoughts regarding this were right on…thanks so much for sharing.

  2. Lovely post, Marion, and a lovely thing to do. I’ve got a stepdaughter whose partner is dying of stage 4 leukemia right now.

    Yeah. Love.

    “And now abideth faith, hope, charity [love], these three; but the greatest of these is charity [love].”

  3. Melanie Jacobson says:

    Bravo.

  4. Annette says:

    I have a feeling President Monson would be totally cool with your use of his phrasing.

    Beautiful.

  5. Robin Weeks says:

    Amazing. This was the best idea ever. So glad everyone is catching on to the need to love our neighbors–no matter who else they love.

  6. Liz Adair says:

    Well and bravely done, Marion, and way to boil things down to the essence.

  7. Beautiful, Marion. Many hugs.

  8. Pingback: Sunday Morning

  9. Wendy says:

    It was a fabulous experience.! I shared your same nervousness about showing up alone, but felt so overwhelmed by the love the crowd showed to us. Thanks for this well written post.

  10. elenajube says:

    Thanks for sharing this, Marion. I love what you did.

  11. Andrew Walker says:

    Thanks for going and thanks for posting. I’ll come to the next one with you.

  12. Heather Leary says:

    Lovely post Marion. I’m so glad I know someone who marched with this group. Way to go, to you and everyone else who was there.

  13. Kristine N says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  14. D.L. Walker says:

    I SO wish I would have gone today. I’d heard rumblings about this group, but we had a very late night on a film shoot last night, so I had to sleep.

    What a great, healing experience.

    As always, I’m in awe.

    Thnks for being well-roundedly awesome!

    (Can’t wait to narrate your next book. :-D )

  15. People who do this, people like you, make the world a better place. I wish I’d known this parade was happening today. I would’ve happily joined you.

    Thank you so much for sharing this, Marion!

    Jenn

  16. Julie Wright says:

    My brother was there with his partner. And I love my brother. I love his partner too. Heck of a nice guy.
    Love God. Love your neighbor.
    Amen.

  17. Ann K. Jensen says:

    Nicely done, in regards to both the marching and this post. Who knew that all those early-morning marching practices on the streets of downtown Tremonton would every come in handy?

  18. Jennifer Moore says:

    Written so beautifully. This is why you’re such a great guy–so filled with love for your fellow man. I’m glad we’re friends.

  19. Steve says:

    Thank you for not turning around and going back home! I’m so glad you did this. And this blog post is so perfectly written. So simple and true. Sunday school was a bit tough here that same day. Some mean lady was spitting venom about pride, complete with chalk board and diagrams. I felt kinda attacked. Told my mom this Sunday felt a bit like 3 hours on white rapids. I was exhausted when I got home and that is the opposite of what I usually feel with the LDS. But seeing this I understand more. There were voices trying to counter the mean lady now that I think of it. Anyhow, I’m hoping for a good turn out here in MN on the 24th. Thank you so much!

  20. Diane Stewart says:

    Thank you for putting so beautifully into words, exactly how I felt about marching! It was a wonderful, satisfying and gratifying experience! Soooo glad I did it!

  21. Jeff says:

    Excellent post. is Mormons Building Bridges a organized group? I’d love to join in future opportunities to show love and support like this. If you know how we can be a part of it in the future, please share.

  22. Luann says:

    So nice of you Marion. You have built yourself up to be such a wonderful hero, but you are very hypocritical. You cannot even show the same love to your hurting wife and children. Shame on you!

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