I was planning on a camping trip last weekend. I was packed and ready to go as I headed off to work on Friday as once again I heard “Don’t go camping this weekend.” Ummm. But I love camping and I want to hang out with my friends. What am I going to do if I don’t go? (I still haven’t learned to stop sassing my Father in Heaven.)
I ended up participating in a life changing event. I attended this charity event for Global Poverty. Wade and I spent the night at the Grand America, we mingled with celebrities in the VIP room (P.S. Larry King is short, hilarious, and has weird hair up close.) I wore a fabulous dress, with fabulous heels and had my hair professionally done. We watched people bid 20,000 dollars on items that didn't even interest us. We looked for a while at the Jewelry being auctioned off and agreed that even if we could afford a 97,000 dollar necklace, I should never own one because I would lose it almost immediately. We had filet mingon and shrimp cocktails and it was all fabulously glamorous.
We were seated at a table with ladies from the organization Backyard Broadcast. They are a group dedicated to ending sex trafficking. I learned that three of the girls were actually girls who were victims of sex trafficking. Born and raised in Utah and trafficked here as well. “Umm I’m sorry, I am that totally ignorant person who thought this only happens in Cambodia. I mean I knew it happened here too but not to Americans.” Yeah I learned a lot that night. As Wade and I left that night we talked about how after mingling with celebrities, we were most impressed with the beauty, confidence, and strength of the girls we met at our table. I can’t even tell you how much these ladies touched my heart.
“So what organization are you here with?”
“Ummm… I just know someone.”
“So you are here to donate?”
I didn't want them to know I was totally a fake. I wasn't there to donate. I hadn't even paid for my own meal. What if they find out that what they are spending on the cheapest auction item is more than I have ever collectively had in my checking account at one time? I felt awful for a moment. I wasn't there because I was changing the world. I wasn't there to donate money to people who are changing the world. I was just there. Annie, you are nobody special, you are a fake, you don’t belong here.
Until a voice whispered “You are here because you are different. You are here because you unconditionally love someone who is different from you. You love someone completely who thinks and feels differently than you about some big issues. You are here because you live your life free of judgment."
You see my date is gay, and I am *gasp* Mormon. Oil and water right? Nope. We just love each other. It doesn't seem like a big deal maybe. But for most of my gay friends I am the only Christian they have come out to who has stayed around. And I have heard more times than I care to remember a friend say to me "You can't love me, you never really loved me. Because you are Mormon and I am gay." But we don't let difference create a division and because of that I was the “plus one” of the most attractive and genuinely kind man in the room, and that makes us different.
I like us, and I am proud of us.