I had something peppy, but was reading through some of the comments from my last post this morning and feel to get serious for a moment. Just for a moment. I don’t love serious. So bear with me, here.
In sharing plans for my weekend on that last post, I linked my friend Steve’s name to his video on YouTube. It was a video where he shared the story of his lifelong journey out of the Mormon church, and into accepting himself as a gay man. I knew the link wouldn’t be for everyone, which is why I didn’t make a stink about it. I just linked up Steve’s name with YouTube. It’s his video. It’s his story. It’s your choice if you want to click on it, watch it, and learn about Steve’s journey.
And, I’m sad. Because some of you were offended. I’m sad in one way, because I don’t ever want to offend you. But, I’m even more sad–and actually a little bit astonished–because some downright stinky comments were left and my heart aches that we have to be like that.
I believe in the power of stories. It’s why I tell them on my site. I share my stories. My views, the way my life unfolds and moves and trips about it’s meandering path. And, when I meet people, find friends, join my life in support and celebration of other people’s lives, I’m not looking to convert. I’m only looking to understand, to love, to listen. To hear their stories.
And so, I am terrifically sorry if any of you felt the link to Steve’s video was inappropriate. But guess what? That is Steve. It’s his story. It’s his life. It’s very real to him. And as his friend, I am proud of him. He’s fought hard to find his place in life, to find his path. And his path might not be your path. It might not even be a path you agree with. But isn’t there power in standing back and just listening? Indeed, I don’t know how else to love people than to look them in the eye and listen and learn about their real, valid choices. To seek to understand why they are where they are, and to come to know what has made them the wonderful (or remarkable, or broken, or weak, or tired, or complexly stunning) person they are today.
Many of you readers of mine are Mormon. I was raised Mormon and have been active in the Church throughout my life. Until August,when our family resigned from the Church.
Hold on there. Take a breath. I’m not turning into a vitriolic anti-Mormon ranter. I LOVE Mormons. I loved being a Mormon. But, I started to feel, among other things, that I it was making me horrifically judgemental. I found myself so concerned about looking just right, and acting just right, and being just the sort of missionary I thought I was supposed to be, that I forgot to just love people. To listen. To learn about them.
Once, when I was in college, I went to my grandparents home, my sister announced to the family that she was moving in with her boyfriend. I looked around the room and sat up tall in my chair. Pressed my nose a little higher in the air. I was going to use this opportunity to show my grandparents how righteous I was. That I was bold enough to stand up for what I knew was right.
“That is so inappropriate,” I said to my sister. Shoulder back, perfect posture. “Why are you making a decision that you know will bring you unhappiness?”
The room went silent. My sister’s shoulders rounded into a forlorn curve.
My grandfather raised his finger in the air, straight and firm, and viciously pointy. And then he pointed it at me.
“Don’t you DARE.” He said. “Don’t you dare say such things to your sister. You don’t know what it’s like to be her. You don’t know how lonely she’s been, how hard this decision has been on her. You don’t know. You can’t possibly know.”
This from my grandfather who read the scriptures for hours each morning, worked in the temple twice a week, prayed over dinner for a full fifteen minutes.
I sat stunned. And then, I looked at my sister, sitting in the corner of the room, weeping. Grandpa put his hand out and she–this grown up girl–climbed in his lap and wept on his shoulder. And I learned why Jesus was considered a revolutionary. I learned what it means to be truly Christlike. I learned that love isn’t about pulling just the right strings, it’s about cutting them and using them to tie bows upon your heart.
I am sorry if any of you found the link to Steve’s story inappropriate. At first I was sad to think I was losing readers–LOSING READERS–for posting a link to a video made by a friend.
As it turns out, though. I’m not so sad about. Because this blog has never been about getting readers. It’s never been about getting big. It’s always been about telling stories. My stories. And my stories are intimately connected to everyone, everyone, EVERYONE who I call friend. Mormon, exmormon, black, white, gay, straight, lovers, fighters, sisters, mothers, dreamers, believers, hopers. I refuse to put strings on my love.
My name is Brooke McLay. I’m a storyteller, an oatmeal cookie pancake maker, a passionate post writer. And I’m proud of my people. Every last one of them.
Oatmeal Cookie Pancakes
For the Oatmeal Cookie Pancakes:1/2 cup quick oats
1 cup flour
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1- 1 1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup finely shredded coconut (optional)
1/4 raisins (optional)
1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
1/4 cup cinnamon chips or mini chocolate chips
For the Honey Butter Icing Glaze:
4 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon vanilla or maple-flavored extract
4 tablespoons butter, melted
Just enough buttermilk to make a soft glaze
In a large bowl, whisk together the oats, flour, brown sugar, salt, baking powder and cinnamon until mixed. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and 1 cup of the buttermilk. Pour the buttermilk and egg mixture into the flour mixture and whisk together just until the ingredients are incorporated. Add whatever additional add-in's you'd like. We went with coconut and raisins and chocolate chips, but feel free to add any (or none) of your favorite oatmeal cookie parts and pieces. Add more buttermilk, if needed, to create a thin batter.
Cook pancake batter on a hot griddle as you would traditional pancakes.
In a medium bowl, whisk together all ingredients for the icing glaze until smooth. Drizzle over maple-syrup-covered pancakes, top with cinnamon or chocolate chips (if desired), serve, and enjoy!