11 months ago I was sitting in a waiting room when I saw an elderly lady in much worse shape than I was in. She taught me that if I wrote down every blessing in my life I could be at it forever, and after all that time I wouldn't be any closer to being done than when I started. Since then the number of angels in my life has increased exponentially. Since then I see something to be grateful for in everything.
“When we've been here ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun,
We've no less days to sing God's praise
Than when we'd first begun.”
Recently my friend Keith did the Slutwalk in Seattle to reinforce that the cause of rape is the rapist and not women who might dress in a way some may disapprove. It got me thinking about the word and the way we use it.
For a while I've thought ‘slut’ to be a worthless word. It implies guilt and shame, which are worthless emotions. And it's impossible to pin down exactly what it means.
Where's the line between virtue and sin?
The Catholic Church considers anyone who's had sex with more than one person, ever, to be a slut. That's most of us.
Most folks consider middle-age to be some indistinct number of years older than they are and they think sluts are people who've slept with more people than they have according to some obscure algorithm they've justified in their heads.
A co-worker once told me she was starting to get worried because she could no longer count the number of men she'd been with on one hand. I refused to tell her how many I'd been with because I could tell from the look on her face and her tone of voice that she would judge my double-digit number negatively. But compared to my friends that are well into triple digits, I'm a prude.
So does that mean that 5 is virtuous but 6 puts you on a slippery slope? When I reach 8 that's kind of a lot, but when you reach 8 that really isn't all that many? 9 you're fine, but 10 is just too much? 99? Well, ok, but 100 puts you in Madonna territory. And is that bad?
The people I admire most are the ones that are super comfortable in their own skin, know themselves well, and proudly label themselves sluts; and they take away anyone else's power to hurt them.
I truly think that God doesn't count how many. She knows, but is more concerned with how we treat ourselves and our partners.
If you think God is adding demerits as your list gets longer, then the opposite must also be true. I imagine that when I get to the Pearly Gates St. Peter is going to scowl down at me and say, “We sent you all these nice guys to bring joy to your life and you ran away from most of them. Downstairs!”