Reading 50 Shades of Gray in a Chik-Fil-A

Election years make my brain shrivel up like last month’s raisins, found under the baby’s car seat.

It sucks the life out of my normally optimistic mood, and makes me want to unplug every social media site, television, phone, and news platform.

Because I hate politics?

No, not really, though I confess to loving them about as much as I love a slight papercut. That is to say, uncomfortably ignoring them until I can no longer. There are the issues I care about, and about a million others that make my head swim.

But that’s not the reason.

It’s because, like a gawky, awkward pre-teen, I don’t fit in anywhere.

To someone who knows cheerfully that they are Liberal, everything is black and white.

To someone who knows happily, that they are Conservative, everything is black and white.

Conservatively Liberal

Being a homeschooling, pro-life, Christian, in a heterosexual marriage, I’m much, much too conservative for the liberals. They roll their eyes at me and tell me I’m a victim of the patriarchy.

Being a short-skirt-wearing, LGBTQ defender, reader of Harry Potter, sipper (i.e. gulper) of wine, I am far too liberal for the conservatives. I’m pretty sure I’m the topic of many a prayer.

Does that make me murky gray?

What’s a girl to do? Bury her head in the sand and refuse to come out?


It’s difficult to make friends of any sort when you say something like:

After the baptism tonight, do you want to come over and watch Hells’ Kitchen?


Hey, let’s go to the Dave Ramsay conference and then go wine tasting!


We missed the church prayer vigil cuz we were out trick or treating.

Liberally Conservative

I’m one of the most Goody Good Girls you’ll ever meet (ask anyone. Seriously, I even annoy myself), yet I don’t even own a denim jumper.

I make my bread from scratch, but I’ve also taken my kids to the Anheiser Busch Factory (that’s Budweiser, and yes, the beer).

I wear sparkly eye shadow and high heels, but I believe in modesty (although the word itself is cringey).

I love my Jesus, but I’ve always hated praying over dinner because of the squirmy shenanigans going on and the fact that my hard work is getting cold (Martha, Martha, Martha…I know).

I have straight friends, gay friends, Calvinist friends, Buddhist friends, friends with eleventy-seven children with four more on the way, friends with one child and laser beam eyes that will shoot your way if you ask them how many more they want, friends who go to church four times a week, and friends who wouldn’t be caught dead in a church. Friends who would pray for my soul if they saw me in the beer aisle at the super market, and friends who consider me a light-weight because I draw the line at three. Friends who would never consider even celebrating Christmas, much less teach their kids that there is a Santa Claus, and friends who will only accept “Happy holidays,” instead of “Merry Christmas.”

Am I well rounded? Do I have such eclectic friends because I am non-judgmental, or because I am luke warm in my convictions? I honestly don’t know.

I know my liberal friends don’t feel judged by me, because they’ve told me so.

But have I watered down the scriptures in pursuit of friendships? Jesus told us to eat with tax collectors, the first century equivalent of lawyers. What to do?

Crap, I don’t even know any lawyers.

We ALL Suck at Love

I love my friends. They’re the greatest group of weirdos you’ll ever meet. But they make me sad sometimes, because while they’re yelling about someone hating them, they’re doing the same thing to my other friend.

And even if they don’t know that person personally – well, wait. That’s the problem, isn’t it? Can’t we all just sit down at a Chik-Fil-A and have a book group about 50 Shades of Gray?

Hahahaha: 50 Shades of Gray in a Chik-Fil-A. I slay myself.

But seriously, while you feel certain in your convictions, whatever they may be, slamming one of my friends isn’t okay.

Please, just stop.

Because they disagree with you, that doesn’t make them a hater.

We all suck at love, anyway, don’t we?

Who has cornered the market on that? The atheists? The Christians? The Muslims? The homeschoolers? We all at times (usually the most important times) suck at it.

“Those” People

That frumpy mom you roll your eyes at for being so religious and close minded; she’s been on a journey you’ll never know about because you never bothered to ask why she is the way she is.

That lesbian who has just come out of the closet; she was one of my only friends at a time when the religious were too busy for me.

That teenager with a mouth like a sailor and no respect; given what he’s had modeled for him, it’s amazing he came out sane at all.

That woman who’s been divorced twice; she already feels like a loser without you pointing it out.

That mom with the autistic daughter; she doesn’t need your spanking methods.

That man with the gay son; he doesn’t want your chicken sandwich shoved in his face.

Never Stop Learning

Does this make me weak, meek, turn the other cheek, we’re okay, you’re okay, all we need is love, hold hands and share a Coca Cola and hum a Michael Jackson song?

No way.

I think everyone needs conviction and passion and should never stop learning. So stop stopping the learning! Have you ever been wrong about anything? I have.

I’ve done the legalistic approach, where your spirituality is determined by the length of your hair and/or your skirt.

And I’ve also done the “God is in the trees” route, so “don’t you dare judge me,” too.

I am fiercely pro-life, but I don’t march in parades or stand outside Planned Parenthood with graphic signs, absolutely devastating the abandoned women walking in.

I love my gay friends, but I haven’t been invited to any of their weddings, either.

When I go to the library, I might leave with a devotional book and… Twilight.

This Election Year

So, what am I, in this election year?

Mostly –

Confused. And my nose is full of sand. Could someone smuggle me a podcast of unsolved mysteries and a glass of vino, please? 

What about you? Black, white, murky gray? Are elections easy for you? Seen anything in your friends that make you sad recently?

Talk to me, Goose.

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Having Friends in an Election Year