Elizabeth Gilbert is a firecracker of a human being. After writing several best-selling books and building up a huge fan base, she’s now in a position to be a true altruist – and she regularly takes advantage of that position.
Her Facebook page is dedicated almost entirely to spreading positive messages and wise words, as well as sharing requests for help from her readers.
And a few days ago, she posted one of the most beautiful statuses that she has ever shared – dedicated entirely to a gay 62-year-old woman from South Carolina. We have reposted it below so that you too can read it, share it and take inspiration from it…
BY ELIZABETH GILBERT
Love your neighbour.
I can’t stop thinking about a woman I met at the Oprah tour this weekend. She was an audience member who shyly approached me, and asked if I could give her some advice. She was African-American, in her 60s, humbly dressed, with a face full of worries.
She wanted to know how to reconcile the deepest problem in her life, which is that she is secretly gay, but that she belongs to a church in her small town in South Carolina where she has been taught forever that homosexuality is a sin, and that homosexuals will burn in hell.
Because of these teachings, she has had to hide her true self for years, and the suffering is killing her.
She said, “I’m 62 years old. I have a secret partner, and we have loved each other for 30 years. But that church is the center of my life. It’s my community. I love my neighbors there. I’m a deacon. I teach Sunday school. I believe in God. I need my church. I don’t want to go to hell. But this secret is destroying me. I’m too old to lie about my life. But if I tell the truth, I’ll be exiled from my community and condemned. What should I do?”
There are times when people ask me questions that make me just want to crumble into a heap on the floor in humility and grief. I wanted to bow down and kiss her feet. I wanted everyone to line up and kiss her feet — this beautiful soul.
Then I was hit with a spike of rage: How DARE someone tell this beautiful, kind, loving, grace-filled, faithful, decent, suffering woman that she is going to hell?
I don’t even believe in hell, but I believe there’s a special place in hell for people who tell other people that they are going to hell.