My Flannel-y Act of Resistance

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Megan Gahan -Flannely Act of Resistance6

My eyes widened as I scrolled through the comments section. Insults, scorn-laced words and grand “unfollowing” declarations [insert major eye roll here] were being flung across the thread, like some sort verbal dodgeball match. The game was being played out by hundreds of strangers. They all had an opinion they felt compelled to announce, often in ALL CAPS.

This embarrassing display was occurring on the Facebook page of one of my favourite writers. Her words had brought me back to faith more times than I could count. The hundreds of thousands of followers on her page told me I was far from alone in my admiration.

She had just given an interview where she was asked her thoughts on just about every hot-button topic: politics, abortion, gay marriage. I read through her answers and was so impressed by her wisdom and candour. This was not a puff piece and she knew her responses would be polarizing. But she spoke up for what she believed to be true and right and biblical. I can’t even fathom the courage that took. Women are already held to wildly unrealistic standards. But for Christian women—ones with massive platforms to boot—the expectations are, in all respects, completely impossible.

People get worked up when their favourite show is removed from Netflix, so I wasn’t surprised there was disagreement over the opinions brought up. And, to their credit, there were a few individuals who disagreed quite respectfully. Many who agreed and wrote heartfelt words of gratitude. But those comments were like minuscule diamonds tasked with lighting up an inky black, desolate cave: beautiful, but not nearly enough to overtake the darkness.

And the darkness was terrifying. Individuals berating and shouting hate at a woman they had adored and revered just the day before. It frightened me to my core. That a crowd would turn so violently, so aggressively against someone they hailed as a hero of the faith caused me to lose a little (ok, a lot) of faith in my sisters and brothers in Christ.

The author was scheduled to speak at a conference in a week, and I clicked over to the conference page to stop myself from reading more comments. I’d desperately wanted to attend—many of my favourite leaders were in the line-up. But there were limited dates on the West Coast, so I dismissed it as simply not in the cards for me this year.

Then I saw what was being posted on the page. People complaining, demanding refunds for their tickets, proclaiming the event was not in alignment with Christian values. I was horrified. And grieved.

My boys were sprinting around the island, laughing hysterically and hollering for more cereal. I poured another two bowls of Cheerios and wiped my watery eyes with the back of my hand. I felt helpless standing in my kitchen, in my suburban neighbourhood, while the Internet exploded.

I wanted to help. Well, I didn’t really want to help. What I really wanted was to start typing my own comments in ALL CAPS. I wanted to tell everyone with a bee in their bonnet to go get angry for victims of human trafficking. Go get angry for children being affected by the terrifying events in Syria. Go get angry for homelessness or poverty or lack of clean water or racial injustice. Get angry for something that truly matters, something that will offer a light to the billions who desperately need it. Who are dying for it, quite literally.

Adding to the noise and the chaos wasn’t the right answer. At least not this time. It would have been the easy answer, the knee-jerk answer, the one that filled with me a quick sugary high. But that reaction would have been completely self-serving.

Still, I had to do something.

So I bought a ticket. Not one to the other side of the country. I discovered the conference was being simulcast, so I reserved a ticket and a hotel room ten minutes from my home. I wanted those conference numbers to show that when the Internet hits the fan, there were women who were going to stand with their sisters. I packed a tiny suitcase, squeezed my boys goodbye and showed up. In my flannel jammies on a white hotel room bed with at least eight pillows on it.

As I watched this woman bravely preach the house down on my computer, I practically wept all over the keyboard. This had been the right answer. I may have been in another country, on the other side of a screen, but I felt like I was standing with her. And as I fervently prayed over this soul I had never met, I whispered to my screen, “I’ve got you, Sister. I’ve got a pathetically minuscule diamond, but I’m offering it anyway. It won’t illuminate this scary cave, not even close. I just hope you’ll catch a glimpse of it when you’re convinced the light has been extinguished for good.”

My act of resistance was small. Ridiculously so. I didn’t write a viral blog post or stir the pot or come out swinging. But I bought a ticket. I got a babysitter. I carved out time I didn’t think I had. And I showed up in my flannel jammies.

I’ve got you, Sister.

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Megan Gahan
After over a decade in the fitness industry, Megan now spends her days chasing two pint-sized tornadoes disguised as little boys. By night, she is a writer and editor for SheLoves. A proper Canadian, Megan can often be found in the woods or at Tim Hortons. She writes at megangahan.com.
Megan Gahan
Megan Gahan

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