The numbers were staggering really. It was estimated that 750,000 people gathered in the sunny streets of Chicago to celebrate a day of Pride. It got me to thinking – and God knows that can be a dangerous thing – what does pride mean? What does it say to each of us?
There are so many definitions and interpretations of certain words and phrases. My favorite description of the word Pride comes from a guy whose life was no easy journey. From his early days of rock and roll party boy to his latter days of service to the suffering and indigent – Saint Augustine lived a full life. During his time on this earth he found acceptance for good – no matter what dish it was served upon, and intolerance for the petty evils of society. He said, “Pride is the love of one’s own excellence.” I love those words.
What makes you excellent and what makes me excellent are never going to be the same things. We may have similarities in our beliefs or like the same foods or listen to the same music. We may have been born under the same sign or been taught by the same teacher or spoke the same first word, but just like the kaleidoscopic differences that fill every corner of this planet with unique and fabulous cultures, languages and experiences – we are all excellent in our own perfect way. It is when we embrace our own excellence that we become our most authentic selves and are able to love unconditionally.
It is in the acceptance of ourselves that we find the ability to accept and love others. The diversity that flooded our city over Pride weekend left my eyes wide with amazement. Mothers and daughters, grandmothers and grandsons, friends and families from every imaginable background gathered together to celebrate freedom, peace and diversity. Normal everyday people out to have a good time. The kindness of strangers, the support and cheers of the faces in the crowd as organization after organization marched and paraded past was too great for words. Imagine if every single day everyone showed that much kindness to each other –everyone took the time to acknowledge effort and good intentions. People smiled and cheered, waved and whistled because they were free and happy and accepted without the shadows of discrimination and bigotry looming near to stifle their perfect voices. Pride was everywhere that day.
Every year in Chicago we celebrate Pride. Every year the numbers of participants grows and grows. There is a wave of change and we are the witnesses of this remarkable, inevitable transformation in the hearts and minds of our society. One day at a time, one moment upon moment as we learn to love our own excellence – the world can’t help but want to jump on the Pride party train.
All aboard – it’s going to be an amazing ride.
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About K. Guzman
Kathy grew up all over the US - lots of east coast time. She is a surfer girl with an unabridged curiosity. A woman whose mid life awakening continues to bring her to the place she was meant to be. Her degree in Journalism/Creative Writing from the University of Central Florida is being yanked from the archives and put to good use. Her two kids are grown and rock stars in this wild world – her Harley is ready for some serious summer miles – and her heart remains open to life, women and the possibilities each day brings.