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A Christmas Float, a Few Boos, and An Abundance of Love

Sometimes I wonder if this movie’s message is still needed.

And then something happens that reminds me that hate and fear is still out there and needs to be combatted with love and grace.

Last night my family and I had the pleasure of joining our friends on the Lakeland Youth Alliance / PFLAG / Polk Pride float for our Lakeland Christmas Parade. It was exciting being with our friends, having our kids on the float with us, sharing smiles, waving (like we were important), and love to the thousands of people lining the streets.

It was surprisingly emotional to see people of all ages LOUDLY cheer for the message of our float (Deck the Halls with Equality for All) – immediately recognizing the pain in many of their pasts.

I almost lost it when we passes a group of teens who cheered for us – imagining if I had been a teenager struggling with my sexuality, an the message that such a float would bring – that I am not alone.

And then I was reminded of why At the End of the Day is a movie that needs to be made.

Three times during the parade a couple of thirty-something guys booed us.

Loudly.

No harsh words. No terrible language. But those words weren’t needed. The hate was still obvious.

But the great thing is that the boos were drowned out by the cheers of people around them. Love pushed though.

I think my wife Teresa’s blog post summed it up nicely.

Last night our family got the privilege to ride with the Lakeland Youth Alliance & Polk Pride float for Lakeland’s Christmas Parade.

I learned a lot of things last night.

I learned that the city of Lakeland is a huge, beautiful community that comes together and for that- I love our city!!!

I learned that the Lakeland Christmas Parade is HUGE- the number of people and the route we rode was quite magical.

I learned that cheers and smiles and peace and love signs make your heart warm up very fast.

I learned that boos and name calling can quickly crush your spirit and sit with you much longer than in the moment- as it sits with me now.

I learned that I am part of a community that deals with these emotions every day and for that I am sorry.

I continue to learn that at the end of the day that we all deserve love; there is much we do not know, however, there is one certainty: God is love, and we are all made in his image.

Our family sends you peace and love this year!

Let us be a community of love, grace, and unity.

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