WARNING: This piece contains a spoiler. Read on at your discretion.
Timothy Green could change the world. Although he is just a fictional boy on the big screen in The Odd Life of Timothy Green, this kid would no doubt get the job done.
I think he'd choose to start with the gay community. The strife, the bullying, the fight for marriage equality, homophobia, the collective hurt -- it's all there, awaiting the wisdom and power of this 9-year-old with leaves on his legs.
And Timothy Green may be gay.
In some ways he holds to the stereotype of the young gay boy that many of us were: doe-eyed and sensitive, artistic, soft, a lover of life, insightful and wise beyond our years, not particularly athletic. And then there is the female best friend who stands by Timothy Green, captures his attention and heart, and roots him on. Many of us had one of those whom we still think about and adore to this day.
But there is a big difference between Timothy Green and many of us. There is no anger or blame in him. There is no residual rage or hurt from the injustices he's lived. There is no intention to control or change anyone or anything.
Timothy Green doesn't struggle. He isn't interested in power or being right. He has no desire to win or even trying to win. Timothy Green isn't interested in changing minds. He is only interested in living his all-too-short life to the fullest. He seems committed to understanding others, forgiving their shortcomings, and honing in on what is special about each person. He is a student of the world. And as the student, he becomes the teacher, naturally, just like in real life.
"Power struggles become uninteresting to you when you change your intention from winning to learning about yourself," Gary Zukav wrote in his book The Heart of the Soul. Timothy Green knows this.
And that is the magic of watching Timothy Green in the movie. That's the part of him that resonates with us. Somewhere deep inside, we want to give up the battle so that we can win the war. We want peace. I do, at least.
Zukav says that power struggles prevent intimacy. What is concerning about this possibility is that intimacy is the very thing that we need to overcome the divide that exists between gay people and everyone else, and even between factions within our own LGBT community. There is no coming together without intimacy. And because of this, I am left wondering how we can become intimate with the very people with whom we are embroiled in a power struggle. Can we fight for marriage equality if we're aggressively criticizing those with a strong religious conviction against same-sex marriage while simultaneously hoping to help them understand that we want what they want and why we are worthy of it? Can we rally against conservative and anti-gay churches while getting to know them in a way that will lead to understanding and desired change?
We may be winning, for now. But there are some signs that we've lost our way in seeking real and lasting change when even our otherwise smart and supportive allies are taking swings at the perceived enemy in cyberspace.
Can we have harmony in the midst of discord? Timothy Green would say no. The former must replace the later.
But before he says that, he puts his arms out wide, closes his eyes, and looks up to the sun. And he awaits the answers he seeks. We should all do this before acting, speaking, deciding, and pontificating -- before being so sure we are right.
What Timothy Green demonstrates is that our humanness should come first. We should lead with that when we speak. We should take the first step with that. We should close our eyes and breathe before the camera goes on and puts our head in the television sets of people all over the world. We should reach our arms out before we stand up at a public meeting or approach a house to knock on a door, election buttons in hand. We should give pause before we write an email blasting our supposed enemy, sharing with our supporters why the others are bad today and why we need more money to continue the fight. We must be clear about what it is that we want before we take any action to seek change.
Zukav says that it is not our behavior in the power struggle that causes distance but our intention. Timothy Green's intention is always obvious, always simple: love.
While this intention may sound overly simplistic, if not downright crazy, as we battle across the country for marriage equality, protection under the law that makes all of us whole and safe, and societal acceptance, if not celebration, it just may make our story a more triumphant one.
What if our intention was not to win but to be compassionate?
What if we were committed as a community to becoming self-aware rather than self-concerned?
What if we became responsible for our own inner turmoil as a community and did not blame anyone?
We can and should continue the journey toward equality for all of us, and for anyone else in the world who does not enjoy equality, justice, and freedom. It is right, and what is right will prevail. But I want to start calling it a journey instead of a struggle, fight, or battle; those words now seem inaccurate and not in keeping with the intention for a united community. War is not the answer.
Timothy Green would agree.
Kids get this stuff. They know a life of righteous struggle against our own community creates war of some kind. They know that there has to be a better way, and that there is.
Maybe we'll give up the struggle of most adults to manipulate and control, and the power struggle will collapse, and the pieces of justice and what is right will fall into place. That could be our collective intent if we chose it.
The next time you have a chance to be a Timothy Green, consider closing your eyes, arms wide out, and looking up to the sky, even if just in your heart and head. And ask this question: What do I want for myself and others?
The Timothy Green in your life will be watching.
Follow Jonathan Kipp on Twitter: www.twitter.com/JustOutPortland