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Journalist Ann Curry appeared on a news program to promote her new project, which focuses on feel-good stories of people re-connecting with those who have had a positive impact on their lives.

But first the anchors wanted her to talk about a dark day from her past. They kept asking her about being let go from NBC’s Today Show. It was reported that Matt Lauer, now accused of sexual impropriety, had had Curry fired.

Even though she was clearly uncomfortable, Curry spoke in generalities about her experience, hoping to get back to her current project. It occurred to me. Isn’t this also the creation of a hostile environment? If she keeps stating she wants to look forward and not talk about a painful event and that boundary isn’t being respected, isn’t this a form of abuse as well?

And I wondered if #MeToo is not just about men in power, sexually harassing or abusing women. It’s also women, in a conversation, not hearing another woman saying, This is something that makes me uncomfortable. I’d prefer not to talk about it.

There’s an orthodoxy forming that could become just as exclusive as the boys’ club has been. I noticed that the women who started Time’s Up didn’t include the earliest voices of #MeToo, such as Rose McGowan, who was vocal in her criticism of Meryl Streep.

There’s a danger that a genuine groundswell may become another party that only a few are invited to attend.

I’d like to propose another hashtag: #YourTime, which is to say, tell your story in your time. When you’re ready to speak, we’ll all listen. If you don’t feel like talking, or even offering an opinion on these issues, that’s your prerogative, as well.

Advocacy is a lot like faith. There’s no such thing as one-size-fits-all.

Many years ago, when my father was in the hospital, he was tended to by a wonderful nurse.  She was so good that I wrote a letter of appreciation to the director of nursing.  I let the director know that this nurse took care of him so warmly, even going so far as to clip his nails for him.  Well, apparently, nurses are not allowed to clip patients’ nails because they may inadvertently cut the patient with the clippers, which could lead to litigation.  From that point on, she no longer interacted with any of us, even as we tried to wave hello to her. She’d been reprimanded and re-assigned.

I felt terrible, but knew I had to leave it alone. There was no way to fix it and all I could do was walk away.

In the news today, it seems that Kathie Lee Gifford was planning to take out a full-page ad in support of Matt Lauer, whose reputation took a hit when Ann Curry was re-assigned.  This ad was signed by every Today show employee… except for Ann Curry, of course.

After Lauer said he wouldn’t feel comfortable with the ad running in the paper, Gifford abided by his wish not to run it; instead, she went on entertainment news shows and recounted her own largess. I can’t help but think she missed his point on purpose for a little bit of time in the spotlight.  She’d probably say she was just trying to help.

In the same way, sometimes it’s hard for us as people of faith to think that our best intentions are unwelcome.  And that sometimes, the most gracious thing we can do is just walk away. It happens to everyone, even politicians and billionaires, as this article shows.

Once, when a neighbor was sick, I wanted to post a prayer request on a faith website.  Luckily, I ran it by a relative of his first, and he recoiled visibly.  “Oh, no, no, no.  He would never want that.” Good thing I asked. You can’t force someone to accept a prayer as a good thing if they see it as a bad thing.  I ditched my plan and re-assigned myself to other, more productive tasks.

Sometimes, our good intentions just don’t pan out, and we have no choice but to walk away. We can still pray silently for people, but if our best effort results in something negative, it’s best to re-assign yourself. Plow your own field and let God plant seeds in your neighbor’s yard. Or, more simply put, let go and let God.

Have a Mary Little Christmas

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