19 June 2009

The Story of Trevor

Trevor was loud and a bit brash, as 3 year old boys often are. Full of energy and nearly running his parents ragged all the time. His mop of unruly golden hair and striking green eyes melted many a female heart from little pre-schoolers on up through the grandma set, so he sometimes got away with things he shouldn't. But inside, his heart was as good and golden as his hair. If he found a bug crawling along the baseboards, he would coax it onto a piece of paper and carry it outside to set it free. He would share his Goldfish crackers without being asked. In short, a normal, good little boy.

Trevor's kindergarten teacher was the kindest and most loving of women. As she taught her class their ABCs, she noticed that Trevor was left-handed, and she tried gently to get him to try doing his letters with his right. It didn't take, but she kept trying. She was patient and loving like Trevor's mother. Trevor wanted to please her so he did his best. And everything he did with his right hand was totally illegible, no matter how hard he tried. Left handed stuff was picture perfect though.

By the time Trevor reached third grade and began learning cursive, his teachers and his parents had become a little less gentle and a bit more demanding. You really should switch to your right hand, they said. Lefties have a really hard time in life, you know. Everything is designed for right-handed people. You'll smudge your homework, scissors won't work well for you, even your car trunk will be harder to open. Trevor tried hard, he really did. His left-handed penmanship by now was not only legible, it was remarkably good for an 8 year old. His teacher noticed, but still insisted: "Trevor, you really shouldn't be using your left hand. Right is right. That's the way we are supposed to be." Still, it didn't take.

When Trevor reached junior high school, his left-handed penmanship was so good that local artists had noticed and suggested he do calligraphy. He tried it and showed remarkable skill; word spread and he began receiving offers for paid jobs. A great thing for a junior high schooler. At home and school however, parents, teachers and everyone else turned up the pressure and inside Trevor was really beginning to hurt and be confused. "We love you, Trevor," they said, "and we know that being left-handed just isn't right. Right is right. It's the way we were designed to be. You really have to change! We love you and want you to be happy and we know you'll never be happy as a lefty in a world that's right. God does everything with the right hand, remember? We take communion at church with the right hand. We make covenants with the right hand. There's a reason they call left 'sinister'! Right is right, Trevor! Please, we love you, you must change!"

But after thinking about it for a long time, Trevor realized that he knew who and what he was. He knew right would never be right for him. He knew his inborn talents were all in his left hand. He knew that using those talents God gave him was what made him happiest. He couldn't understand why everyone said they loved him so much but pushed him harder and harder to be something he wasn't, never was, and knew he never could be. He had leftie friends who faced the same pressures and they regularly spoke up and protested, but all their loving family members and friends insisted. Right was right, they said. We love you, otherwise we wouldn't push you to change.

By the time of Trevor's junior year in high school, his church and others had had enough of the leftie dissidents. They formed the Choose The Right Coalition to support a proposed new law mandating that everyone use their right hand to write, all the time. Only their right hand. For months before the election Trevor's parents festooned their house with posters that said things like "God Speed The Right." Every Sunday they sang "Choose The Right" at church. "We love you," his parents and church leaders said, "please please please change and choose the right. We love you so much, that's why we want you to change!" And when Trevor and his other leftie friends didn't, they found themselves mocked, harassed, gossiped about, taunted, sometimes beaten up. By other kids at church, even, all under the loving supervision of his loving parents and loving church leaders. God hates lefties, the other kids said. God doesn't hate me, Trevor had always thought. He loves me. But eventually, Trevor began to wonder.

The proposition won, and became known as the Right Or Flight Law. Trevor's parents, teachers, and now his church leaders ramped it up. "Please," they said. "Please Trevor, you must change! We have to obey, honor and sustain the law. God wants you to choose the right! We can't let you live with us and God won't either if you don't change. We love you so much but we just can't have any lefties breaking the rules! We won't associate with you anymore if you don't change! You must never bring any of your leftie friends around! We have to protect our purity! That's why we're pushing you so hard to change, because we love you so!"

Trevor thought of something he'd read. If you love something, let it go, give it the freedom to fly and be what it truly was meant to be. Those words resonated so strongly with him. Wasn't love supposed to be kind, not use force, not punish, not threaten, not be haughty or self-righteous, not think badly of anyone else, but be patient, hope, endure? How could he change something that had always been there, that he never chose, that was obviously the repository of some God-given talent? Why should he want to?

By the time Trevor turned 18 he was used to being ostracized in the name of love. We love you Trevor, his parents said, that's why we won't let you bring any of your leftie friends over to the house. We can't support your illegal activity. We love you Trevor, his church leaders said, that's why we won't let you participate at church like the Righteous Kids do. So Trevor turned more of his time and attention to his growing art and calligraphy business. By this time he'd saved enough money to buy a nice car and was getting ready to move out of his parents' house for good. To someplace where he wouldn't have to face the relentless loving hostility and pressure to Choose The Right.

On his 18th birthday a letter arrived in the mail. It was from his church. It said "Dear Trevor: We love you and want to meet with you at 6 a.m. next Sunday. We have been told that you refuse to Choose The Right. Because we love you, we want to help you make amends and to help you Choose The Right. You must attend this meeting. There is no other way. With love, Your Church Leaders."

Trevor showed up more out of curiosity than anything else. It was early morning, still dark outside. He sat in a large room by himself, facing 15 men. They said "Thank you for coming Trevor. We love you and want to help you Choose The Right. If you can't, or won't, then we will show our love for you by taking away your church membership because we just can't have lefties here. We know you love us too and that you understand. We would love you even more if you Choose the Right. Will you?"

Trevor said "I have tried all my life to be what you say God wants me to be. When I try to do what you say, all I feel is conflict and anger and misery. When I follow what my heart says God made me to be, I feel happiness and peace. Don't the scriptures say we'll know in our hearts what is good and right? I have been nothing but what God made me to be."

Pandemonium ensued for several minutes, as Trevor sat calmly. "Trevor," said the leader, "now we see that you are unrepentant. God has said that only those who Choose The Right can go to heaven. We love you and if you are not willing to Choose The Right so you can go to heaven, then we must push you out of the church here on earth too and make sure you never sully heaven's door with your rebellious leftyness. We love you so much Trevor, and that is why we must shut you away from God forever. We must protect Him and not allow any lefties to approach. Especially you. We love you Trevor," they said as they revoked his church membership and privileges. "We love you Trevor," they said as they forbade him to ever take communion again. "We love you Trevor," they said as they canceled his baptism. "We love you Trevor," they said as they locked the doors of heaven and left Trevor outside.

With that, everyone arose. One by one the men who had just smiled as they lovingly cast Trevor out of heaven shook Trevor's hand and smiled again. We love you Trevor, they said. Some gave him hugs. Some cried and begged him to Choose The Right. We love you Trevor, we love you so much. There's the door. As long as you are a leftie, you can never come back.

Trevor walked outside. By this time the sun was high and bright and he blinked for a moment as his eyes adjusted to the brilliance. He gazed up into the vivid, shimmering blue of a perfect summer sky, felt the cool breeze wafting a faint scent of flowers through the air. "God," said Trevor in his heart, "do You hate me? Must I cut off my left hand and choose only the right from now on in order to see You again? I need to know."

Trevor waited. He trusted the scripture that said sincere prayers would be answered. And the answer came, clear as a bell, as clear as any inspiration he had ever felt. "Trevor, my son, I know what you are, and I approve."

And from that day forward Trevor walked in the sunlight, with a happy heart.


Yudanashi said...

Alan, This made me smile! Although I was kind of expecting a different ending with the whole "Trevor Project" but I was glad fo rthe Happy ending.

Ezra said...

Did you write this?

Alan, you didn't tell me you had such a creative streak in that legal mind of yours.

I hope someday I can know in my heart what you seem so sure about.

Ned said...

/wiping away tears/

Beautiful story, well told! I think you should get an illustrator and publish this. I couldn't help but picture our friend in Las Vegas who is probably feeling more peace than the "loving" men who sat in judgement of him.

Romulus said...

Thank you so much for this, Alan. It was wonderful to read.

Good to be Free said...

Thanks Alan, I looked for a long time for an analogy to give to my wife and this is the exact one that I came up with, not put in such nice words of course. You've got a gift for language that makes me jealous. Thanks for sharing.

Sarah said...

Awesome! So, did you write this or find it somewhere? It is amazing.

You and Scott seriously need to write books or a book together or something.


Tim Trent said...

Rob, look at what a young friend of mine, Grasshopper, has to say in My Name is Grasshopper and I’m Left-Handed writing on a site that helps gay teenagers.