The Difference Between Love and Hate

When someone loves you they will do whatever they can to put a smile on your face.

They will not look for opportunities to make you upset or mad.

They will not ignore your calls, or disregard your feelings when you are feeling afraid, down or hurting.

They will not hide from you when there is trouble between you.

They will seek to be a part of your peace and healing

And the truth will not be far from their lips.

You won’t have to ask them or beg for their attention.

What is important to you will be important to them.

They will be there for you; they will try to understand you.

When someone loves you, they will look for every reason to hear your voice,

See your smile,

And bring you joy.

(Sending texts back and forth, all day, will not suffice, rather, this can become like a cruel tease);

Your face will be what they desire to see at the start of each and every day, or as often as possible.

Your voice will cause them to smile and laugh, perhaps outloud, even when you are not around.

The memory of your smell will fill them with warmth and anticipation,

And the thought of touching you will enable them to face the most frustrating of moments and people.

When someone loves you there will be a genuine sense of safety, happiness and freedom of mind and body.

Laughter will be more apparent than sadness or tears.

True love fills us with courage, not cowardice.

It took me most of my life to learn the difference between love and hate,

And it is one of the greatest, and hardest lessons that I have ever, ever had to learn

From the ones who did not and could not find it within themselves to love me,

Like they said that they would.

© 2018 annalise fonza, Ph.D.

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Who Are You? My First Experience as a Humanist Celebrant

I have been certified as a Humanist Celebrant for a little over a year. Humanist Celebrants, who gain their status through the American Humanist Society, which is a part of the American Humanist Association, are legally qualified to perform weddings and any other special ceremonies throughout the fifty states and beyond, just as any traditional preacher, rabbi, imam, guru, or spiritual leader does so amongst their membership or community. It has been an awesome privilege for me to recycle or reuse skills that I once developed as a United Methodist Church (UMC) clergywoman but now as a Humanist Celebrant, and to be there in an official capacity to celebrate with those who prefer to leave the idea of god, or even the mention of a god, out of their most memorable moments. Though it is quite different from what I experienced as a UMC pastor, and I am in the process of developing new skills and creative new ceremonial formats and languages, it is a great way for me to support other atheists, freethinkers, humanists, agnostics and to stay grounded and in community with others. A few months ago, I was surprised when a reporter from CNN called me to inquire about my experience; the reporter claimed that CNN was “documenting atheism” and trying to learn more about it. At that time I had not yet been invited to officiate a wedding as a Humanist Celebrant.  

All that changed on Monday, March 24th, 2014, and I officiated my first wedding  as a Humanist Celebrant here in Atlanta, in Piedmont Park. On Monday, July 28th, 2014, an article that I wrote about my subsequent experience with the Atlanta Fulton County Probate Court was published and featured at The Humanist. Here is an excerpt from that article, but feel free to click the link in this blog to read all about it. And, if you are looking for a Humanist Celebrant in your city or state here is how to find one.

The truth of the matter is that anyone who openly identifies as I do must expect public scrutiny and possible rejection. People in the United States still discriminate against atheists, even though more and more people are using the word “atheist” to self-identify. In other words, just because one uses the term openly and proudly, doesn’t mean he or she will be accepted without question or won’t face rejection. In addition, the religious bigotry and social entitlement here in the South is so pronounced—by people of every color and background. Many, including African Americans, openly discriminate against or exclude other black people from social and professional circles when they learn that those others are atheists.