Sam Lamott teaches his mom, and us, about love and grace

Anne and Sam Lamott when he was little

Anne Lamott with a young Sam

Sam Lamott is my new hero. His mother, Anne, whom I adore and whose books I read for the same reasons I call a good friend — to relax, to laugh, and to feel understood and at home — made a couple of really awful comments about Caitlyn Jenner on twitter yesterday. I won’t repeat them here, but they were snarky and mean and insensitive. This was really surprising to me, and saddening.  But then her son, Sam (of Operating Instructions fame) replied to her with such love and grace, it left me stunned:

“The pee pee tweet is not truth, love, or funny. I’ll explain it all. Let’s start by deleting it.”

“You can be part of the noise, but when the noise quiets down…you’ll wish were part of the change, it lasts longer.”

And then just as gently and articulately he asked for grace for his mom:

“Everybody gets to make mistakes. It’s a shame this lesson is so public, but the best lessons are often painful and embarrassing.”

“I know. It’s shocking. When the adrenaline wears off, remember that before you knew about trans issues, you didn’t know.”

“I learned about trans life from a close FTM friend who was willing and patient to answer my ignorant and incredibly personal questions.”

“Trans life is so outside pop culture, and my moms small town life. This is how the truth gets out, this is how we evolve. We talk about it.”

Anne retweeted Sam’s quotes. And then, after a while, she apologized.

“I am so sorry to have caused pain to people in the transgender community, esp to parents of transgender children. You are loved and chosen.”

Before you knew, you didn’t know.Tweet: Before you knew, you didn't know. @jfkantrowitz

The whole exchange gives me so much hope that beneath the yelling and arguing and hyperbole that I’ve been seeing in my Facebook and Twitter feed, there may actually be some new, fragile-green growth. Before you knew, you didn’t know. Listen to those whose lives you are discussing. Listen to their stories and ask questions (ask, first, if it’s okay to ask questions, though). And offer grace to others who trip and stumble along the way. I hope to follow Sam’s example in my life and in my writing. And I hope that Ten Thousand Places can be a place where we practice that same loving, and listening, and extending grace.

Come join me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and let’s try! (I’ll tell you a secret: I’m feistiest on Twitter!)