I had a lovely conversation with my accountant today — tax time, you know. I’ve known her for many years and she was happy to hear that my long draw-out divorce is finally complete. We caught up on what’s been going on with each of us in the last year and eventually the conversation came around to a subject we’ve discussed for years and that is one of the reasons I like this lady so much.
She is a white woman in her late fifties or early sixties. She and her husband have one daughter, a recent college graduate, and the three of them are all members of a Lutheran church (I’m 90% sure it’s Lutheran). Her husband is 14 years her senior and gay. I have had the best conversations with this woman over the years about love, devotion, acceptance, tolerance, God, self-awareness, friendship and family. She told me today that she and her husband are finally at peace and that they have decided to stay together and love each other and be the great friends they’ve been all these years. She told me about the handful of family members they have shared this with over the past year and their unconditional acceptance and love (partly because they already knew, as family members usually do). And she told me of the unconditional love and acceptance they have received from the people they’ve shared this with in their church. That brought a huge smile to my face. I was so relieved to know that this man can be who he is and still find love and acceptance within his faith.
She told me that when her husband dies (and I’m guessing she’s assuming he’s going first), she can’t wait to stand up at his funeral and say, “You all knew a gay man–and he didn’t come on to you, and he didn’t hurt you.”
I have a meeting this week in Olive Branch, Mississippi.No, that’s not the prank, but that alone would have been a good one too.Olive Branch is about 15 miles from Memphis, Tennessee.We flew into Memphis.Before I boarded the plane in Baltimore I noticed that there were a LOT of black, church-looking people getting on the airplane, acting like they knew one another on some level –not too familiar, but familiar.I saw an inordinate number of long denim (although quite fashionable) skirts, up-do’s and, yes people, hat boxes.The people seemed too excited to be going to a funeral (besides, when does a whole family book the whole plane to fly to a funeral?), so I thought maybe this was a family reunion, until we landed in Memphis.
When we got to baggage claim I noticed that hat boxes were pouring off of every conveyor belt.Old couples in matching sable coats were walking through the airport pushing dollies with 5 and 6 suitcases…for 2 people!!!I couldn’t understand what in the world Memphis had going on that this many people dressed the same way, packed in the same excessive manner, with HAT boxes were descending upon the town…until I got outside to Ground Transportation.Outside the automatic doors was a maroon van with a trailer for luggage and on the side of it was the seal of the Church of God in Christ.People, I (me, Lex, who just posted about how I’ve gained enough distance from my “church” experience to try to figure some things out about my belief system) landed smack in the middle of the Church of God in Christ 100th Annual Convocation!!! Continue reading →