Back to the routine of church following a post-Christmas break. How does the work pile up so?
A fun and unexpected thing: Beloved consented to watch a TV show that would normally be way outside anything I'd expect her to like. She really is a culture snob... watches primarily Masterpiece and Nova, and the occasional guilty pleasure (she loves that girl on "Cold Case")...
My son asked us all to watch the first episode of the first season of "24" the other night. I'd seen it when it aired... we were all quite addicted to it in those days. And because it's about the first African American major party presidential candidate, who is under threat of an assassination attempt, it carries an unexpected freshness. Lots of talk about his significance, the historic nature of his candidacy, how critical it is for all these people to do their job and keep him alive. The story is also about the lead character's family being in jeopardy, and betrayal upon betrayal both at work and at home.
Anyway, Beloved said, "Sure." And she absolutely loved it. So much so that she kept saying, "Another one?" until we'd watched four hours worth. She came over last night for dinner and we watched another four hours (after eating the last of my homemade lentil soup). Oh my... it's just like winter 2001.
Except, Beloved's here.
I can see my family getting more and more comfortable with her... that's not hard to do, she's warm and funny and truly loves them. But I am also getting more comfortable revealing myself to them. The other day one of my children asked how long I'd known I was a lesbian. That's a question that's actually kind of hard for me to answer, and I'm not sure I answered accurately. I shared that I'd been attracted to women since college. But I actually had my first experience with another girl much younger than that, at about 13. But I sort of blocked it out, because, for a long time, I didn't let it into the narrative I told myself about my identity. I was a straight girl who'd "experimented." Except, I never got over the effect my experimentation had on me. Something kept nagging at my identity until I had to admit, in the midst of my marriage, that I was truly attracted, both physically and emotionally, to women.
That last point is critical. Sometimes it seems to me that those who attack LGBTQ people with religious arguments get stuck in the sexual component. (I truly believe they get lost in the "ick" factor... it's not something they would ever want to do, so they can't imagine why anyone else would do it... or, perhaps, it's something they very much want to do, and so they're terrified and react with verbal or even physical violence). But part of sexual identity isn't just who you want to make love with: it's who sparks your soul, who makes you get lost in a conversation until the wee hours of the morning because you can't get enough of their sweet company, who makes you laugh and forget all the terrible things about yourself you walk around believing most of the time. Attraction isn't just physical. It's emotional. It's affectional. (A real word? Who knows?)
A friend who reads here pointed out to me recently that I've backed way off some statements I made last year about coming out (setting a year-long time period for doing it). I waver. I think it gets harder to imagine coming out the more invested I become in my relationship with the people of this church. I have more to lose. But then I remember how sweet it is to have that experience: to trust someone with your soul. And I wonder about coming out into the light.
For Epiphany... a blessing, courtesy of the marvelous Barbara Lundblad:
Now may God who said '' and there was light - be light in your life.
May who said not only, 'I am the ', but 'You are the light for the world' - give you courage to be that light.
And may the Spirit which descended upon the disciples like tongues of fire be fire of light within you.
And know this - The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.