I had a lovely home visit with an active member of the congregation, an older widow. She's one of those who is not ok with my newly disclosed status.
Like many of the visits I've had lately, our conversation was far-ranging, and I learned much about her that I hadn't known before.
At one point, she said, "I wish you'd told us a long time ago."
I repeated that to Beloved over dinner tonight at our favorite Italian restaurant. She sipped her wine thoughtfully, and said, "What, before they loved you?"
Odd, isn't it? To be complained to about the fact that they love me, and that makes this hard for them. Please know that there is not one ounce of bitterness in my tone when I type this. I say it all senza rancor. But it is a strange thing, to feel apologetic towards these good people because the fact that they love me disrupts their categories and forces them to reckon with something that might... just... be...
Wrong. They might be wrong. About gays. They might be wrong, that we're all damned to hell for our pursuit of what they insist on calling "our lifestyle", as if I'd planned falling in love to go with the curtains and the tchotchkes.
I've gently explained my understanding of scripture, but it has fallen on deaf ears. As I knew it would. And it's not as if I'm trying to convert anyone (to my lifestyle, or acceptance thereof... though with the former, I've been told, fancy toaster door prizes will be awarded!). It's really about the relationships. I want to stay in relationship with these people. I want to continue to be their pastor, even if they vote to end my pastorate. I still want to be their pastor. I still love them.
As they still love me.
Even though they wish they didn't.