Listening at Jesus’ Words from the Cross
"All must be friends,
All must be loved,
All must be held dear,
All must be helped."
- Teresa of Avila
Thursday, May 14, 2009
My Friend's Wedding
My friend got married a few weeks ago. It was a lovely wedding, small and intimate. The setting was gorgeous: a small park near where he lives. The day was beautiful. It was warm, the sun was shining, trees were blooming. My friend and his new spouse are clearly in love. I stood among the small group of guests, grinning from ear to ear. He's been a good friend for a number of years; I love seeing him so happy.
So why am I left with a bittersweet feeling, after what was, in many ways, a perfect day?
My friend is gay. [Note: THIS is not the problem!] He grew up in a religiously conservative family. Some of his family still don't know he's gay. Heck, some of our friends still don't know he's gay. The members of his family who do know chose not to be present for the ceremony. It broke my heart. They missed something wonderful. For a variety of reasons, my friend's marriage has to be on the down-low. I understand the reasons, and I support him in his decisions.
And yet, I found myself feeling a bit melancholy. It was odd to be so happy and feel so sad at the same time. At the reception, I kept looking at my friend and his new husband, so in love, and feeling sorry that the people who've loved him the longest were not there.
On the other hand, this was my second legal gay wedding (since our wedding was totally illegal). When I came out in 1988, I never expected to see legal gay marriage in my lifetime. Let's be real: when I came out in 1988, I never expected to live the out, proud life I live now. So that when an agent of the state said, "By the power invested in me by the state of XX, I now pronounce you wedded spouses," I got a little teary. Both times.
We've come a long way. We're making progress. I now have hope that in my lifetime gay marriage will be recognized nationally. I also have hope that more and more people who are inclined to distance themselves from their gay family members will come to see that we are the same people they have always loved. I remain clear in my conviction (which is just as scripture based as those who would hold another view) that God loves all of us, straight and gay.