Friends, do you remember my story about “Sam” from a while ago? Well, this post isn’t about that, but rather a few more young queer friends who we met though “Sam.”
Most of you know, sweetie and I make a faith home with our friends at Solomon’s Porch in Minneapolis. I could go on and on about why and how this place continues to amaze me, encourage me, cajole me and help me become more of who God thinks I am. But that is not this post either.
This post is about Jen and Claire—two friends we met through “Sam” at Solomon’s Porch. Its about a gift—one hand made, then wrapped and given—and one that paper, boxes and tape couldn’t ever contain. It is about love and grace and finding yourself smack dab in it.
If you’ve been to our home you know about our first floor bathroom. Filled with Jesus kitch and odd religious artifacts, the main floor loo is a shrine of sorts. You see, I am a collector and lover of religious whatnottery. When sweetie and I moved in together, I had to sort of “come out” about this particular addiction. These strange religious bits used to be hung and strewn about the house, lurking about in various locations. One day sweetie suggested we should corral these items to one space, and the bathroom just made sense. When guests visit, this is generally the bathroom that they visit. Some think its a bit strange, some don’t know what to say, and then some—just “get” it. Claire, I think, got it.
Recently a letter and gift was left at our door. I am sharing it here because anything I write or say to try and summarize will simply fall flat. The letter reads:
Rachel & [her sweetie]:
I wanted to express my gratitude to you both for first being so kind to Jennifer and me, but also for something a bit more personal.
I have known I am gay since freshman year of high school, right around the same time I became a Christian. From the very beginning, I believed I had to choose one or the other; there was no way I could be both. So for years, I tried not to be gay, so that I could belong in a church. It became so agonizing, I knew I couldn’t live the rest of my life in that lie. But still, I thought if I was to be true to myself, I would have to leave the Church. The people I was surrounded by at North Central only encouraged this thinking by what they said and how they treated Jennifer and me. So I left, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. But then I heard about you two. After coming to the Porch and seeing you and hearing your talk, I realized you could be both a Christian and a lesbian. It was a revolutionary idea for me!
Finally, after years of personal exile, I feel comfortable in church again. I have never been so happy and it is because [in part—my addition] of you two.
As a token of my appreciation, I made this for you. I hope you enjoy it.
Do you have any idea how humbled by your words and gift we are? And not just the words and needlepoint, but by the gift that is your presence in our lives? Speaking for both sweetie and me, we love and value you & Jennifer so very much. You have given us the gift of remembering who we were at your age and time of coming out. Your joy and love, hope and courage are nothing short of inspiring—for us, for the Porch community, and for all who stand in the wake of your radiant relationship, a bright spot in so many lives.
We wish we could have come to Boston to share in your wedding celebration. Even though we weren’t there—know—when you took your vows, we took them too. We will walk beside you, encourage and support you. We just ask that you just keep helping us live into our vows too.
Thank you friend. For the gift, and the Gift.