5:00 Alarm. Calendar check. Big day ahead. Gotta get Katy to the airport and Jackson to school in time to finish homework, then arrange lawn care and landscaping for the house nobody has bought from us in Lynchburg, and get myself to the Capitol in St. Paul. The Marriage Equality Rally is today. Must remember my stole.
6:00 Morning rush was compressed. Fast showers, lunch made, school things gathered, coffee poured, weather checked. We’re nearly ready to get out the door. Last minute didjas (didja take your allergy meds, didja get money for dinner, didja…) done. C’mon! Let’s go!
7:00 Both drop-offs went cleanly. Airport, school. Checking in now on Foursquare at Dunn Brothers Coffee. Time for another calendar check. Then a moment to explain.
Here we are, nearly 24 years into our marriage, with fifteen years of parenting and several moves under our belts. Each day we three depend on each other. It’s like a dance where we’ve learned the steps by doing them, stepped on each other’s toes more than once, and once in a while stepped back to listen to the rhythm of it all. It’s what families do.
By now, Katy’s settling in at the gate waiting on her plane to board, Jackson’s in the school library printing out his homework, and I’m taking a few minutes to collect myself. Each of us is launching into the day. And the foundation of it all is the mad rush of the family dance.
There are some things we count on as we navigate the next steps:
- each other’s trust and unconditional love
- the support of our wider family
- gainful employment
- a loving, safe, Open & Affirming church
There are other things, of course: breathable air, clean water, healthy food, stable government, good schools… We don’t take any of these for granted.
But the thing that holds together the dance, that gives our steps purpose and meaning, is the church. As Open & Affirming, the church is the community that shares with glbtq families as it does with allies like us the good news that, no matter what, we are loved and accepted. For all its faults, the church is where we hear the story that God loves us, treasures our good relationships, encourages in our own busyness and in our ministry with others. It’s where we know people will be there for us, and we’ll be there for them.
We usually take this for granted, as much as any pastor’s family can. But many families cannot.
That’s really what being Open & Affirming is all about. Not just tolerating each other’s existence or grudgingly acknowledging someone else’s rights. It’s about standing up for each other because Christ stands up for us. Honoring each other’s journey. Resolute in faith and trust. Vulnerable yet strong. And in all things, all things: Love.
When the dance spins wildly and the day seems out of control (here comes Katy’s text: flight delayed, ugh), we know we’re part of something larger than ourselves. We need to know this, deep in our bones. It’s become unfathomable to me how any church can still deny that every family, every individual belongs.
8:00 Still, there’s work to do. It’s time to call Virginia Garden Supply for bedding plants before the next open house back in Lynchburg this weekend. Then I’m off to the Capitol in St. Paul to stand with other clergy in support of a marriage equality bill moving through the legislature.
It’s good to know Spirit of Joy doesn’t just tolerate what I do but sees my advocacy as part of its ministry. Our family depends on such love and trust. We’re grateful to be part of it. After all, it’s what Open & Affirming churches do.