Deana and I laugh sometimes – we have, I don’t know, four thousand anniversaries. No joke. The day we “got together” (aka, professed our love), the day I asked her to marry me, the day we became domestic partners, the day we reunited after a small break, the day she asked me to marry her, the day we held a Commitment Ceremony, and the day we legally married. Well, I wrote that but I am sure I am missing at least 10 more…..but you get the drift. Some of these dates we absolutely celebrate, others we mention and maybe stop to hug one another, and some we sometimes miss entirely and laugh when we realize it.
Ah, but I digress…….
In November 2009, after years of being “in the closet” as a couple, we stood in front of family and friends and committed our lives to each other. Our children were in the ceremony, Deana’s Mother and most of her siblings attended, as well as tons more family and friends. It was an amazing day and an amazing night, it was foundational to so many aspects of our relationship just as a wedding would have been, and it warms my heart just thinking about it. As a side note, we legally married in a courthouse in New York in December 2011 as well. Boom!
But here is the thing – in the past, when I’d think of our Commitment Ceremony, there was always a residue because of those who were not there. Not people who couldn’t make it due to distance, health, or other issues, no……the residue was related to those who chose not to be there. Those who said they loved us, but didn’t believe in our lifestyle choice. Those who said – in love and in whatever other adjective you can insert – that they believed we were walking in sin or at least outside of the will of God. And, in all transparency, THIS residue covered everything for me. I could look at videos or pictures, reminisce about some great times……but always this piece would touch every inch of happiness like an oil slick on the ocean. It hurt me, and even with the super jolt of joy I would feel and when I’d consider how grand my life has been because of my wife……I would be this hurt person that always – always – ended up hurt.
Some people like being a victim, actually get energized by processing negative emotions. I suppose I can be a drama queen, I am Italian after all, but I can’t say I am energized by it. In fact, I prefer to find resolution, to implement peace and solutions and change and love and……..hurt messes that up. Yet, I was the one who seemed to live there in key areas of my life, especially my very important relationship with Deana.
So, today I was reading an open letter a gay man posted online to his parents. His parents had refused to attend his wedding three years ago. I only read the beginning, because it was so filled with hurt and feelings of rejection that I reacted strongly to it. I know you must imagine I resonated with it, and if you do I don’t blame you. Actually, I stopped reading and immediately prayed that this man’s hurt be covered, washed away, so that he can feel the peace that Deana and I felt. As I was doing that, I seriously stopped dead in my tracks (picture a cartoon character shaking their head violently as if to say “what the heck?!?!!?!”), and said out loud “What are you talking about? PEACE???”
But it’s true, I have felt peace towards those close friends and family who overtly or nicely rejected our relationship. And I hadn’t even realized it until today. That’s not to say there is reconciliation; oh no, there are still some who refuse to see Deana or who will not add us to FB or send veiled “we are praying for you” notes that we are sure imply they are praying we each somehow find a good man to love and marry. But I do mean that, more often than not, when I think of these people my heart melts with love for them. I find reasons to extend empathy to them…..maybe they are too old to understand the whole LGBT thing, or maybe they don’t mean to reject us per se but they sincerely believe we are doing wrong, or whatever. And, truly the shock of all shocks, I enjoy seeing them when I can and love interacting with them EVEN THOUGH they are missing out being around some pretty amazing people in my life. As a byproduct, those who HAVE decided to be part of our life and all the many related memories of our interactions BLESS ME and no longer have the residual hurt that once was everywhere. The old memories and new memories are free and clear and bring amazing joy to our hearts. Today, realizing all of this, I was just amazed and needed to share with you, my 2.78 readers.
You see, Deana and I are not activists, though we realize some assume we are just because we are lesbians. But we truly don’t live to convince anyone to believe what we believe. Everyone wants to be accepted I suppose, or at least not rejected by the ones they love, but Deana and I don’t really have axes to grind. However, today’s revelation made me see with my heart that all things DO work together for good for those who love God (my bad paraphrase of Romans 8:28). And, I’m reminded that – had I or Deana gotten in the faces of those who we saw as rejecting us – I am pretty sure we would not have any relationship with them at all. And these are people that we love and want a relationship with, not random people who leave anonymous packages of condemnation in our mailboxes. But, most importantly, I thank the Good Lord that he has removed the hurt that I held so long towards those I love and pray that others can find this peace in their own lives.
For those in the LGBT Community who have been rejected by family and friends, please don’t lose heart. I GET IT. I KNOW how it feels! “It gets better” is not just a catch phrase. Feel free to reach out to me if you need to vent, have questions, or need to know more about how God truly loves you. There IS a way to process the hurt, I promise.
Oh and Deana, Happy Anniversary Babe! 🙂