Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A story about gay allies

I share the following poignant and timely story from an associate and gay rights champion, Carol Lynn Pearson. You can visit her online at: http://www.clpearson.com/

"TALK! SING! LOVE! A number of weeks ago I received a phone message from a very faithful LDS woman I had attended church with for years, Diana Jones. (Diana gave me permission to tell this story using her name.) "Hi, Carol Lynn. I wonder if you'd let me come over and visit with you. I'd like for us to talk." My heart sank. Oh, no, I thought, Diana wants to bear her testimony to me that if we just follow what we're told on issues of homosexuality, all will be well; I love Diana and I don't want to have that conversation with her.

I didn't return the phone call for several days. Then I thought, This is rude--I've got to call her back. So I did. "Hi, Diana! I hear you want to talk with me. I'll be glad to have a visit, but there are two things I do n't want to talk about. One is the church and the other is proposition 8. I'm guessing that takes away your reason for wanting to talk to me."

"Well--maybe," she said hesitantly, "but let me just tell you what I've been thinking. As you know, I sing in this semi-professional chorale for women, and I've learned that a number of the women are lesbians. I've gotten to know several of them and I just love them so much! I saw the pain they experienced last fall around prop eight and everything, and I thought--this is not okay--there has to be a better way. Last weekend we had a retreat for the chorus and two of my lesbian friends and I sat up in our pajamas half the night just talking, talking, talking. I told them about you and your work and asked if they'd be interested in meeting you. They said, yes, they would love to meet you. So--that's why I was calling, Carol Lynn, to see if you might be willing to spend an evening with me and my lesbian friends and just talk."

"Diana!" I laughed. "I would be thrilled to talk with you and your lesbian friends!" And so a couple of weeks later, five of us met at Diana's. We ate her good chicken soup and talked and talked and talked. Allie, who last summer married her partner and with her is raising two little boys, said, "It's amazing--the most conservative thing the gay community has ever done is the thing that has caused the most outrage--our wanting to marry." There were tears, there was laughter, there was love. All of us left thrilled at our conversation and determined to meet again, which we have done.

A couple of nights ago I went with Diana to hear their chorale perform in the chapel on the campus of nearby St. Mary's College. Stunningly gorgeous pieces sung by straight women and gay women, their beautiful voices blending into one.

Behind the singers in their soft green blouses and black skirts was some marble statuary: Jesus on the cross, and above that--a resurrected Christ with his arms out. I loved looking at the two art pieces as I listened to the women sing. A Course in Miracles tells me, "Each day, each hour and minute, even every second, you are deciding between the crucifixion and the resurrection."

Our human family has had such a struggle deciding to give one another life instead of death. We have made progress, become more sensitive on many issues. At this moment in history, the question of how we respond to our gay brothers and sisters is before us. Do we wish for them crucifixion or resurrection? Are we prepared in our hearts to give them life or to give them death?

The massive human chorus of which God is the director needs, I believe, all of our voices."

You can also read, "Goodbye, I love you" by Carol Lynn Pearson - the deeply moving story of her saying goodbye to her former husband, as she took him into her home after the divorce and nurses him in preparation for his death from AIDS.

Carol is a phenomenal woman and one whom I was blessed to meet during my stay in Utah.

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