Too many times a day we can feel ashamed to be a part of the human race. When we hear the news, when we see people practically run each other off the road, when we see anyone alone and marginalized and vulnerable and when we are not impressed with our own behaviour.
Last weekend, in San Francisco I attended a wedding where the minister said
I now pronounce you Groom and Groom.
The two were overwhelmed and looked about 10 years younger than themselves up there in front of us at the Cliff House. They looked out at all of us as dozens of pelicans soared overhead, surfers in wetsuits surfed just below and the wind was wild, the sun hot.
I thought about how important it is to be ready to hear whatever our children (or anyone we love) want to say to us and just tell them how much we love them.
When my ex husband went with me to ask my dad’s permission to marry me (why did I go? Protection?) I remember my lower lip trembling. My dad never made me nervous but after years of him telling me no one was good enough for me I must have been stressed. I remember looking at my mom and dad and saying ‘please be happy for us’. It seemed tremendously important to me.
In the late 80s I worked in the fashion industry where half of my colleagues were gay men. Half of those men died of AIDS in a short period of time. I went to their funerals and was astonished to find their families were not there. The pews were filled only with people in their 20s and 30s. Their families had rejected them. They had disowned them. Their blood. Their babies.
I thought about these two young men having to tell their families that they were gay. I thought they were so brave. I did not say this as it seemed trite and a bit straight of me to pretend to know. The best man said, with a smile on his face According to the American Psychiatric Association, until 1974 homosexuality was a mental illness. He then toasted his best friend and his best friend’s new husband telling them he admired them and how it was brave to be who you are meant to be and go after what you want.
The support was palpable at the event. Each of the mothers got up during the ceremony and welcomed the grooms as their new sons.
I thought if the whole world could see this we would be reminded of how to receive a message with our whole hearts. I thought about the moments when I have done this well and the moments where, when I did not recognize the moment for what it was, did not handle a situation well. And you can’t take that moment back. And how I wish I could do a do over.
Later in the elevator, at the end of this fabulous night, one mother of one of the grooms looked at us and said
We all need to love someone and have someone love us.
It is as simple as that.
(thank you for your patience with this post. The computer crashed and published an unfinished version- hopefully you are reading this because you came back and tried again or are getting to it after it was fixed!)