I haven’t written in a very long time. I’m awfully sorry my blog has been so stagnant. My life is a current that runs in so many direction my thoughts tend to get caught in an undertow. I seem to have so many things going on that my passions are being ignored. I guess that keeps me out of trouble and paying bills so there is that. The reason I am writing now is that I had a great experience this weekend, one you might not expect, and it’s got me contemplative.
I was honored this past weekend to marry a couple who had been together for over 20 years. Let’s call them Ed and Matthew. The older gentleman was a Vietnam veteran and had gotten out of two very abusive marriages to women before finally coming to terms with his sexuality. I was actually the first person he had ever come out to in a public manner, that was only two years ago. Prior to that Ed’s life was so secretive that only lifelong friends knew about his sexuality. After opening up to me he began to let other new friends know about his life and reveal who his partner actually was.
Let me preface this with the fact that Ed grew up in the deep south where when he was a kid they were still hanging black people and executing Mexicans. He was taught from an early age that anything different was shunned and that if it didn’t strictly adhere to the Bible (oh the irony) it was desecration or sacrilege. He was so afraid not just for his life but also for his soul.
After returning from Vietnam life hadn’t changed much where he was from, but when he got to travel to new places he learned that not all people were so heavy handed with the Bible. Ed was starting to accept himself a bit more but still lived a modest closeted life. After two brutal marriages trying to appease family and his God he finally decided to try being happy with who he was. He met Matthew and knew he was the one. They spent the next 20 years living together pretending to be roomates in a town that barely accepted people of color or anything remotely homosexual.
Ed and Matthew became the custodian of many children over the years, fostering several kids who needed a loving home and a fresh start. They then wanted to adopt some of the kids but they were not married yet. I had harassed Ed about them getting married for the last year and a half after it became legal across the country. Ed was reluctant. He was afraid they would get harassed when they went to get their marriage license. His biggest fear was that his kids would be picked on in school. He was so afraid of coming out for other people now that to was going to affect his ability to adopt the kids.
When Trump got elected to office, the Senators in Texas got emboldened and started writing a bill to stop benefits to same sex spouses for employees in the state of Texas. They also wanted the First Amendment Defense Act, which protects people who discriminate based on their religious beliefs. Texas started becoming a hotbed of anti-LGTBQ movements within the state government. Fortunately they could not revoke the right to marry but they sure as shit were and still are trying to do everything else in their power to whittle down the rights of the LGTBQ community to nothing as fast as they can.
The pitchforks of the vehement Right wing must have prodded a proverbial fire under his butt because he started to worry about the future of his family. While some state government officials were markedly against his life “style” the social workers were just thrilled to have a loving home in which to permanently place the kids. Ed had been going through chemo and was coming to the realization that if he didn’t bind this family with marriage it would dissolve in his passing or maybe even sooner. At the last meeting on the adoption it became clear that he needed to take the plunge. He needed to finally accept this last part of his journey with full clarity and love.
Together they went to the courthouse and applied for a license. The clerk didn’t bat an eyelash. The room had a few raised eyebrows and mumbles but no one bothered them. He asked me to officiate a long time ago while he was still hemming and hawing over it. He asked me again that day. Of course I said yes. I had gotten my Officiant Certificate the first time he mentioned it. I was ready.
So in the company of a dozen kids, a few close friends and family I had the honor of uniting two people in a union that took him close to 70 years in the making. They overcame such adversity, even within themselves, to get to this point. Ed is still fighting prostate cancer but he’s hopeful. His hope comes from his partner Matthew and the kids they promised a new life to. It’s not the storybook ending that is promised to us but I like this ending better because he now has finally accepted that his storybook comes from an entirely different collection and it’s filled with even more love.
It isn’t meant to be easy. It doesn’t appear on command. It doesn’t let you fall for whomever you’d like. It surfaces neither at the most opportune moment nor in the most convenient, it’ll pair you with someone you might never have expected. It’ll put you face to face with endless obstacles. But in the end, none of that will matter because it’s how you overcome its obstacles that will define your love. It may not be practical, but love is ultimately the best thing that will ever happen to you.