So, I will have been married for four whole months next week. While I can say that I'm ecstatic that we're approaching it, I have to admit that I feel a bit ashamed. I feel ashamed that I've not continued to pursue this project with the intensity that I had originally hoped to. I was talking with my husband a couple of weeks ago about this blog explaining that I felt like I had run out of things to write. I mean, really, my mother kind of shut it all down in the best way possible. It's hard to feel like a writer after that! When she wrote that post, she was visiting from out of town to help us plan decor for our wedding. At the time, I had reached the point where it seemed necessary to focus on the marriage preparation stage of my life and less on the gay Christian blog part. However, after this recent talk with my husband, I think we unintentionally put more than just the blog project on the back-burner.
Around February, we began prefacing everything with "After the wedding we will: [find a church to get involved in / make a better plan to find inclusion in church / begin better conversations with those around us / etc.]." When I shared my empty feelings surrounding this blogging project, he asked, "I mean, have we really been doing anything at all worth writing a blog about?" That's when it hit me, I've had little share and process because I've done little in effort to find a home within the church.
This past summer, my husband and I went to New York City on a small, but exhaustive summer trip. Our original goal was to visit the city to see a Broadway play that we had both been wanting to see. Late in the night we boarded a red eye flight that put us on the ground in New York City at 6 A.M. on a Friday. As we entered the terminal, we immediately discovered that beyond the terminal, we were about to experience something even more exciting: Pride Week in New York City.
Before diving into the details, I think it's worth noting that I'm somewhat of a PDA-giver. I know, you just threw up in the back of your throat a little bit. This is just who I am! Now, my spouse is exactly the opposite. So, being the natural instigator I am, I love attempting to hold his hand in public or give him a quick peck just to make him blush. Of course, my message of "I love you" doesn't exactly come across, because he's so quick to panic, searching the street around him for onlookers. When he does that, I may try and hold on a little tighter just to playfully get him a little more worked up. As it turned out, New York would be my masterpiece of PDA attempts with him. I'm pleased to say, the results couldn't have been any better:
Happy Pride To Us!
During the morning of our arrival, we immediately took off to explore the city. First on our list was to head straight out to Brooklyn. On our way back into the city, I made sure we stopped to walk the full length of the Brooklyn Bridge (something I've literally dreamed of doing with my future spouse for 10 years). Once we reached the Manhattan side, we stopped in front of a rainbow-flag filled City Hall to rest. As we stood there, I went in for the attempt. I reached down and grabbed his hand. Immediately, my husband went into 'go mode" scanning the area. Much to his chagrin and my joy, there were hundreds of people around. I'm not sure if it was heat exhaustion or if he was just reassured by the rainbow city hall behind us, but he actually let me hold on for a bit longer than usual! About that time we got up to walk to our next destination when a lady passed the two of us gay, hand-holding-floozies and she absolutely made our day. She looked at both of us in the eyes with a wide smile and said, "God bless the two of you! Congratulations!" and then kept on walking! I just stared at my husband with a wide, confident smile as he rolled his eyes back at me. It must have made an impact, because he let me hold on to his pinky for a couple minutes after. I felt like I had won the lottery that day.
The next day, we ran across a similar situation. In another one of my husband's more comfortable moments, he allowed me to hold his pinky as we passed through Chelsea (i.e. the most LGBTQ concentrated area of the city). As a man passed by us, he smiled and said, "Happy Pride, guys!"
I almost feel stupid writing about these simple situations, but they highlighted something so much larger for me. See, after we finished our musical on Saturday night, we decided to walk to Rockefeller Plaza to get dessert. On our way, we crossed the infamous Fifth Avenue passing a massive rainbow-colored window display in a major retailer's store. I said to my partner, "Can you believe this? For this whole week, the largest city in the country has been celebrating us." We paused and looked at each other. The small events of the weekend all seemed to make their truest mark on us.
This trip came just after the Pulse Night Club shooting, a week of staring at the Church wondering why it wasn't responding like it had for all the other mass terrorism events of antiquity. It came about a month after being married to each other, where we we're finally getting just a first glimpse of what God was going to enable the two of us to create together. We sensed a familiar feeling that we get at local pride events in such small, fleeting doses. But here, seeing a full city of pride, the feeling felt so much more legitimate, less artificial. Here we were witnessing the largest city in the country give hope to the two of us.
Pride. We felt genuine pride. Not an arrogant, frustrated, self-centered, sinful pride, but the type of pride that one feels for stepping out into something unknown against all odds around them.
The next morning, we woke up early to make our way down to the Empire State Building where we would witness the start of the NYC Pride Parade: Hundreds of thousands of people celebrating the acceptance they're finally able to experience in life. It became the perfect ending to a fantastic weekend in the city.
The summer has been great, the start of my marriage has been life-changing and I've got drafts that need to be finished. My husband and I have found our healthy discontent yet again and we're ready to resume our search to find something great between these two communities.