That neighborhood has gone downhill,
I say, and he says, I know; my son told me
there are kids in there who claim to be
and I think, What? Wait a minute; that's
what I meant: oh, the scary homosexuals.
But I don't say anything because
I don't know what to say, or maybe I do
but know words won't make a difference,
having never made a difference for me.
God has a sense of humor, I think, because
nothing made a difference for me until
I lived 1.5 years in Dallas's "gayborhood."
Please understand: I grew up in the sticks.
For over 20 years, I didn't know
(or think I knew) a single LGBT person.
I'd never seen a male prostitute, before;
a person with facial hair and breasts; or
men in fancy dresses, heels, and make-up.
Understatement: it all seemed odd, at first.
And then, one day, it didn't. Because
people are just people: all of us looking
for acceptance, love, laughter, meaning.
All of us broken up, messed up, twisted.
I wish I could give everyone a glimpse of
the peace I've found (in Christ alone).
I wish I could go back to Oak Lawn and,
this time, live out my faith. But I can't.
I can only send my love from afar, also
my thanks to the transvestites who shared
blue lipstick with me in the bathroom;
to the gay boys who didn't know me but
helped me call home when I was too drunk
to press the buttons; and to all of you who
shared your stories and break, to this day,
my heart. I don't know what to do with
what you told me. I mean, I'm still a Baptist.
But I want you to know: I don't think
you're scary, or any more sinful than I
(not so comforting, I know, considering
all my old "woman at the well" behavior).
And I'm sorry for any and all hatred you
experience from "the church." We're all
just a bunch of sinners; on our best days,
we do a piss-poor job of reflecting the
endless love and beauty of Jesus Christ.
Don't listen to us, ever. Listen only to Him.