“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.”
Hebrews 10:23 (NIV)
The plans began immediately. Gay marriage was legalized on a Friday morning, giving all the sodomite cities of the left coast a full day to prepare an entire weekend’s worth of celebrations. There would be a rally on the streets of West Hollywood, followed by all night partying (of course). Then, it seemed, most of the gays of Los Angeles were heading up the coast to San Francisco to continue the festivities. It made sense. That weekend just so happened to be Gay Pride for San Francisco. It was like it was meant to be. I got invitations from a few friends to join in on the craziness, but I had to say no.
“My friend Will is in town,” I said. “I promised him we would hang out.”
“Is Will gay?” They asked.
“Yes, he is most definitely gay.”
“Invite him then, come on!”
But really, it didn’t make any sense. We wanted to catch up and reminisce for the first time in almost a decade. A giant, night-into-day rave would have made that difficult. Besides, chatting with Will sounded way more fun, even on the night of such a historic event.
We bought a flask of whiskey and headed for the beach at dusk. The Manhattan Beach pier stretched out into the ocean, dotted with nighttime fishermen and couples enjoying the waves. We sat on a bench and put our legs out over the water, passing the bottle back and forth between laughs, wincing with each swig.
We talked church and romance, old friends and aging parents. We made jokes that everyone in our Bible Study was probably gay, and they would come out one-by-one over the following years. The joke had no basis in reality. Most of our friends were married, actually. I smiled and said, “Well hey, now we can get married too,” and we toasted the distant Supreme Court behind us some 3,000 miles.
Will had been there throughout my most formidable church years, so we had a wide breadth of material to discuss. We talked Pastor Hank and his controversial energy, and Mr. Frank and the scandal and the victims (those friends of ours who fell for his charisma and deception), and then Cate and how maybe I would turn out straight and marry her, and Briana and how she never gave up on the church, no no, she never would give it up, and not to forget my brother and sister and mother and father and their views and how they are unshakeable rods stuck far down, like the pillars of that pier dug so deep that the water could rise and flood and the pier would remain, like a monument to resiliency, can’t you see Will, I know your mother and father and brother and sister, I know they are all fine with you and your “lifestyle,” so even with all of that, can’t you see what it’s like over here? and yes Will I stopped talking to my parents and no Will it did not matter (the resiliency), so I have given up on trying, and I think they have given up on me, maybe, but then there’s the blog, he wonders, why do you keep writing it then, and reading that book, that book that hates us, that book with the 100% unreal God, that book that made it illegal for us to marry until just hours before, why do you keep engaging with it? and Will may be smart and all with his Ivy League education, but right now, he’s not very original, because everyone asks, everyone wonders, why Jesse, why are you still reading that book? and it’s hope… I think, it’s got to be hope, it’s hope that there’s an answer there somewhere, that all of that experience and doubt meant something, that my fears matter.
It’s just that. Hope.