What if Equality in Marriage did become the law of the land? Well let me ask you this: What if your college-age daughter fell in love with another young woman, and six years later loved her still? And what if you belonged to a place of worship that around this time chose to examine the possibility of becoming a place welcoming to all? What if one day during this 18-month-long period of prayer and reflection designed to let people really examine this possibility, someone stood and expressed concern about how “these gay people” might fit in. I wonder how you would feel hearing the man in front of you turn to his wife and with such a pained expression say, “He’s talking about our child!” Would it surprise you to learn that other parents present that morning were thinking the same? ‘These people’? They speak of our children, whom they have known since their infancy!
How would you feel if your place of worship then voted Yes, saying “Let the word go forth that we in this 170-year old community of faith choose to be known as an Open and Affirming congregation?” If, one full year before same-sex marriage became legal in your state, the leaders expressed their delight in holding a Ceremony of Commitment for your daughter and the one she loved?
I only know how I felt when my husband stood at that service and prefaced the tender fatherly poem he was about to read by saying he knew he spoke too for the much-missed dad of our daughter’s beloved, gone now into death’s quiet corridor. I know how I felt when he then paused and looked over at Chris and said aloud before the hundreds there gathered that he could not be happier about our girl Carrie’s choice in a partner.
I think it might also lift your own heart to hear the verses he then read from Gail Mazur’s “Young Apple Tree, December”: “What you want for it you’d want for a child,” it goes, “That she take hold; that her roots find home in stony winter soil; that she take seasons in stride… “That she know in her branchings to seek balance. That change not frighten her, rather that change meet her embrace… that she find her place in an orchard.”
And if, in the years soon following, babies should come to the house of your children, would you not rejoice and be glad seeing them cradled so tenderly in their strong young arms?
I think you might, if it became personal for you this way. I think the realization might dawn within you that this is all God has ever asked of us: that, committing to one another over many years’ time, we spend ourselves in deeds of care and kindness; that we strive to make a place where any who shelter under our care can take root, and grow, and one day find their own place in the orchard. our Carrie….