I recently made a friend, Michael, through the internet. He lives on the East Coast, in the “other” Portland. He’s a gay man who reached out after he saw my viral video. I keep noticing these interesting parallels in our lives. My brother who I’ve written about is named Michael, my new friend Michael has a brother named David. We both live in Portland, and he mentioned that he and his husband are buying a house right now, just as my wife and I sign papers this week on our new house.
I don’t know if any of these parallels mean anything, but I guess I don’t believe in coincidence. It seems like the world is trying to tell me something. I suspect I know what I’m being reminded of: We are one. It’s simple, and maybe even trite, but it happens to be true. Sometimes I need an in-my-face reminder of this axiom.
I love this time of year. I’ve been noticing lately this warm feeling towards the people around me, particularly co-workers and family. I find myself profoundly grateful for my warm home and the food I eat. While I find shopping tiresome, I love thinking of people far away and finding gifts to express my fondness for them.
Okay, I admit it, I love Christmas.
Having left the Christian church with some vehemence as a young man, for many years I found myself rejecting the holiday. This was probably spurred along by the fact that my birthday falls on December 25th, and my special day has always been slightly overshadowed. As my disaffection for the consumer culture grew, I found myself dreading the season and the attendant capitalist frenzy. But I’m turning 40 this year, and I guess maybe I’m maturing. While these things that turned me off to Christmas are still true, something bigger and more important is shining through.
Lately I am finding my patience for the homophobic individuals I encounter to be waning. Some of the civil discourse I engage in is only a choice word or two away from complete devolution into mud-slinging. I’m having a tough time remembering that I am one with some people. But I’m still trying, because I don’t think that I can help them to see themselves as one with our LGBTQ family by telling them where to stick it. So I’m trying.
Christmas encourages us to celebrate our oneness; to give each other gifts to help make the cold time more bearable; to sew the quilt of our community a little tighter and keep us all a little warmer. I am grateful for my new friend, Michael, who I am stitching into my quilt from across the country as our lives run parallel tracks.
So this is my Christmas wish; for myself and everyone. I wish for us all to remember our oneness, and to strive in our actions to sew our quilt a little tighter.