I have a story. It's a great story. But I am racing the baby nap.
If you have never had children, try to imagine tying a gallon and a half of milk around your neck, eliminating most of your muscle tone in your abdominal area, setting your alarm to go off every two hours during the day and (in my rare and ever blessed case) once or twice at night and you have life with a two month old nursing child.
Oh, and you are sticky. Just, everywhere. Mostly under your boobs.
This was the story when Luke and I went out. I put on my fancy new heels, my skinny (haha) jeans and ate Thai food for the first time in my life with about 20 friends. Some were new, some were not, but they all were crammed together in an overwhelmed and steamy but cheerful restaurant on the Main Street of Waynesville, NC. We all took turns passing my happy, drooly baby around and sweating freely while we made friends and chatted.
Warning...baby is waking up...
Then we bundled off to a very hot version of Annual Conference. If you don't know what Annual Conference is, ask your favorite Methodist. After they wake you back up, you will know that Annual Conference is an Annual meeting of all the clergy of the United Methodist Church of a certain area. Ours is held at Lake Junaluska at a picturesque and under air-conditioned venue.
Ok...she's quiet again...
Next up was the reconciling worship service held in the small chapel at 8:00 pm on Friday. Attendance was not expected. There was a baby on my chest. She was as warm as the air. Half way
through the rain blew in the open windows and no one moved out of the way. The refrains repeated until everyone sang without hymnals. The testimonies shared stories of hope, fear, shame, and love. We shared communion. We were community. We shared the humanity of reaching out and touching your neighbor with trust born of walking through fear and confusion and choosing to grab that hand anyway.
The reconciling movement in the Methodist Church is the group of people who have been hoping and praying for inclusion for LGBTQ persons. For decades that group has met in that chapel at that time and clung together knowing that their souls contained the divine spark breathed into them at the beginning of time, but standing together to ask each other, right?
Me too, right?
That night, there were people standing in the aisles because the chapel was full. Tears washed our faces. Maybe now the twilight will break into dawn.
Even though it didn't. We voted to not say anything. Our conference decided that we would not voice our support at the meeting of the larger church. It was a close thing. But we are still afraid of the other. We are still afraid to trust that when God created and called God's creation good, there wasn't an asterisk.
This is actually the story that was in my mind to tell when I sat down.
More baby squeaks...I'm typing so fast!
We lingered outside the chapel, reluctant to leave those stones drenched in sweat and tears and Spirit. But soon the conversations lulled and my heels were cuter than comfortable, so we left. We were just going to run by a friend's house to pick up Luke's car and "play a quick game of corn hole. I promise it will be quick."
I was tired. (See reference to gallon and a half of milk around your neck)
As we walked up the gravel drive we could hear the sounds of tuning instruments over the crunch of our feet. A blue grass band that had been playing at a local venue had found their way to the back porch and found that they hadn't finished playing for the night.
The bean bags thunked and the music floated up into the black sky with the lightning bugs not caring about the acoustics. My baby slept in my arms and my feet hurt, but we were encountering beauty. So much beauty. Someone held the baby while I danced a waltz with my lawfully wedded husband, and it was sweet. My feet still hurt, but there was music playing and someone sang high and tender and the rain had dampened the air until you could forget that there was anywhere else to be.
Faster, faster!! Baby squeaks...baby squeaks!
Someday, during another nap, I will have to add the bit where I used an old tee shirt as a diaper.
It was one of the full nights when Spirit needs to let go just a bit and fly. When the singer in the band asked if I wanted to two-step, I said sure and we giggled and tried to figure out who would lead. Her arm on my elbow and mine on her shoulder and we twirled and tripped and Mama got to dance under the stars on the back porch in super awesome shoes.
Made it! Oops...there's the dryer.