Twisted Scripture: Three Riffs on The Corinthians and the Lingering Effects of Bill McElvaney on The World

I.

can you get the door please it’s love/for Jack & George

please
remove your hat
Love has entered the room
please remove your shoes
peel away whatever layers lie
between you and the earth
wiggle your toes
(you’re doing it right now, aren’t you?)
laugh
Love is in the room
stand and shake loose your bones
shift to one foot, to the other
like a child about to board the ride
Love sees you there
so clear your throat
and hum a song you’ve known forever
Love is waiting
arms extended
open-handed
grab hold
let it swing you around
with your head thrown back
wet-eyed and wonder-filled
laughing
from your belly
Love is here

(Written in February, 2014, as Jack Evans & George Harris were married by Rev. William McElvaney, a retired Methodist minister who disobeyed the United Methodist Church and began performing same-sex weddings. The men, the three of them, made an impact that day, in the Church, in Texas, and in the world.)

men in the moon

II.

Love/Riffing On The Corinthians

Love
Takes out the garbage three nights in a row and
Doesn’t boast about it.

(Well. Maybe a little.)

Love
Sits quietly in the passenger seat
And does not complain when the car veers onto the shoulder
Again.
Again?
Really, again? Really?

Love
Does not let you leave the house with a stain on your shirt
Broccoli in your teeth, or rogue chin hairs.

Love
Lets you pick the movie
Even though the last one you drug her to? Torture.

Love
Always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres
Except for that time – that one time,
When you were unlovable?

No, even then.

Blessed words and blessed ways,
People and things,
Ticks of clocks and pages of calendars and
the best damn dog you ever had –

These things are finite.

Voices are stilled. Hearts cease.
Even memories fade.
And even Love –
No.
Even then.
Love. Even then.

Love.
Love.
Love.

(Later in 2014, Bill McElvaney performed another same-sex wedding, for mutual friends. I really hate to wrap presents, so I offered a poem instead of a gift, and was delighted when they asked to read it in the ceremony.  At the rehearsal, I asked Bill if he needed to hear the poem, and he said “No, no. I’d rather experience it in the moment.” He quickly added, “If that’s all right by you.”  Afterward, at the reception, I sat down for a few minutes with Bill and wife Fran (another one of my heroes). Bill was tired. His voice was so soft that I had to pull my chair closer to hear him. He told me that he was dying. Chemo hadn’t worked, and it was time to call it. Bill was okay with death, he said, glancing over at Fran “and grateful to know such a love.”  He was ready to go. “Except…” Angry tears swam in his eyes then, and the tremendous spirit that lived within him poured back into his body and shored up his voice. Bill struck his fist on the table, angry that civil rights for LGBT people were still an issue, angry that he’d not lived to see real change in his lifetime, and anguished  as his beloved church “must change according to the teachings of Jesus, or it will die.” As so often was and still is the case, Bill McElvaney was right. A recent poll on religion and faith finds a significant decline in the number of people who identify themselves as Christians. The biggest increase was seen in the number of people who do not identify with any religion, or any faith at all. )

bill and fran

Bill and Fran

III.


This Love/for Danielle & Andrews

Whole mountains fall whole
Prairies buckle and bend and
Push skyward

Love

Nothing nothing nothing
Stays the same
Not even

Love
Itself

All the sneaky pete glances does she like me does he like me
All the oh my god I think I

LOVE

You
All the swaying swooning this please let this kiss last forever

LOVE

All the Sunday morning pillow face and no I took out the garbage last time
It’s all part of this

Love

This my god we’re going to do this aren’t we
All the broom jumping and glass smashing and dancing wild
Anticipation
That led you
Into this space
Right up to this breath and this breath and
Oh my god

We’re holding hands

This

LOVE

Has changed you
You grew into this moment
You will grow into the next
And this one tiny enormous infinite point of light
This jewel this seed this grain of

LOVE

This truth
This
Magic
This

LOVE

Is everything
This

LOVE

All that is was, all that it is
This

LOVE

Goes with you

This

LOVE LOVE LOVE

Has changed you
This

Love

Has changed us

Love

Is changing the world

LOVE

(Another wedding, another opportunity to avoid wrapping paper and offer up a poem. Danielle Pickard and Andrews Cope are so crazy in love and yet so grounded, they inspired this spoken song/sermon that demanded audience participation, an insistent, passionate, joyful chorus echoing “LOVE!” It was a grand evening, and for me, a wonderfully soft landing after a rocky year. )

danielle andrews jump

Danielle and Andrews jump, no broom necessary. (AutumnLight Photography)

All in all, Love in 2014 endured way too many damn losses. One of those who stepped over into The Great Whatever was Reverend Bill McElvaney.  I know beyond knowing that he was present with the world on June 26, 2015, breathless and teary-eyed, fists clenched and shouting “LOVE!” as Jack Evans and George Harris were declared legally married, in a Dallas County courtroom.

jack and george

Amazing what you might find when you open up your People Magazine these days….

Advertisements

About Vicki Caroline Cheatwood

Writerly. Rebooting. Evolving. Searching for great chicken salad.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s