I spent this Labor Day weekend (as I’ve spent the last three) at a weekend retreat sponsored by an organization called GALA (Gay and Lesbian Acceptance). It’s a group we’ve become more involved with over the last few years.
I’ll have to admit that the first year we went, I was a little tentative. I wasn’t sure who would be there…what it was going to be like…who I might know…who I would get to know…
But there was no reason to worry. This group of people–many of whom have been rejected by families, friends, churches–were very accepting of our family. They drew us in–and we became part of each other’s families.
We have shared stories–stories of coming out, stories of being parents/spouses/siblings of one who has come out, stories of being members of faith communities that have accepted (or not) the coming out…
We have laughed as we have outbid each other in a silent auction fundraiser–sometimes going home with unexpected items!
We have eaten together, both casually and at the banquet each weekend.
We have shared our talents together in a talent show (and sometimes the word “talent” is a little bit of a misnomer!)…and everyone’s willing participation has been accepted with delight.
For many of us, this is the one time a year we see each other. Yet the friendship always picks up where it left off–or perhaps a little deeper, if we’ve been able to maintain contact on Facebook or via other means.
This year we missed some specific folks who were unable to come because of health issues. They are part of our families as well–and we worry about them just as much as our blood relatives.
And finally, we share together in worship, meeting each other–and the Divine–at the table of the Lord’s Supper. This is often a place and a time of healing…a place where we learn anew that there is no “we” and “them.”
We” and “them” are really just “us”, children together of the God who made us.