Like Words Together Reflections from the deep end of Practice.


Mom’s Pastor, Marriage Rights, and I

Mom was in and now back out of the hospital again over the weekend. Has made for some rather up & down energy for me. I reminded myself, as Hogen has so often reminded me, that at least this is a stress I'm rather adept at dealing with. Mom's been sick that majority of my life. I've been to so many doctor's appointments and into so many hospitals over the years. It never is comfortable, but the knot of anxiety in my throat is familiar, known.

Sunday night we went up to visit her after having been out at Great Vow all day for service, a Jukai ceremony, lunch, and CK met with DT. It was a very long day and we were a bit tired up at the hospital. Mom's pastor and his wife showed up to visit her. I am uncomfortable around him, perhaps even more so these days. He represents a stress that is more new, but it brings up old, familiar pain.

During Mom's wedding ceremony a few years ago her pastor made a point to include his opinion on marriage. As we all stood there, I was Mom's maid of honor, her pastor went on about the importance of marriage being between a man and a woman. It brought pain to the entire day for me.

Right now with the trail of Proposition 8 in California I feel even more sensitive to this issue. Sitting there on Sunday with the person I love, but am constitutionally barred from marrying, I was aware of anger and dislike arising. These stress emotions take me right back to childhood feelings of not fitting in, not being wanted. Old stress, new triggers.

When I am around this man I try to stay polite, not giving rise to the anger I feel around this man, just watching it inside of me. I also try to focus on the compassion and concern he shows my Mom. In some ways it is more confounding and painful that this compassionate, loving person is so wrapped up in his own fear and judgment that he vehemently denies CK and I the right to the same benefits he enjoys.

I don't linger too long in my Mom's decision to stay with this congregation despite knowing how they feel about me and my partner. I know she's made a point to tell many people, including the pastor, that they are being narrow-minded, yet still some hurt arises for me that she continues to share spiritual practice with these people. I can feel the angry hurt of a child who feels abandoned, betrayed arise in this.

These feelings make this one of those times when I recognize that the most important thing I can do is Metta practice, to offer loving-kindness to myself and to CK. If all I can do is be polite to him and mindful of the need to offer love to the hurt I feel, then that is OK. When it doesn't hurt quite as keenly I can even try to offer him loving-kindness in hopes that if he is freed from his fear he won't feel the need to judge and deny couples like CK & I.

Love, Good for Everyone
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