A conflicting tornado of emotions always snatches me up and plunks me down in the midst of this Pride Weekend. I exult that finally in some sectors of the world a monolithic understanding of sexuality has opened onto a spectrum of dazzling, rich colors. Our gender-varied God exults. But I also grieve that my friend Jim is not here to experience it and continue in the work of this important revolution.
Jim died suddenly in 2010 at the age of sixty-six after a passionate life as a gifted artist-priest-pretend/straight-out loud gay man. I loved him in all the nooks and crannies of his being, and miss him keenly this weekend. Feast with me on his poem from Pride Weekend New York:
Corpus Christi: New York “87”
Sunny Sunday in late June.
Joyous and free.
Searchers and seekers
Walking with dignity and pride.
Approaching the Cathedral:
Blue barricades, blue flashing lights
On cop cars and paddy wagons;
Blue shirted police arm to arm
Protecting the Cathedral.
The front steps blocked by
A blue Army in blue berets
Shaking rosaries, thumping Bibles
Yelling “Sinners Sinners” as we passed by.
“Shame, shame, shame,” we murmured
Softly in reply.
I looked for Jesus beyond the barricades.
“Thank God,” I said.
At 3 o’clock the parade stopped.
A city fell silent.
From the Village up Fifth Avenue.
Coming closer and closer
Passing over us
Until the whole sky was filled with
My heart burned within,
I remembered all who died of AIDS.
Gazing at the heavens,
I watched a great loving God
Gather balloons, holding them high
In God’s bright blue sky
Above the blue barricades, blue lights
Blue armies & blue shirted cops.
My God gathered these children,
Sons & daughters into a peace-filled
Turning, I saw two older women,
Pioneers and witnesses of the movement,
Weeping and holding each other as they
Too gazed upward.