Her (or, Losing a Friend Between the Cross and the Rainbow)

I met her on my first day of college. She was clever, smart, and infinitely interesting. We bonded over our love of Skyrim, science, and alpha-female attitudes. We did everything together, from hanging out on the weekends getting drunk off of cheap vodka to spotting each other during bench presses in the gym. We would sit up late at night, musing about philosophy and laughing hysterically at SNL reruns. Some Sundays we went to church together. Most we didn’t. She taught me about comic books and console gaming and Catholic saints.

While I struggled with loneliness after a nasty breakup, she meanwhile turned down interested guy after interested guy, each nicer and better looking than the last. She told me of how frustrated she was that no man would just be her friend. I was terrified of outing her. I saw the damage that her conservative, Catholic parents had done to her soul, and I just wanted her to know she was loved. On her 19th birthday, I made her cupcakes with rainbow icing. She finally came out at the year’s end and I cheered, hugging and hi-fiving her. Everything was wonderful.

But the next few years weren’t. She began dating the president of the LGBT club, while I went with a guy who led the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. We both felt a call on our hearts. Her, to be understood and accepted for who she was. Me, to return to the Jesus of my childhood. Our paths were leading us different ways. The more deeply enmeshed we became within our separate communities, the less we could talk about. Her friends hated the Church for how it had ostracized them. My friends hated the Marriage Equality movement for misrepresenting their God.

She broke up with her girlfriend, but my boyfriend and I decided to get engaged. We fought. “You’re different now,” she’d tell me, “stop changing for him.” No, this is who I’ve always been. I was running from it before, but now I’ve found who I was created to be. When the the Supreme Court ruled on Marriage Equality, she was at Pride while I was at a Gospel conference.

“Stand with me for my wedding,” I pleaded. She was there, at the end of the aisle, next to my sisters and my husband-to-be. She knew loyalty. She stood silently as we spoke of wives submitting, of husbands sacrificing, of heterosexual marriage imaging Christ and his Church. Little did I realize that I left no place for her. When my husband and I departed our reception for a long-awaited consummation, she slipped out of my life. We never met again.

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3 thoughts on “Her (or, Losing a Friend Between the Cross and the Rainbow)

  1. Jesus loves her too, as she is for who she is.
    The church is the one that’s got it all wrong.
    Jesus found his companions from among the worst sinners, the tax collectors (the dishonest, cheating, liars) and the prostitutes (the sexually unfaithful) – both of these groups were considered worse than the ancient LGBTQIA populations back in the day.
    But so much damage has been done by the church in the name of Jesus that what should be the well-spring of life has become bitter, poisoned waters of death.
    You referred to wives submitting to the authority of their husbands, husband sacrificing as Christ did for the church, these gender roles affirm Biblical marriage in such a way that it doesn’t leave room for her and who she is. We forget the theology that Jesus gave us about what he referred to as the eunuch – a person whose life would not revolved around marriage like the idol it has become; after all, he said it wasn’t for everyone. Not everyone is supposed to submit or lead with authority in their relationships. We all decided that gender meant having roles, and roles meant having specific responsibilities and that must mean that Jesus was wrong and therefore everyone has a role in marriage because he or she has a specific gender. Jesus was wrong; or are we the ones in the wrong? If Jesus is not capable of being wrong, then it must be the church. The church who should be inclusive has opted to be exclusive. It has forgotten that God’s primary trait is not authority, but love. And Sometimes love, true love, a first Corinthians thirteen kind of love demands that you put aside concerns for authority and remain true and faithful and long-suffering and forgiving and keeping no record of wrongs. So obviously, the church has forgotten how to love.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I certainly agree. Losing this friend has been a source of great sadness in my life. Many times I wonder what I could have done differently to love her.

      And the talk of gender roles was during my marriage ceremony. I wholeheartedly recognize that these roles aren’t for everyone, that not every person is called to marriage. However, I think that standing as a bridesmaid and listening to my marriage ceremony was the “last straw” for my friend. Unfortunately, she has withdrawn from me, and I couldn’t have this conversation with her even if I wanted to.

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      1. Imagine yourself in an alternative universe where the pressure the church has placed on Biblical Marriage never happened. Where she could support you – as a friend – in all her endeavors; and you likewise could support her in everything she does. Treat her as you would want to be treated – that’s the golden rule. Why not start with an old-fashioned letter and let you know how you feel. Leave the door open and see what happens.

        Liked by 1 person

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