No real planning, no invitations just 2 questions ,”what are you cooking?” and “what are you bringing?” One person makes the chicken, another makes the ribs, one brings the wine, another picks up the potatoes. It was that type of menu.
2 months ago we agreed to form a Faith Study group. We call it Faith Study because all too often people get hung up verses, chapters and psalms that shut them down, cut off their questions and turn them away. We believe God is love, has many names, countless manifestations and leaves no one behind. We meet once per month to discuss our individual faith, God and spirituality, we apply our varying beliefs in divinity to everyday life, we teach other different aspects of spirituality… we learn from each other. Christian, Pagan, Buddist, Agnostic, Catholic even the ‘spritual but not religious’… all coming together to share ideas to understand love, heartbreak, crisis, friendship, conflict… LIFE.
So we planned this particular Faith Study for Monday, Memorial Day. To clarify… my friends are my family; sisters and brothers from others fathers and other mothers. This particular gathering felt like a celebration of our sisterhood… on many different levels. 2 of my ‘other sisters’, excluding myself 2 other lesbians, and a possible (if you pay any attention to my honorary brother in law 2 possibles lol).
I was raised to show love through food, maybe drink too (I will think more on that one and get back to you) and action. So we gathered in my kitchen, the source for most all good things in the home. We chopped, washed, stired, mixed, boiled, mashed, fried and baked. I made a pitcher of White Sangria to start (the red came later) and left the door leading to the backyard wide open, my 2 year old pooch wild all day, running in and out. The house hummed with the vibe of women working together, toward a common purpose, fellowship through faith, food, mutal respect and genuine affection.
Music thrummed, laughter filled the air, one twerked over washing dishes, the other switched mixing sauce at the stove, I beat potatoes into submission and it was beautiful. My heart was full and memories of childhood and parties and my mom at the stove cooking for the people she loved best flashed across my mind and spirt.
E went upstairs to jump in the shower while we waited for the youngin to get off work for the day. I was just putting the finishing touch of sliced peaches into the white sangria when B’s phone rang. As I walked over to help D set the table I heard some of her conversation and picked up that it was the youngin, “Where is she now? Calm down, what is she doing?” When I walked back into the kitchen I gave her ‘the eyebrows’. You know the look you convey with your brows that translates to everyone and all as a question mark, (yeah that look) and waited.
B told the youngin to hold on and then went on to explain to me, “Her best friend just got a phone call from her girlfriend telling her she cheated on her. Apparently its complicated and messy and she’s hysterical roaming the streets crying and talking about killing herself. A (being the 20 somethin youngin) is stuck at work for 3 more hours and can’t get to her”. To which I responded “ok, where is she now?” B replied she’s in the area (we all live within a 10 block radius from each other), so I shrugged and said “well tell her to come here.”
Now of course I had questions. B communicated to the youngin to text her friend the address and hung up the phone. I walked back through the house and shouted up the stairs “lesbian 911!” then went back to the kitchen to ask exactly what was going on… whatever it was sounded more extreme than it needsed to be. D came in and stood next to me while B explained. “They are 27, Trans… or non gender conforming, Their pronouns are We, Them, Us and They. They have been going through a rough time and now Their girlfriend called them with this BS, and They lost it, are currently romaing the streets hysterical. They suffer from bad anxiety and don’t really have anyone to talk to”
D and I looked at each other and I said “Ok” just as E came running down the stairs, in her bath towel and shower cap pausing to catch her breath before gasping “Lesbian 911?” B explained what was happening to her again and D shook her head at me and asked “Do you seriously want to get involved in this?” I looked at E and had one of those silent conversations really good friends have with their eyes and and faces before replying, “Its time to pay it forward” E blinked as she considered my words then nodded, squared her shoulders, said “Right” before turning on her heels and making her way back upstairs.
We all watched her go, after a traumatic breakup herself… all that she had recently been through… she was whole and well on her way to healing. “This is what we do, we take care of each other, we take care of the ones we love. Besides E needs this, its important for her to remember that others feel how she is feeling and its important for her to share the tools she is learning to work through them.” B nodded and we all resumed our previous duties.
Half an hour later my doorbell rang, the pup went wild as always, D was sitting down sampling some of the food. B walked over to answer the door with me hot on her heels. As soon as the door opened B gave Them a hug then stepped back and said “Your’e ok”. They hung up Their phone after telling the person on the other end (obviously our youngin) that she was here then looked at me. I took Their measure… almost 6 feet tall, black loose fitting jeans, black sneakers, black skull cap, bronze skin, red face and puffy eyes. I looked this wounded bird over then handed her a cup and said “White Sangria, come on back and… welcome” They took the cup, thanked me and stood their, I think maybe unsure what else to do, “well come on…” I said as I turned back to the kitchen. “Are you hungry? Food is almost all done…”
B made the introductions as I poured the rest of us glasses, “this is Nova, this is her house” she said as I handed her cup over. “This is a nice house.” S responded shyly as They sampled Their glass. “Thank you, are you hungry? We have.. ” as I recited the menu E came down the stairs and into the kitchen. “That sounds amazing” S responded. B introduced E to S and we stepped out onto the deck. That’s where the floodgates opened.
S explained the situation with the girlfriend, being vulnerable, a good person and having Their heart hroken. E hovered, as I knew she would. I was my crotchety weird self, “I need to start by saying I apologize in advance. B told me your pronouns and I will most likely not remember during the course of the day and will call you She or Her. I’m not being disrespectful, its just new to me.” They nodded and said “I understand”.
I wish I could say we imparted some pearls of wisdom. I wish I could say I was warm and fuzzy, I can’t. I’m not really sure what I said to her, I know I told her she was valuable and her life is precious. “Are you in love with her?” I asked and They nodded. So I told her, “its the love that reminds us we are alive. You have alot more living to do and this is a lesson for you to know better and do better”. They nodded and I went back into the house leaving E on gaurd duty.
The rest of the day was spent equal parts talking and laughing over special drinks and good food. When N showed up later on the day (the last one to heed the call as usual lol) Faith Study began. We talked about the destructive behavior of past lovers, the steps we took to allow them the windows of opportunity to be negative influences and I recited my mantra… “women have no sense of self preservation in dating and relationships’.
Now… obviously we do, but do we always? Especially when and where it counts? Love is not a get out of jail free card. We are each responsible for our actions and should both hold ourselves accountable and be held accountable by others. When we give 100% of our attention, time, energy and affection to someone who cannot or will not return the same level of effort, we do ourselves a great disservice. Its not about ‘what can they do for me’ or ‘what can I do for them’. All roads should start with ‘what can we do for each other’.
‘Do unto others as you would have others do unto you’.
‘What goes around comes around’.
‘What you put out returns threefold’.
Common sense dictates you shouldn’t do anything you don’t want done to you, but we have all thought that common sense is no longer common. These dusvussions are always lively… strong willed women and strong opinions always lead to passionate exchanges of ideas. N asked Them how old they were and scoffed at the answer “Girl… BYE!” she exclaimed between bites of food. “You’re a baby!” I believe we all cringed just a little bit, no one likes having their feelings, questions or convictions brushed off as just the angst of youth. “Age doesn’t cure stupid.” I responded as I got up to mix another cocktail.
S slowly came out of Their shell ” I don’t have any older lesbian friends…” They said, looking away shyly” I’d like to.” E and I eyed each other “I mean… I don’t mean older like… OLD…” They sputtered, clearly flustered by the look passing between E and myself. I just laughed and said, ” I think we think of ourselves as more… SEASONED than old”. We all chuckled at that, They smiled and sipped.
We broke down relationships into several different parts and zeroed in on self preservation and accountability. S gave us some examples of where They felt They had gone wrong in Their current situation. I spoke on my current relationship, a couple of my past relationships and my outlook for the future. E went through the fresh breakup mantra “I’m not doing this anymore, no relrelationships, or getting to know anyone. I’m done.” We nodded and I pointed out to her, “you have a year or less to mourn, anything more than that is ridiculous and unhealthy. You know that the world population does not only consist of your ex. She’s gone off and started a whole new life… without you. Do not block your future blessings. Don’t give her that power over you.”
E went on to say she felt her ex made a fool out of her. S said she felt the same way. I’ve been there and reminded everyone if there is no risk there is no reward. When its right, all previous failures cease to matter. B said ‘we speak things into existence. If you want something… say so, closed mouth can’t get fed.’ That’s how we closed out the day… faith, hope, wisdom, a healthy dose of opinions and simple truths.