Tuesday, April 03, 2007

An Easter Story ~ Part 1: Gethsemane

An Easter Story ~ Part 2: Faith of our Fathers

An Easter Story ~ Part 3: A Man Hath Friends

An Easter Story ~ Part 4: Cock Crows Thrice

An Easter Story ~ Part 5: The Empty Tomb(final)

He chose his sister, Alice, to tell first, in a letter. She was the logical choice and the sibling he was closest to.

He nervously awaited her reply, expecting silence at the best. And when her reply came, with its offer of love and prayer, he felt elated.

Dearest Scottie,

Of course, I am dismayed to hear this, but not entirely surprised. Please know that I will always love and support you. I will offer prayers for you and if God sees fit to change your heart, then let His Will be done. But if not, then know that I will always be your loving sister and that, too, is God's Will and the dearest wish of my heart.

Lovingly,

Alice
He carried her reply around with him in his wallet for weeks. Every now and again, when he felt despondent, he would take it out and read it, then press the letter close to his heart and weep.

One of his brother's wives found his letter laying on Alice's desk and began to tell the rest of the family. Scott heard of this and was dismayed. He had wanted to tell them each in his own way.

I agreed with him that he had been robbed of something that was rightfully his.

"It may not be such a bad thing, Scottie." I told him, "Remember, you have been coming to terms with this for thirty-something years. They, too, will need some time to come to terms with it. Maybe this is just God's way of working mysteriously."

I began to see subtle changes in Scott as he slowly and painfully confirmed to his closest friends what they had suspected, what had been rumored for so many years.

Their reactions were varied and some shunned him for a time, but as they became used to the idea, the ones that mattered the most embraced the new Scott. For Scottie had first let them know who he was before he revealed what he was. And very few people can resist Scottie's warmth and humor.

And I noticed that Scott began to make better decisions for himself. He seemed less self-destructive and spoke out of turn less often. I could see the man-child I had first met evolving into the man he should have become so many years ago. His health improved and his psoriasis cleared up. Excess pounds began to shed off his big frame as he began to see himself as a person with worth. The intense and consuming energy he had once put into concealing his nature from himself, his family and God was now being used to better himself and to deepen his relationship with the Deity.

He had once upbraided me for being angry at God and expressing that anger.

"Oh, Scottie," I said, "God and I do this all the damn time. He does something... I get mad and stomp off...He then shows me something amazing. I forgive Him...He forgives me. Then the whole damn thing starts all over again."

It was inconceivable to Scott that my relationship with God was most easily described as that of a grumpy old married couple. That I was unashamed to show God my anger and outrage. But in my mind, it seemed silly to hide anything from He who can draw out the Leviathan.

After all, if every parent abandoned every child who blurted out "I HATE you", we would have a world of orphans.

And while Scott seemed incapable of being angry at God for what was happening to him, I was feeling that anger in spades for both of us.

But God was about to show me something amazing.

The most difficult letter that Scottie wrote was to his father. He put off its writing for some time, for he feared losing his father's love more than anything. Again, he waited nervously for the post to arrive, expecting at best, silence.
But what came was a phone call. To Scott's surprise, his father's response was much like Alice's. George's strict and rigid military bearing had softened with age and all he could feel was compassion for his son.

But Scott was still not convinced. He had woven a tapestry of horrible fantasy around this revelation of his and it was so real to him that it could not be dispelled until he met his father face to face, man to man. On some level, his father, a smart and perceptive man, knew this.

The call came from his father a few weeks before Easter that he wanted Scott to come down for Sunday lunch. It would be the face-to-face meeting that Scott both dreaded and hoped for. He had been summoned.

He folded himself into my big leather chair and put that big head in those big hands. His fragility was tangible.

"I don't know what to do!" He whimpered.

"Just go and find out what he has to say." I said. "You owe him and yourself that. He has things that he needs to say and you do too."

His head shot up and and his eyes grew wide with panic. "What if he takes my truck away?"

"Oh, come on!" I said, attempting to inject some reason. "Your daddy doesn't want that nasty old truck. Really!"

As the weekend approached, Scott increasingly grew more fearful. In desperation, he called his father and tried to back out of the planned meeting. But George was not put off so easily.

"I'll meet you halfway." He said.

So, Scott drove off that Sunday to the Shoney's in Waynesville with a pit in his stomach. More than a few times, he wanted to turn back and run away as he had from so many other painful situations. But the new Scott drove onwards. It was a small sign of his increased sense of responsibility.

His father, George, and his sister, Alice, were waiting in a corner booth for him in the packed restaurant. The Sunday church crowd had well and truly arrived. Scott darted his eyes at Alice and noticed that she seemed a bit reticent. His father stood and gravely hugged his youngest son with a stern look on his face.

Scott felt a frisson of uneasiness and felt like fleeing the restaurant. But he sat and let the chirpy little waitress who called everyone "Hun" take his order.

They politely exchanged news about the folks from home until the food came. Scott kept looking at Alice, who seemed oddly fixated first on her salad plate and then on her tea glass. Once in a while, she would shake her head at nothing in particular. Scott's first bite of chicken-fried steak tasted like wood pulp and stuck in a lump in his throat as his sense of impending doom intensified.

"Scott," George said finally, "We need to talk about this letter you sent me. About this three- letter word you mentioned."

Scott pushed his peas around on his plate and made a mortar of them with his mashed potatoes. Alice shook her head sadly again while keeping her face averted.

"Yes, Dad." Scott said in a half whisper, not able to meet his stern father's direct gaze.

George peered at Scott for a moment with those piercing eyes of his. "Son, I sort of hoped you and Rose were going to get together."

Scott continued to avoid looking his father in the eye. "No, Dad. Rosie and I are just friends. Good friends, that's all."

Alice shook her head again and made a disturbing tsk-tsk sound.

"You always did have way too many female friends." His father said, still looking at him. "Guess I always sort of knew."

George suddenly stood up from the booth.

Scott's stomach lurched as he felt sure his father would turn his back on him now and forever, just as the parishioners in the church had.

But instead, George took his spoon and tapped it loudly against his water glass. All of those God-fearing faces turned to stare at the booth in the corner.

"Ladies and Gentleman, your attention, please!" Scott's father's voice, a voice that demanded attention from great men rang out into the restaurant, commanding silence and respect. Scott felt himself shrink a bit in his seat, convinced this was going to be worse than he thought.

"This is my gay son," George's voice proclaimed, "And he doesn't think I love him because he's gay. I'm here to tell you all, here and now, that I DO love my gay son and am proud of him!"

Scott sat in shock as tears began to well up in his eyes. Whatever he was expecting, it was not this. Alice finally raised her face to his and started laughing. She had known what was coming and was in on the gaff. She scooted over in the booth to hug him as tears coursed down his face.

The silence was deafening from the rest of the diners, until a few hands began to come together in applause. Slowly the applause grew and a few of them stood up. Not all, but a few. Maybe they were clapping for George, who had stood bravely and faced the foe of an ideology he had embraced all of his life, but finally rejected in the name of love. Maybe they applauded Alice, the good and kind sister whose comforting presence had enabled Scottie to hold on this long in the face of persecution and a troubled spirit. And just maybe, they applauded Scottie who had finally left his closet...his tomb...allowing all of that love and light to shine forth, dispelling the darkness.

And as Scott told me this story, I realized, that once again, God had showed me something amazing.

God and I were friends again and I was no longer angry.

8 Comments:

  1. Jbeeky said...
    Amen Rosie. When God does something so simple and loving that so many cannot, I remember why he/she is so all powerful. So sad that any "friends" had to leave and then come back, deciding to overlook this "defect" in the face of his other qualities? Just makes me so, so sad.
    Pissed OFF Housewife said...
    Wow, I wonder how many lives changed just a little at Shoney's that day?
    Anne Johnson said...
    Don't share this with Scottie, but I'm a Pagan with a fundamentalist sister. I know she prays every day that I'll change. I hope Scott's family doesn't pray that he'll "snap out of it" and marry you.

    My sister thinks gay people are mentally ill and can be cured. She thinks Pagans go to hell. My prayer is that Scott's family is more understanding. Sounds like they are. Thank ... err ... God.
    Karen said...
    Wonderful story. Lots of great details--love the touch at the end w/God showing you something amazing. Friend Scott sounds pretty special--so do you...
    Janice (5 Minutes for Mom) said...
    OH MY WORD GIRL - you can WRITE like NOBODY'S BUSINESS!!!!!!!! I am in SHOCK! That was so powerful. I literally am STUNNED!

    The reason I am here is I was just reading through the 400+ comments about the Dyson and I was so struck by your comment and the fact that you would give yours away if you won. WOW. You are a treasure.

    Please do me a favor. I am always YEARS behind on my blogv isiting - I NEVER get to my bloglines let alone read my blogroll daily. But you are a treasure - so keep showing up at my site so I end up back here!! Reading you is a delight! I try to get to my visitors but lately I am really behind on that too. But at least I get to my visitors some of the time. My life has gotten so busy that my blog visiting time is soooooo much shorter now. :(
    johnieb said...
    Good work, Rosie. I'm happy to know you, and, through you, Scottie, Alice, and Good ole George: to people of character.

    Anybody else hear that word used in this sense lately?

    Sweet Ole BillyG
    johnieb said...
    Good work, Rosie. I'm happy to know you, and, through you, Scottie, Alice, and Good ole George: to people of character.

    Anybody else hear that word used in this sense lately?

    Sweet Ole BillyG
    kazari_lu said...
    Thankyou for your story, and all your writing. The world you and scottie live in is so foreign to mine, as mine would be to the world of my parents. but the themes are the same, and people are just, in the end, people.
    I'm thankful for the way you see the world, and for sharing it.

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