I met my wife on a sexual harassment committee

October 19, 2018

 

Part of the impetus for this site came from the conversations I've had with people after they heard bits of my story, and figured I wasn't likely to judge them.  I turned some of my story into a two minute poetry competition entry, which I share here in the hope of encouraging you to share your story of shameful celebration, in prose, poetry, painting or photo:

 

 

 

I met my wife on a sexual harassment committee

leading to a dilemma

I thought she looked really pretty,

but did I dare to tell her?

And by me she was quite smitten

But we’d just written

about how inappropriate

It might be to ask people on a date

 

more alarmingly, to me,

she was a singer you see.

in a lesbian feminist band

Now you understand

my hesitation.

 

At the same time she knew I was a Christian

And a Christian a minister at that

not yet legally divorced.

 

But of course

Sometimes you have to grow up, and take a chance

So I asked my friend to ask her friend if she could ask

Her if she could tell her friend to tell my friend whether she’d like to dance.

She wouldn’t. 

If you’ve seen me try you’d know why

But she did want a root.

So we got together,

and a few months later I finally let her

 

Then we started on a baby

Who we took to our wedding-

Which to some extent was our way of getting

Some old white church guys off our back.

You see they were emphatic 

that our love, no matter how ecstatic

must be chaste.

 

My minister was right

When he said “hide that light”

Of your love under a bushel, keep it hidden, just for you.

This may be blessed by the Divine, 

But there are pearls.  And there are swine.

But even straight white blokes like me 

Begin to feel ashamed

If they accept that their love is one which dare not speak its name.

 

So I dared to witness, not beg for forgiveness.

I would have quit a dozen times in the years that followed

But for every Christian who confronted me with my disgrace

There was another who found us a beacon of grace.

Who thought “If he’s still a minister, maybe I still fit”

 

And all the while their secret stories

Of celebration, hidden ‘neath shame and alienation

Came quietly, circuitously, into our conversation

All these tiny stories, feeling so alone

Because nobody dares to tell them in church 

For fear of that first stone.

 

Why did I get up here tonight? It wasn’t just for the free catharsis

I'm hoping a few of you, after you get up off your arses

And travel home will log in and tell

Your story of shameful celebration to the world

whatiwishisaidinchurch

Google it.  Then Submit.

It will make you feel better, I promise, a little bit.

 

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