Monday, March 09, 2009

M is for Middle Earth

Friday night, we just had a very quiet night in. We'd planned to go to a new women's discussion group at the LGBT center, but when we got there, none of the doors were unlocked. We went to 4 doors and every single one was utterly impregnable, despite the "come in" signs on them! I grumbled and griped about that all the way through the trip to the gay store we made on the way home, but then we had a really nice night in. J made Cajun andouille pizza for dinner using one of her plant's new sauces, we watched t.v. and went to bed fairly early, since J had to work Saturday. Luckily, she didn't have to go in super-early, so we had some snuggle time & I read to her from a Sark book before she went to work.

While she was gone, I worked on a presentation I had to give last night. A friend of mine was supposed to guest teach a confirmation class at a UCC in a neighboring town but realized at the last minute that her flight wouldn't be back in time. So, when she asked me to step in, I was happy to. She was supposed to present on the history of the denomination. So, I brushed up on my history and started work on a power point. This is the second time I've filled in for her for a youth-related event. The first time was a presentation on Facebook & youth ministry at our national headquarters. It's fun to sub for her. I also got to have a nice long phone conversation with my mom. What fun!

When J got home around 4 on Saturday, we went to the library to get the Lord of the Rings trilogy on DVD for our M date. I'd originally planned to take us to Miss Molly's Tea Room for our M date, then I considered Michigan for a good M, a little day trip over to Ann Arbor to check out my aunt's restaurant. But, with her working Saturday & my presenting on Sunday, those just weren't good options. So I planned a Middle Earth Marathon instead. After the library, we did our weekly grocery shopping, then returned home and did some house-cleaning. By the time our Middle Earth dinner (shepherd's pie) was ready and we started the first movie, it was almost 9, so we ended up watching only one of the movies Saturday night.

J must have really needed to catch up on sleep because she slept until about 1:30 Sunday. I got up earlier, but didn't make it to church (we'd forgotten to spring forward) and started work on finishing my presentation prep. I spent the afternoon engaged in that while J watched t.v. (and probably wished I'd not agreed to sub!). I had lunch with the kids from the confirmation class and watched them play a game, then did my presentation. It went fairly well, but the discussion part was like pulling teeth. I somehow drew the thoroughly untalkative bunch, the girls. The boys got into some pretty deep theological discussion and the table of three kids who didn't seem to fit in with the others seemed to be fairly intent, as well, but the silences and awkwardness at my table were excruciating. I did get them to talk a little bit, but not much. I was thinking, "Oh, man, why am I here? I'm not doing any good."

But then, when we had wrapped up and I was gathering my things, the girl at the table of three approached me to ask about what seminary was like. She had really stood out among the other kids as being much more mature than the others and very intelligent. She reminded me of myself at 14, actually. She seemed quite self-assured and was really interested in issues of social justice. I'd heard her say she didn't want to get stuck with the girls' table for the game they played and she advocated really hard for their table of three to be a team unto themselves. Anyway, this 14 y.o. girl told me that she's feeling called to ministry. I explained how the process works. She seemed disappointed that she couldn't start seminary right away. My advice was to read as much as she can now, study religion in undergrad and then head to seminary, if she is still feeling called by then. In the meantime, she can always be really active in the opportunities for youth involvement in denominational things. I suggested she approach her pastor, too, about this feeling of calling.

We got into talking about world religions and how much we have to learn from them. I mentioned having to leave the Presbyterian Church because they wouldn't ordain me because I'm gay. She said she is, too, which really surprised me. I am so impressed with teenagers these days who are so brave and out so young. I cannot imagine what 8th grade for an out lesbian must be like. I didn't realize I was gay until I was in my 20s and 8th grade was rough anyway. Anyhow, we kept talking and I finally offered her my phone number in case she has any more questions about ministry or whatever. I felt like she was looking for a resource or mentor or something like that. She asked if she could also have my e-mail address & we exchanged those. I hope I can be a source of hope for her.

After she walked away, the youth leader came over and asked me how open she'd been with me. I told him and he said he was so glad I took the time to talk to her. Apparently, she came out at school this year & it's been a hard time for her. He seemed kind of at a loss for how to really be helpful to her, so he was glad I gave her my number. I've been an adult sponsor for two queer teen groups, so I do have some experience. And if she is already feeling a call to ministry, I certainly want to support that. The whole thing kind of gave me goosebumps. I'd been feeling kind of cranky and as though there was no reason for me to be there and then all of a sudden, it was like God said, "This is why I wanted you here." When I got home, I made a pineapple angel food cake and some chicken, bacon & blue cheese panini for dinner. We watched the final "L-Word" episode (which was most dissatisfying) and then went to bed right afterward.

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