Never Again.

I went to a fundraising reception last night at a private home. It was an interesting mix of people–LGBT activists, philanthropists and community leaders, religious folks, and State Senator Don McEachin. There was lots of laughter. I enjoyed seeing community friends I see too rarely.  The wine  and the hors d’oeuvres were excellent.

Pink triangle (signifying "homosexual") on shirt of concentration camp inmate

But our reason for being together was serious. We were raising funds to support the local showing of an exhibition from the United States Holocaust Museum focused on the experience of “homosexuals” in Nazi Germany. The exhibit will be displayed at the Gay Community Center of Richmond (GCCR) for about two months, beginning September 19.

We can all be grateful to Jim Schuyler of Congregation Beth Ahabah and Jay Squires and Greg Johnson from GCCR for their leadership in bringing this gift to Richmond.

Never again. That is the cry of people everywhere in the face of genocide. Yet it goes on–in Darfur, e.g. Has there been a time in modern world history when some group is not trying to eliminate another?

It is hard to accept such depravity, and painful to look at it. Yet, we must not look away. 

Instead, we must be witnesses, and call others to witness, too. It is the best way to claim our common humanity.

Never Too Old . . .

So, after more than three months on Renewal, I am back at work (almost full-time this week). Already I am behind!?<#$%

The three months were so restorative and overall very restful, and already I am tired. What gives?

I think it is like a rubber band that, when stretched, expands, and then, when the stretching ends, returns more or less to its original shape. I am still overcoming old habits of placing undue stress on myself, and freaking myself out with the list of things I “have” to do.

So, today, I pray to return to my Renewal pattern and goals: prayer, not only in the morning, but during the day, and at night–not to mention, focusing only a couple of major things in a day, not all of them!

Renewal is not over, renewal is continuing. This old guy can learn new tricks.

My New Best Friend

My last day in Acapulco–and I am spending much of it in my hotel room.

Yes, it happened to me. Late yesterday afternoon, I began to feel woozy, and my stomach was churning, and by evening I needed to be close to the toilet.

I’m better today–I may even go to a workshop in a little while–but Gatorade is still my best friend for the time being.

Of course, after several days of overcast skies and rain, today is gloriously sunny. The perfect day to sit by the pool–but naps in bed have felt better.

It has been wonderful to be here–to be with Emily last week, to see so many friends this week, and to be inspired by workshops and worship–but I was already feeling that I wanted to go home, even before this bout of traveler’s disorder.

Travel is delightful, but I am homebody at heart. I miss Jonathan, and Cocoa, and our yard (oh, the grass and weeds must be out of control!), and church (I hope I can hear Rev. Dr. Bill Willard–even after 14 hours of travel on Saturday). Maybe this illness is a gift–to help me slow down and begin to taste the gift of home.

Keep the Gatorade coming, and get me to the plane on time!

Family Joy

One of the great things about going to conferences is that you get to see old friends. Conferences may be professional gatherings, but also they are family reunions.

I have seen so many family members in Acapulco–ranging from “immediate family” to “distant cousins.” All are family. They include: former Richmond folks (Brenda & Lee, Laura & Fern, Arthur Runyan, Dwayne Johnson);  master’s and doctoral degree friends, and MCC training colleagues and staff (current and former); Virginia colleagues and friends; and MCC New York friends, too. And former and current elders.

Noah, Millie, & Pat

All this brings great joy, even though I end up staying up too late and getting up too early just to have time with them. Of course, no matter how hard I try, I will not get enough time with everyone. But each reunion is a joy.

And of course, I meet new family members, too–Joseph from Kenya comes to mind.

I have a picture that captures all that joy.

Rev. Pat Bumgartner, Pastor of MCC New York, and her partner, Mary Jane, have a small black poodle, Lillie, whom they bring to every MCC event. I took a picture of Rev. Pat, Lillie, and dear MCC New York friend, Noah Seaton, as we left a meeting together. Noah, whose given name was Nancy, and whom I knew as “Buddy” in New York, is now Noah. This picture captures for me the love shared by Pat and Lillie, and the glorious self-actualization Noah and God have achieved.

Oh, such a family! Such joy! And in a couple of days, I will be with my “home folks,” back in the bosom of MCC Richmond (and Jonathan and Cocoa!). God IS good. All the time.