When we moved to Minnesota from North Carolina, Maggie noticed something different about her new middle school.
“There are lots of gay teachers up here,” she said. We explained that her last school had gay teachers, too, but they had to keep it secret in order to hold their jobs in a narrow-minded community.
She was incredulous. So when she reached high school, she joined the Gay-Straight Alliance.
Fairness and honesty have always mattered to her. As a Chinese adoptee growing up in America, she’s no stranger to racism, prejudice, ignorance, intolerance. Pick your poison.
For over two years, she’s been a dedicated, enthusiastic ally and is now the vice president. She helped create a school-wide activity to challenge gender stereotyping. She worked to pass state legislation allowing gay marriage.
Last Saturday she celebrated her efforts at a wedding for one of her school’s gay teachers.
The prelude included John Lennon’s Imagine, and the processional was What a Wonderful World, made famous by Louis Armstrong. When the couple lighted the unity candle with their separate candles, the new flame leaped brilliantly.
Fire passes no judgment. Love is love in the presence of light.
These two wonderful men had a typical church wedding. Flowers and scripture readings. Rings and programs. Lunch and toasts. There was not, however, a poofy-dressed bride and a chorus line of bridesmaids. Honestly, I appreciated that.
The absence of sequins and satin kept us focused on their promise and their dream, a dream that any straight couple can take for granted.
At one point in the service, the pastor’s blessing said: “…as you walk toward a horizon that never comes.” I keep thinking about her words. Maybe she referred to the religious concept of life being eternal, even after death, for those who accept Jesus as Savior. That’s certainly fine, but I’ve never been a stamp-pad hereafter Christian.
Instead of thinking about the next life, I think about her words in terms of this life as a road we’re following into the distance, toward a better life on earth. But if we experience life thoughtfully and bravely, we discover the journey doesn’t end in a watercolored sunset on the horizon. Rather, we keep finding new roads with even greater challenges. Our ambitions expand because our courage soars, one success at a time.
My father used to say that I couldn’t see the forest for the trees whenever I was stuck in the learning ditch. I had a tendency to be stopped by a single pine. He wanted me to understand the beauty up ahead.
Last Saturday Maggie witnessed that beauty up ahead with David and Tim.