Monday, December 23, 2002

What I really wish is that someone would e-mail me and tell me what to write in Shawn's Christmas card. It's the first card I should have sent, yet it will be the last one that actually goes out. Everytime I pick up a pen, my mind goes blank. I want her to know I'm thinking about her, but my god, what am I supposed to say?

There's very little in the world I wouldn't talk to Shawn about--there's very little we haven't talked about at some point in the past--but I can hardly think of a word to write to her these days. I can't bring myself to call because I just hang on the line in silence, trying not to make my grief her problem.

So, even if you're a complete stranger, have a heart and drop me a line and tell me what to write, because I am absolutely without words at this point.

9:56 PM

Never in my life did I think I would hear Dorothy Allison quoted in a church sermon, much less hear her identified as "an author and lesbian feminist" in front of a religious congregation.

I feel like I've been taking a crash course in theology. Religion--our new hobby! We went to church *twice* today, once for Sunday services and once for a winter solstice concert. It may be that hell is freezing over somewhere.

We actually hung out for a few minutes after church and talked with some people. It completely stressed me out, talking to strangers. We met an older couple, Gerta and Edward, they are new to Bloomington (but longtime Unitarians), and we talked with them for awhile. Catherine pointed out to me last week that if nothing else, the whole church experience is good for us because where else would we interact with people of such different ages? We're never around kids, and never around old people, and now we've spent four Sundays with both.

The Rev. Breeden's sermon was excellent, actually. I teared up twice at church today, once during the children's story, and then at the end of the sermon, an unheard of event. I never cry in public. I never even cry in front of Catherine if I can help it. Anyway, I felt like sitting there listening improved my life a little bit today, even if I didn't agree with the entire text of the service. Gerta had some strong opinions on it as well, especially on the part about loving people who seem unlovable, or at least not letting unlovable people take away our option to love. She was pretty old, and she was wearing a pin that was a combination pink triangle and Star of David (we think her son is gay), and she said, "When you get to be a certain age, you just want to talk back during the sermon. There are people in the world who can't be loved, who are truly evil. There is nothing to love about them, and I shouldn't be asked to love them." And I guess I have to agree. You can't really stand there talking to a person of a certain age w/some sort of European accent wearing a Star of David and expect them to concede to the idea that everyone in the world should be loved.

Anyway, I don't believe love can be de-personalized to such an extent that you can apply it to the entire world. Love to me is pretty much a one-on-one emotion, and grows out of personal interaction. I can respect humanity in general, have compassion, empathy, sympathy, and a variety of other emotions toward the world at large, but I can't love you unless I've established a direct, personal relationship with you. The things I feel for all humankind--that everyone should be entitled to live a life free of fear, hunger and (preventable) disease, for instance--don't really fall under the heading "love," in my mind.

Anyway, I'm too tired to write a dissertation on love at the moment. Today I: slept in, went to church, went out for coffee, did some grading, went to a concert, went to the gym, drove around and looked at Christmas lights, went out to dinner, and addressed at least three Christmas cards. No wonder my head hurts.

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