Bee Mine (A Valentine’s Post)

Today is Valentine’s Day, a day to commemorate Saint Valentine.

I’ve seen a lot of buzz today about the Saint behind the day, about being single on Valentine’s day, and about what to buy or give your partner.

Saint Valentine is the patron saint of bee keepers and happy marriages, so it’s only fitting I would pay a little homage on this blog.

What’s on my mind today is how we should remember.  Remember someone who was arrested for performing Christian marriages.

I can’t help but immediately think of Reverend Frank Schaefer and many others who have dared to defy authority and perform marriages. Marriages they are losing their rights over. Christian marriages, despite the fact that some of the church and most state governments refuse to recognize them.

Marriages like mine.

A good marriage.

Last night, my sweet wife and I exchanged our small gifts to each other. I made hers, and she got a very thoughtful book for me, one I had seen and wanted a while ago.

Drew Barrymore’s “Find It in Everything.”

It’s a beautiful collection of photographs she has taken over the years, and each photograph contains a heart. Some of them are obvious and intentional, while others are accidents which convey a message of beauty and hope and love. I am so moved by Drew’s attention to such simple, and often hidden, beauty and hope.

After we looked through the book last night, we started noticing hearts everywhere, too.

I keep thinking today, that maybe the best way we can remember Saint Valentine is to do three things.

We can stand in solidarity with those who are persecuted for their love, and those who stand on the side of love, though it cost them greatly. We can remember the LGBTQ people around the world that face varying levels of oppression and injustice, and the ministers, justice workers, and ordinary citizens who stand with them. We can remember people who have no or very limited rights, the bullied, and the Ugandans and the Russians who are beaten and/or killed for their love. We can stand with them. And we can remember Frank Schaefer and other ministers who face defrocking because of their stand for love.

We all can find it in everything. We can look not just for hearts, but for other signs of hope and love, and we can do as Drew suggests, and make symbols of love and hope of our own.  Then maybe others, will start to find it, too.

We can be kind to bees, and help the bee keepers. Let’s not just buy flowers, but plant them. Flowers that have not been treated with pesticides, and flowers and herbs that they feed on. Buy local honey.  Support a local bee keeper.

Maybe if we engage in all of those things, Valentine’s Day will become more than a day for cute little hearts with messages like “Be Mine” and “Sweetheart” or over-priced teddy bears and chocolate.

Maybe it will be a day that reminds us that love wins.

Love always wins.

❤ ❤ ❤

Love,

C

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For You.

It has been difficult to write.

There has been much on my mind, more on my heart, and much sickness in my body.

But a post has been mulling in my mind since the last Sunday of Advent. A post which I have been afraid to write for fear of the negativity that may come from it, for the pain it brings up, and for being this vulnerable, but I feel more and more that I must tell this story, and I must relate the feelings. So here it is.

I sit here and listen to the song, “I Will Wait” – a song that is forever connected for me, with my dear friends Jason and Michelle and their adoption journey – and waiting for their second child. A song that I cannot listen to without crying – because it’s connected with my own journey, and my own hopes and dreams and longing to have a child.

On December 20th, I got a phone call. It was the fertility center.

“Charity… The test was negative. I’m so sorry.”

I felt numb, but I had felt this horrible feeling just a week before – a feeling when I knew something was wrong, during an extremely stressful event. That feeling of love and warmth and peace I had previously just disappeared, and I began to feel cold and sad. That day, the 13th, my hormone levels were off. I kind of knew then, but I still hoped.

It wasn’t until a few days later that it really started to hit me, and has continued to hit me since.

On Sunday, December 22nd, I sang my favorite Christmas hymn in church, with the congregation – “In the Bleak Midwinter”

“But his mother only

In her maiden bliss

Worshiped the beloved

With a kiss”

And I broke.

I had already been tearful at every song, every note, every prayer, every word.

Christmas. Advent.

Is about a baby.

A baby waited and hoped for.

Like mine and D’s.

And we wait and we hope that next time will work. And a letter and imagined conversation happens in my head from time to time…

Dear Mary,

You who were chosen to be mother of all mothers. How you must have felt! I can only imagine how scared you were. I don’t know that you can understand how I am feeling right now. The situation is rather different. But I do know that your cousin would understand – Elizabeth. She waited and hoped, and then hope came for her.

The baby in her womb leaped for joy, while my womb leaps for joy in the midst of sorrow and longing – longing to be filled.

Many would say my lesbian womb should remain empty – as empty as a tomb those people want to speak of.

But I also know of jars becoming filled with wine, bowls with meal, and baskets with fish and loaves.

I know of hearts being inhabited, sight and sound in blind eyes and deaf ears, and barren wombs teeming with life inside.

I do not speak to you often – well, actually this is the first conversation – outside of catholic churches, it’s looked down on. But I thought that somehow, you might understand, and that you might think of me.

And so we hope, and cling to each other, and to that one who came as a baby. And we work to stay positive and to make ourselves ready for the ones we will be trusted with.

And we will wait – we will wait for you, little one. For you.

Love,

Momma C.

Name

Some exciting things are brewing. More will be coming on that soon. I started a facebook page recently, if you would like to come see me and say hello: The Writings of Charity Lusk-Muse

I am also launching a new series beginning next week, on how we relate to one another as human beings, despite our differences, in celebration of our differences, and in tandem with our fight for justice and equality on many fronts. I have asked some friends to help out. It’s all my gift to you for the season we are in, and for missing so much writing in October. I hope you will real along and contribute to the conversations.

Today, I want to share something I wrote a while ago:

This is an excerpt from a post that was originally published on my blog “Black Sheep Confessions” on Thursday, September 24th, 2009. It is also part of my book I hope to release in 2014. It embodies one of the most significant points in my journey of reconciling my faith and sexuality. It includes some challenges to love one another – even the negative stereotypes, and challenges the church to love those who are most outcast and often hated on by the church at large. It is part of my journey of self-acceptance and part of my history of pleading with others to “love one another,” and as such, I am leaving it as is, even though my feelings have changed on some matters. Especially when it comes to identity and the role love plays in our sense of self. I would re-word and add some things now, and I did omit a couple of sentences which are no longer relevant to me. And I certainly am writing more on the matter in my book. However, my point in publishing today is that we have a name. That name goes beyond anything we are labeled by. It goes deep, to our sameness. To the light that is the root of all of us – the imago Dei (The image of God.)

“Name”

today a good friend of mine said something that stopped me in my tracks… it had the power to change me; to break me and put me back together again in a new way. today, he said:
“God wants to name you. He already has named you. Maybe we need to step back and listen.”
there is a heaviness inside today as i am battling against attractions that would only lead to heartache, against the feeling i will always be alone, against the belief that i am unloved and unlovable. a few hours after hearing my friend’s words, i found myself grocery shopping and becoming more and more uncomfortable with every step i took. i felt hot tears sting my eyes as i saw an old woman without any teeth and was overcome with the realization that she is so loved. i could feel life and love welling up within me as a kid stood behind me in the check out line and made small conversation with me. he is so loved.
i drove home without really noticing what was on the radio, put the groceries away and came face to face with the realization that i feel empty inside. another dear friend posed a question today as she asked “what are you asking alcohol to do for you?”
last night, i prayed, talked to a couple of friends, and once alone, asked a cigarette to make me feel better about myself; to help me relax and think more clearly; to help me escape from the pain and the loneliness. all it gave me was a bad aftertaste in my mouth and a sore throat that’s still lingering. it didn’t make me feel loved. it didn’t make me feel more ok with myself. it made me ashamed of the stench in my hair, the potential yellowing of my teeth, and the health issues i may be causing.as i put away the soy milk and the bags of pasta, i started pondering on this thought of being named by God. i wondered what God would call me, how my name would sound in her/his voice. i immediately thought, God did not name me “lesbian,” just as God did not name you “straight” or “heterosexual.”..what straight couple or individual has been identified by the church as “heterosexual” because of their love for someone of the opposite sex? who has been labeled because of their love?
last night, i met with a friend who is holding me accountable and sat across from her at a picnic table. i confessed my sins and temptations to her and told her how ashamed and guilty i feel. i told her i wonder if i am a fraud. i told her i wonder if i am unlovable. i was terrified by the intensity in her eyes as she met me with a love that could and did crush the walls around me. she extended grace and true friendship to me as she held me accountable. i knew at least in my head, that in her eyes… i am so loved.i’m nervous i will be found out. some people do not and have not kept the secrets i have confided in them. nevertheless, come what may, i am ready to move forward. i must be. tonight, i felt a new energy, a new source, a new spring of love and life within me.

i silently prayed and then listened as i finished putting away the coffee creamer, and i asked to know my name. a well of emotion came to my throat as i realized i have always known my name… my name is love… and for those of you who know me, you know how literal this is… i also felt the heart of God say to me that furthermore, my name is loved. and i am her/his beloved.

God says to me, “c… be loved.”

God says the same to you. God says the same to gay men with aids. God says the same to angry church people who yell at abortion clinics. God says the same to the girl who is walking in to the clinic. God says the same to the pastor with the pornography addiction. God says the same to the homeless lesbian teen who got kicked out of her home. God says the same to her family who cannot show love to their own daughter. God says be loved and that we are all so loved.

how different would we live if we lived out our names? what has God named you?
forgiven? remembered? seen? understood? reborn? loved? …_________…?

what if we treated each other as God has named us? what if we treated each other as loved? remembered? forgiven? seen? understood? or reborn? or __________?

my name is love. i am loved. i am to love. and i am finding joy which i have not felt in ages.

a few months ago, i asked “dear God, do you love me?” while looking at a starry sky. yes. s/he loves me. more than i’ll ever understand… when i realize it and when i think that love has failed.

my name is love.