He’s the first hand raised in the audience and wants to know why I think Canada is so much more tolerant of gay people than the United States. Afterward, he’s the first to have his book signed. “I want you to know,” he says, “that my 25-year-old son is gay. And he let me know in a letter. And he said he hoped it wouldn’t freak me out.”
He has a kind face, the man telling me this. Yet I prepare myself for how little difference that makes. We may be kind people and still injure our children with unguarded, thoughtless responses.
“I told him I wasn’t at all freaked out,” he says. “I told him I’d known for a long time and that I loved him and that God loves him. He does — you know. And three days before Prop 8, I officiated the legal wedding between my son and his partner. I’m also a minister, like your father, though he’s at the opposite pole from where I am. Three days before Prop 8! It was a beautiful ceremony.”
I don’t know how to tell you how much I love this man. How much I needed to hear his story. I needed for him to tell me. I can’t explain how my heart fills with love when I’m surrounded by people of grace and compassion who recognize and celebrate all of our humanity.
“Will you write something about grace?” he asks.
Oh! Oh, yes. I will write about grace. I will write about beautiful fathers who speak love to their children. Who speak love to strangers. I will write about our souls. The way they burn with meaning.