Friday, September 18, 2015

better than love

Glenda Elliott
As in a mother's enfolding arms, so there are stories that take me into their edgeless assurances. They can purely wipe me out, erase me and hold me safe in ways I cannot speak, nor would I want to ... and yet here I am, speaking.

Perhaps it is a little like the young person who, after a newly-tested world of sexual adventure, suddenly realizes that there is being naked with another individual and yet beyond that is a nakedness far more profound and perfected and surrenderful. It is safe, but there is no safety in it because it is, indubitably, safe. Scary from the agenda point of view, but that doesn't change the safety ... the truth.

These are stories I would literally die for. It doesn't matter if they are "true." I would die for them. Literally.

This morning, such a tale came from the car radio as I drove home after dropping my wife at work. It began as what I imagined was going to be another you-think-you've-got-it-bad plaint from the LGBT community. I am sympathetic to those whose lives have been twisted and painful and niggerized. I might even listen to another TED talk on the topic. This morning, I wasn't much in the mood for virtuous posturing, but I was too lazy to change the station.

And a little at a time, this enfolding mother of a story took me away, erased me, loved me. It was a story I would die for ... because ... because ... because I long to be erased and enfolded. Politics and agenda do not play well where the mother's arms enfold and I am beyond naked. Endless heart-felt rants about marginalization and cruelty are warranted in many cases and yet, out there as well, there is a wider world.

The tale was recorded by Story Corps and it was the first-person story of a woman who grew up in the deep south before homosexuality was on the social radar as a positive possibility. Glenda Elliott just told the story of falling in love with another woman in the 1940's. She just told the story of an unrequited love. Here are her words and that story.

She did not whine or splice in anything extra. And what I heard was something incredibly beautiful and true. This was real and loving life and no descriptive could touch or manipulate it. This story invited me in and made me feel safe and welcome and unlied to. It opened me up like a kumquat. It did not matter to me if Glenda Elliott had learned to shade the truth ... there was the truth and I found it touching beyond touching, naked beyond naked and beautiful beyond beauty.

Glenda Elliott enfolded me and I was home ... willing to die no matter what the delusion. Home -- a place I guess others would find in other stories that don't touch and undress me ... God, what a simple matter exuberance and peace is! ... making things endlessly, indubitably safe.

Is there anything better than love?

Of course there is.

There is love.

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