Happy Birthday Warren!!! ~ Early Evening Thoughts

If you’ve been around me for any length of time, you know that I believe in love. Love that trancends orientation, age, looks and what other people think. It must come from the depth of love my parents had for each other ~ and somehow, that was just wired into me.

One of the blogs I read each day is —>Our View On Superior<–. I’ve enjoyed it from the first read. Here are two people that are deeply in love, work at their relationship and totally enjoy each other.

As I said it’s something that transcends orientation…it is that kind of love that is deep, powerful and something to be honored and cherished. Today was Warren’s …ahem…uh…birthday and a milestone birthday it is as well. I wondered what he would have to say about it. I was sure it would be moving and profound, and he didn’t let me down. Let me rip quote from today’s posting. Drop by his blog and wish him well, if you want, I know he would appreciate it.

To quote:

-It’s my birthday and the love of my man is the best present I could
ever have!

-Yes it was on this date…a number of years ago that my mom and dad gave birth to me – right here in Minnesota. My dad had just returned from World War II after having served over seas.

My mom and dad actually met just prior to the war starting and had gotten married before he left for the military service.

I suppose being gone for five and one-half years – he was ready to come home and see my mom. Many children were born that same year – we eventually became known as “baby boomers”.

Probably should have been called “baby exploders” because kids were coming out at a rapid pace that year. It was 1946.

Life these years has been very good to me … I’ve gotten a
good education, had only two jobs in my entire life, and lived very happily. I’m not a rich man, I’m not a poor man – but I’ve always been fairly comfortable – having what I needed in life and never to the excess.

I think that is perhaps the best life you can have. I find poor people however are happy in many ways, while those who are rich never truly seem happy and always want more – sad to say.

My parents died at a relatively early age and I was an only child. My mom passed away when I was 18 and my dad died when I was 31 years of age. So – I’ve basically lived alone my entire life. I realized I was “unique” and finally knew I liked guys when I was 13 or 14 years of age…but I didn’t know why.

However; living in Minnesota I never came out – never told my family or anyone I associated with. I would have been shoved back into the closet so fast, it would have made you head spin. Back in the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s, before I met Steve -people hated gay men.

Why would I want to bring hatred upon myself by announcing to the world “I’m gay”? There was no sense in doing that – so I just kept my mouth closed and enjoyed life as much as I could. I spent a lot of time looking at those guys in the Wards and Sears catalogs – who wore underwear! LOL! I thought they were cute.

To me they were the next best thing to having a guy. Well, after all – who knew who was gay back then?

I really never met many guys in my life – for fear of being found out and then be put up on a chopping block for society to cut away at me – because I lived in a small town area people would talk and I feared that. I sure as heck didn’t want that – so I was very careful not to be actively seeking anyone.

I finished high school, went onto college and got my degree and
then found the two and only two jobs that I ever had. Both jobs have been good to me, both employers wonderful – providing me with a good salary, vacation, sick leave and health care benefits – what more could a guy need in life?

When I was about 23 or so, I accepted Jesus Christ into my life as my
Lord – and I’ve served Him ever since – knowing full well that God allowed me to be who I was – a gay man. I didn’t really realize I was 100% gay until – I just figured it out one day. Seems dumb I know, but hey back in those days – if you liked guys it was not a good thing. Today, things are getting better and society is more accepting.

What did I need in life? Answer: A man!

Why was I gay? Why was I unique? In 1999, being a Christian – I set out for several months on an educational trip to explore the subject of being gay and what I was and why I was who I was. I read books and internet article and my Bible and anything I could get my hands on.

Conclusions from my 6 month study:

I was gay because the feelings I had came with me, right from my
mother’s womb.

I was gay, because God created me as He wanted me to be.

I was gay and I was a born again Christian worshiping in an
Assemblies of God denomination. I was ok.

It was not wrong to be who God created me to be.

I could live just like anyone else, and still be gay.

Homosexuality is not a learned behavior. I learned that my sexual
orientation was inherited; and I was just plain wired that way.

Certainly some people will experiment with a gay lifestyle, and a gay person might experiment with a heterosexual one. If I was really gay, I’d find a place in life and in my community to be who I was.

The important thing is that people just love me through my life. What difference does it make if I am gay? I realized that people (everyone) needed to accept me, support me and not be judgmental toward me.

In the last week May of 1999, I put an ad on Yahoo Personals for the Duluth, Minnesota region – looking for a younger man and looking for love.

Well almost two weeks went by, and a couple people answered the ad – but they were only looking for sex – and I wanted a love relationship that lasted. My Yahoo User Name was “niceguyduluth”. Why? Simply because I was a nice guy.

On June 12th, 1999 about 6:30 p.m. I was checking my Yahoo email – and low and behold – there was an email from a young guy in central Minnesota. He described himself as being blond, he was about 6 feet tall, 190 pounds, goatee, blue eyes and he was 26 years old. I thought to myself (1) can this be true and (2) could this work out, after all he was 150 + miles away from me – and long distance relationships don’t work at all or not very well.

He was a gift from God to me!

Wow … I was excited! We conversed back and forth via email and later that evening I told him to install Yahoo Messenger so we could chat – and believe me, we did chat for a whole week – solid. Morning, noon and night!

We set up a date for the following Friday, June 18th – I would drive to his home town and meet him and together we would go for the weekend to St. Cloud, Minnesota.

I arrived at his home that following Friday at 10:00 a.m. right on the dot. He was inside, wearing a pair of crutches – because he had dislocated a bone in his foot the previous Sunday while playing softball.

There he was…blue jean shorts, navy blue pull over shirt, blond hair
and big blue eyes – oh my gosh he was cute!!!

Well … the rest is history … we dated that weekend, and we fell in love immediately – then we dated for five more weekends – and on or about the six weekend – his vehicle arrived in front of my place with a big trailer loaded with all his furniture and belongings – and it’s been the best 8 1/2 years of my life!

Steve was God’s gift to me on that 1999 birthday, and he is still God’s gift to me on this 2007 birthday.

So today, I’m 61 – but I feel like I’m 49 and I’ll never change that. Jack Benny was 39 his whole life so 49 – hey that works for me.

Age is just a number, so I am told. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t
matter – and I don’t mind my age at all. Birthdays come and go far to quickly – life is beautiful but it passes far faster than we can all imagine.

My final thought for the day is simply this:
Live life and enjoy every single moment you have. The possibilities for joy and fulfillment are all around you. Jump in right now and explore them fully – because that’s what life is all about. I’m so glad today that I jumped into life in June of 1999 and became the man God wanted me to be with my partner Steve.

Steve was then and is now my birthday gift from God.

He’s cute, he’s hot and he’s mine.

Happy birthday to me!

Happy Happy Birthday Warren!!!

–more complex tales tomorrow

Jesse ~ The End Of A Journey …

You won’t see it on the news…or read it in the paper. I wish I could put up a billboard to express all that I am feeling this morning.

From Two Lucky ….

“I love you.”

Jesse died this morning at 1.30am at the Beth Israel Medical Center in New York.

He was with me, and his mother, and died peacefully in his sleep.

Jesse has been battling melanoma for the last three years. He was a real fighter. Even at the end, he didn’t want to go home, and instead asked the doctors if he could stay a few more days to get well.

Love kept Jesse going for as long as it could. In these short years, we made the best of it. The more virulent the cancer spread, the stronger we loved.

His last words were: “I love you,” and he blew me two kisses before falling asleep.

Our love was extraordinary in the face of adversity. He is my hero, and will always be loved.

Two funerals are being planned. The first, a graveside service, will be held in Lovettsville, Va, next Thursday, where he was born.

The second, a memorial service in New York, will be held shortly after.

Details of services to come.

Jesse – I Begin To Say Farewell ~ Late Night Thoughts

I have been writing about and following “Two Lucky (people)” for some time now. During that time, I have been blessed to learn about Yen and Jesse and their incredible love for each other. It’s a love that has been through a lot … but as I have said before – it’s a love that totally demonstrates the power of love as a choice. It also is a love that demonstrates the vows that are so often said at weddings – for richer or poorer, for better or worse, in sickness or in health …

Those short phrases, packed with meaning. Those short phrases packed with truth.

Through everything that’s been going on they both has believed, hoped and trusted. But through it all their love has never wavered.

Jesse had been taking treatments – some of which were quite toxic, but even those had to come to an end.

His prognosis, simply, is that the tumors in Jesse’s liver are growing too quickly.

“You’re carrying too much disease. Must be 10lbs in there,” he said.

But even through the sorrow of that moment, the hope/love shone through.

I cried hard today in the town car on the way back from the hospital. It did not last long, probably for less than a minute. The tears stopped as suddenly as they had come. It happened soon after we got into the car, when Jesse took my hand and said to me: “I am so happy to be with you.”

And I can admit that I wept as well. I didn’t have someone to hold my hand and tell me anything. But eventually, I went back to what had been written – and dried my tears and continued.

Yen himself began to realize what seemed to be coming. He was walking down the street and saw a film crew working on a new movie.

“As the crowd grew, I walked away. I thought about Jesse. Thereupon, I wondered if one day later this year, or the next, I would find myself in a darkened cinema, waiting for the same scene to come on, with my hand on the empty seat next to mine.

And then on the 29th of April … the doctor brought those vows full circle:

…For better or worse, For richer or poorer,
In sickness AND in health:
‘Till death do us part …

“I was told today that Jesse has only three to four more weeks left to live. When the doctors pulled me aside (”May I speak with you in private?”), I already knew….

My reaction was visceral, in spite of fore-knowledge, and unexpected in that regard. I sat in the toilet and cried. For the first time, in a very long time, I believed I would not be whole again. I felt my insides wrenched from me. I howled. I was also confused, which only proves how one, notwithstanding one’s intelligence, can reject logic in the face of grief.

Even though I already knew the answer, I kept asking myself: Can this really be true?

The last several days as I took time to look at all I have known about Yen and Jesse – and all I have been blessed to have shared of their lives, I realized that the depth of their love as shown in the writings has, in a sense, prepared me for whatever may happen in their lives.

On the 30th of April – Yen wrote “White Flag”:

He sits at the top of the stairs, so still he might have been there forever and for always.

The air is capricious, however, taunting him with whispers of dead men’s philosophy. His eyes turn down, and he feels the weight of mortality from under his feet. Around him, the hallway seems equally frozen, as if a breathing picture, a fixed fragment of time fallen into itself.

All of this is nevertheless an illusion, a vision he sees where time has forgotten its relevance.

In fact, he doesn’t remember beyond the stairs. The breaths he takes are the same he exhaled only moments before. In the dark, he begins to stale.

But moments later, a gust of wind from below erases this vision. It rises like a clean breeze from under him, and from it, he rediscovers the certainty of movement. He lifts his eyes, and looks around, then, begins to make out a hill in the distance.

The force of its existence strikes him awkwardly, unexpectedly.

He decides the hill must have been there always, as he has. He hunts the horizon for more shapes: a river, trees, but finds nothing, until in a final instant, he sees a bird tracing a wide circle near the hill top.

The trajectory of the bird’s flight, like a cut flag, fills his memory of the sky. The bird descends, then disappears into the hill’s shadow. For a moment, he forgets he is sitting on the stairs. The simultaneity of its movement, with the swelling of his heart, leads him to cry.

And again I weep. Again, I grieve. But again, I stand with them in this time – and I say – “I do not care if someone is gay-straight, black-white, moon-man or whatever, this kind of love is so deep and powerful, I maintain that great portions of the universe bow in honor of its strength.”

Because I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me;
The carriage held but just ourselves
And Immortality.

We slowly drove, he knew no haste,
And I had put away
My labor, and my leisure too,
For his civility.

We passed the school, where children strove
At recess, in the ring;

We passed the fields of gazing grain,
We passed the setting sun.

Or rather, be passed us;
The dews grew quivering and chill,
For only gossamer my gown,
My tippet only tulle.

We paused before house that seemed
A swelling of the ground;
The roof was scarcely visible,
The cornice but a mound.

Since then ’tis centuries, and yet each
Feels shorter than the day
I first surmised the horses’ heads
Were toward eternity.
–Emily Dickinson

Even More Amore ~ Early Morning Thoughts

I’ve been reading and following Two Lucky People for some time. Yen and Jesse are two amazing people deeply in love. Jesse has an aggressive form of Melanoma. While this kind of illness could tear many couples apart … they seem to be stronger than when I first met them through Yen’s writing.

Here’s some of what I’ve written –

Two People In Love ~ True Love

Further News About Jesse ~

Encouraging Valentine’s News ~

A Welcome Bit Of News – Yen, Jesse ~

A Love With So Much More ~

Emotional Bill Of Rights ~

“I’m so happy to be with you.” ~

Over and over, I’ve commented on the depth of their love and the strength that flows in their commitment to each other and to the life they are living.
Almost all the postings have been by Yen, but late in February Jesse treated us with a post of his own. The wonderful statement at the end was simple but with amazing depth. Jesse wrote: “He’s such an amazing person that I wish everyone of you could meet him in person. I’m so proud to have him as my boyfriend.”

On the 26th we were again treated to a second post from Jesse. From his hysterically funny description of trash TV (“…trannies tear at each others’ wigs on Jerry Springer”), the forty-five minuted trek to the hospital, ending with his description of what it feels like when he finally makes it home (“By the time I make it to the door, I feel like I’ve been beaten half-dead by a very heavy stick.”)When he does make it home, he’s met with an outward expression of an inward choice Yen has made to be in love.

While I’ve been gone, Yen’s been busy transforming the apartment into a five-star resort.

When I step into the room, I smell faint jasmine. Incense is burning on the window-sill. I hear calm, musical voices in the background. There are fresh rainbow-colored tulips on the coffee table. A plate of cool celery and keen carrots.
What? A tall, icy drink of pina colada? (Virgin, my Yenny smiles.)

What Yen does to this place sets my soul at ease. I am now ready to take a nice, long afternoon nap. This apartment, this home, it’s my castle of comfort, my paradise.

As I said in an earlier post (and with what’s been going on my life recently, I believe it even more): “I do not care if someone is gay-straight, black-white, moon-man or whatever, this kind of love is so deep and powerful, I maintain that great portions of the universe bow in honor of its strength.”

And once again, I maintain they are living the vow/promise of … “for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness AND in health…”

It was wonderful to read the post from Jesse – and it reaffirmed what I believed – together they are a potent force – for healing, togetherness and love.

And as I climb into bed this morning, I once again will say to the listening universe, “I want a love that will be like that – the kind that Jesse and Yen share. The choice that no matter what, I will love and care.” I’ll say it quietly, but I have no doubt it will be heard…

When You Least Expect It (1) ~ Early Morning Thoughts

This post has had a number of titles over the last three days. The Luggage Tag Says – (4), Surprised With Joy or even Little Did I Knowin other words, this has been a very difficult post to put into words (in a good way) – let alone title. Over a month ago, I introduced a person I called Toby (not his name or initial). It was in the post titled Surprised But Not By Joy. I had talked about a deep rooted cynicism I discovered concerning people and was working on getting weeded out of my personal garden.

A several weeks ago, we met Toby again at the same place – and I had a delightful time chatting and getting to know him even better. It was then I realized that D&D were having some serious problems with this. It was that night that D decided to drop the comment to me that I “had more patience that he did what ‘those’ kind of people.” He had put Toby in a very specific category and therefore was not to be trusted or even conversed with beyond minor pleasantries. And there is a HUGE difference between being a cynic and being cautious.

A cynic is a man who,
when he smells flowers,
looks around for a coffin.
–H. L. Mencken (1880 – 1956)

Toby and I met for coffee the next day – and embarked on a series of conversations/meetings that were honest, truthful and enlightening.

The Luggage Tag Says – (4)

I had started the series on removing false luggage tags on life’s journey and thought it was almost complete for the time being, when I discovered this tag hidden behind the bright red yarn ball on the handle of my luggage so I can spot it in the midst of others at the airport. I had talked about the false luggage tag of expecting every answer to be according to my expectations.

THIS luggage tag,however, is the tag of expecting every answer to be according to OTHER people’s expectations – sometimes at the expense of my own. And for a “fixer” personality such as I have been dealing with, that can be a real trap. The fixer tends to pour a LOT of personal oil over other people’s troubled waters, to the point their car can run out of oil – and burn out. This doesn’t mean I shouldn’t listen and evaluate others people’s opinions when necessary. It does mean that I can’t base my personal life expectations on the expectations of other people. Before it comes up, I’m not talking about a job where obviously the expectations are going to be based on other people. After all, a job – as a very interesting consultant once said – requires that you rent your behavior for a period of time, based on the expectations of others.

Of course, D&D were merely (in their minds) trying to be protective, attentive, etc.. Based on further comments and conversations that were had – they also had a mindset that was not going to change (easily), and were expecting me to follow in that. They have been unable to share in the fact that within the last week I have been:

Surprised With Joy –
(apologies or thank you to C. S. Lewis)

Toby and I went for lunch and a movie. Trying to find the small Greek restaurant that I knew exactly where it was – proved that I didn’t know where it was. We eventually found it – after quite a search on foot. When we sat down, I was struck by the fact we both had been laughing about the situation and enjoying our surroundings. We even took time to stop at an enormous waterfall fountain that is a Houston landmark. We took a great deal of time over lunch and put off the movie until the next day. On my way home I was still chuckling over the excursion to the wilds of “getting lost” in the general vicinity, and was also struck by the ease of the conversation and sharing that occurred.

We met for an early light dinner the next day, and as we were going into the theater – I turned to Toby asked, “Are we dating?” I was horrified that sentence had come out of my mouth. There had been nothing on either side that obviously indicated such a thought was correct. But, being the terminal romantic that I am – (remember, we’re the ones that pat the sandwich after we make them)- my life is colored by many small things as well as the huge brick walls that I occasionally run headlong into.

What is a small thing? As I’ve mentioned before, I have very bad knees and am working toward getting them operated on and repaired. I was struck by the fact that at curbs – without being asked – Toby would pause and wait for me to step down offering his shoulder as balance. A little thing. We visited a couple of friends today, and they had one of those lovely, delightful overstuffed LOW leather couches that even people with great legs have some trouble getting up from. Without a word, or even a glance – there was an arm right in my peripheral vision to hold onto and get up. A little thing. “Oh well,” someone might say – “He’s just being polite, kind or helpful.” To which I reply: “And your point?” The fact is – I’ve never had any of my friends over the last several years do that.

February 17th I posted about who are you looking for not what are you looking for – but who. I included some short descriptions of incidents that in my mind helped me with the “who.”

The dramatist in me realizes that I have not given Toby’s answer to my question along with several other questions people might have. This is, however, a good time for an intermission.
–More Tomorrow

"I’m so happy to be with you." ~ Early Morning Thoughts

I have written about and thought about and prayed about two people that I have never even met – but they have impacted my life and I am sure the lives of many others. They have done this by being completely open and honest about what it going on in their lives. I’m speaking of Yen and Jesse of Two Lucky People.

Their love has been such an inspiration – regardless of your orientation. As I have said, it stands as a monument to the truth AND the power of love.

Yen wrote in February that: “When hope to rekindle memories starts to wane, when your lover is changing, deteriorating, it becomes a challenge to keep loving. Every day is a lesson in patient loving. Every day you relearn how to love again.”

And it’s that relearning to love again I mentioned before. There are three stages of Love. The first is the infatuation, the second is the romance. The third and most difficult is love – because that is a conscious choice. You can’t go to a mall and find a store for it, or get it from an email. Love is a choice. Sometimes the three stages blend, and we can move between them almost instantaneously, but in the end – it is the conscious love of two people that seems to hold everything together.

As I have said before, they epitomize to me the power of the wedding vows that people seem to take so casually today. These very old words, that seem so old fashioned carry tremendous power – and truth.

I take thee … to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish …

To my mind, that should cover a true love relationship. And, each part requires choice – better or worse, richer or poorer, sickness and health – to love and cherish. This is from Yen’s latest post:

This cancer continues to pick at our lives like a vulture.

At home, Jesse is in constant discomfort. He eats like a bird, yet vomits bagfuls every night. Walking down a block is impossible. Whether in the day, or at night, he drifts in and out of sleep, in a cycle of painkillers.

I wonder if there isn’t a moment that he wakes up, and for a few seconds, forgets that he is dying.

For the survivor, forgetting is a difficult conundrum. In wanting to capture every moment, what one recalls in searing detail only renders the loss more acute. Though love and pain make poor partners, each is inextricably twined with the other. Love gives pain comfort. The latter legitimizes the former.

How do we forget one without the other?

I cried hard today in the town car on the way back from the hospital. It did not last long, probably for less than a minute. The tears stopped as suddenly as they had come. It happened soon after we got into the car, when Jesse took my hand and said to me: “I am so happy to be with you.”

Hopefully, you will read the entire post for all that was said, but the wonder of their love shines as a beacon during this very dark time. It was during all this time I realized just how much of an illustration of the vows these two humble people are.

I spent much of the afternoon and evening grieving for them and with them. It started with the title of the post: Love to pain: Don’t forget me…

Jesse summed it up in one sentence: “I’m so happy to be with you.”

Once again, (as I looked at what would be a lover’s side of the bed covered with magazines) I want that kind of love. A conscious choice – that no matter what we would carry on…until it was time for the last part of the vows – till death do us part.

But I also want what is right…and for now, it’s better for me to be alone for the right reasons – than with someone for the wrong reasons. I’m not sure I’ve mentioned this before – but someone in England wrote me one time that they were not looking for someone to go out with – they were looking for someone to come home to.

As I looked back over the vows, I realized that there is a part of them that means: in the long run – shouldn’t we do that with everyone we care about? What a change that would make…personally.

As usual when I’m upset or grieving, I turn to poets who can say things much better than I can manage.

Full Consciousness

You are carrying me, full consciousness, god that has desires,
all through the world.
Here, in the third sea,
I almost hear your voice: your voice, the wind,
filling entirely all movements;
eternal colors and eternal lights,
sea colors and sea lights.

Your voice of white fire
in the universe of water, the ship, the sky,
marking out the roads with delight,
engraving for me with a blazing light my firm orbit:
a black body
with the glowing diamond in its center.
–Juan Ramon Jimenez (1881-1958)


I have a feeling that my boat
has struck, down there in the depths,
against a great thing.
And nothing
happens! Nothing…Silence…Waves…

–Nothing happens? Or has everything happened,
and are we standing now, quietly, in the new life?
–Juan Ramon Jimenez (1881-1958)

–exchanging vows miniature by David Gregory
–crashing waves 1 by Mark Henspeter

Emotional Bill Of Rights ~ Early Morning Thoughts

I have talked about Jesse and Yen from Two Lucky People before. These two people, so deeply in love, epitomize the kind of relationship – regardless of orientation – that is powerful, fulfilling and (I’m probably embarrassing both of them) an example to others of just what can happen if a relationship is worked at…by both people.

A quick history – Jesse has an aggressive form of melanoma and has undergone some serious treatments. The last was a series of highly toxic (read deadly) infusions. There were to be 15 of them, but only if his body could handle it. It couldn’t. At one point Jesse was “out of it” …

…the disorientation from the drug has intensified, cheating him of present reality.

Boxed in a hospital room at New York-Presbyterian, he thinks we are in North Carolina, at an elaborate, colorful circus show…

But Jesse is a fighter, and with Yen’s love …

When I rouse from my sleep next to Jesse’s hospital bed this morning, he is already awake.

“Happy Valentine’s Day, my love,” I lean across and kiss him on the cheek. “What day is it?” he asks. “Wednesday.”

Along the way, both had to learn and relearn some important lessons…

When hope to rekindle memories starts to wane, when your lover is changing, deteriorating, it becomes a challenge to keep loving. Every day is a lesson in patient loving. Every day you relearn how to love again(emphasis mine).

Finally Jesse was released from the hospital cage and came home…when I write about their home, I almost feel it should be capitalized…one of the first posts I read showed part of their apartment – and it is more than just home … they and their love have turned it into a Home.

They took some time and went on a vacation. While Yen wasn’t sure it was a good idea …

We were both angry with ourselves, and with each other…So while a vacation away from New York seemed like the perfect solution to two cramped, stretched souls, it also seemed to me the worst thing we could do for our relationship…

Then I was blessed to read a post by Jesse. It was the first time I’d had a chance to “meet” him, and I was so impressed and pleased to “sense” that what I had thought of his character and love was not wrong…

I was sick all day yesterday and as a result, just sort of sat there during dinner, only able to eat half the bowl of potato soup I ordered.

This once again is contributing to Yen becoming more and more frustrated about everything.

Hell, if I can’t even enjoy a decent meal with him, then it’s like he’s taking care of an invalid, isn’t it? Thanks to everyone who reads Yen’s blog. He’s such an amazing person that I wish everyone of you could meet him in person. I’m so proud to have him as my boyfriend…

And, when someone least expects something to happen, in a small moment…

…In that moment, I briefly forgot my anger and smiled at Jesse. In that moment, sweetened by the rarity of street dessert, the same light that first revealed his face to me, shone in my heart again…The turn was immediate, unexpected, and perfect in its ordinariness.

We were sitting in the lounge, on separate day beds, each with our own books…Jesse asked me to come sit by him. I agreed. It was not long after that we were both lying in a comfortable tangle of limbs – his legs stretched over mine, my arms wrapped around his thighs.

Resting so, we continued to read, my head slack on his stomach as his fingers caressed the side of my head. Once or twice, he catches me biting my nails, and smacks me disapprovingly, but gently. We continue to read like this for two uninterrupted, beatific hours.

As I have said before – these two are an example of: “for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness AND in health…” But while on this roller-coaster of illness – they also show another important point that I have touched on in others posts here – love IS a choice and is not without an emotional price sometimes.

Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love
–Ranier Maria Rilke

However, shining through the blog, is the amazing truth that is so often is forgotten. Emotions are neither right nor wrong…they just are. It’s what we do with them that creates the right or wrong. And, since it hasn’t been that long ago I climbed out of the cave of feeling nothing and caring about nothing – that’s a liberating statement.

Many people are under impression that they should be happy all of the time…that if you are not happy then something is wrong with you. To quote my Father: Horse feathers! That is not what the human experience is about! Happiness is only one of the many emotions we are meant to experience. Many children are not taught how to appreciate the beautiful emotional self or how to be with feelings. As children most of us were not given an emotional vocabulary, a way to talk about our feelings. Instead we are handed a set of “standards” that have little or no relationship to the world – or emotional health: “It is weak to show emotions … Real men don’t cry … It’s not o.k. for girls to be angry.”

To re-quote what I said earlier: Emotions are neither right nor wrong…they just are. It’s what we do with them that creates the right or wrong. And if people have no life vocabulary to deal with emotions, then how are they going to know what to do with them? When my Father was ill, my Mother had to develop more than just a new vocabulary for emotions, she almost had to come up with an entire new language. As I read Jesse and Yen’s experiences, there is a sense of the emotional vocabulary that is growing and becoming part of the love and life experience. Would I expect all to be perfect and “wonderfully solved in 10 minutes” kind of existence? No, that kind of life exists only in TV sitcoms and Lifetime movies. But as I’ve learned through some spectacular personal failures, when two people are working on something, it becomes a lot easier to deal with.

Go back and re-read Yen and Jesse’s blog. The emotional is there – but the solutions and/or understandings of the emotions are there as well. And I am grateful to be a small part of their life, love and emotions. To be able to share in my own small way their journey together. That’s a wonderful phrase isn’t it – journey together. The transparency that is there is a strong reminder to me about being transparent to my friends – and hopefully, eventually to someone to love – for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health.

But in the long run –
shouldn’t we do that with everyone we care about?

A Love With So Much More ~ Early Morning Thoughts

This will be a somewhat different kind of post this morning.

I don’t even remember when I first discovered Yen and Jesse over at Two Lucky People. I just know that from the beginning it was one of those moments that felt as if I had known them a long time. Jesse, as I’ve mentioned, suffers from a very aggressive form of melenoma – very agressive. Along the way, Yen has posted with honesty, love and a sense of humor.

Recently, Jesse underwent a clinical trial for treatment…a very toxic treatment and Jesse did the best with it he could. There were reasons they stopped the treatment when they did… and for several (to me nail-biting) days he was somewhat “out-of-it.” Yen was with him and then one night – Jesse basically came back out of the wherever he had been. Jesse was to be taken home. Yen picked up the story today.

After more than a week of rest at home, Jesse has recovered almost completely from the IL-2 therapy.

He is his usual self, loving and already focused on getting stronger for the next round. Most of his activities are limited to a few minutes of walking outside every day. For the most part, we spend our hours taking naps, reading, and watching TV on the couch.

I’ve hesitated to write because there is really not much to tell. Every day is an exercise in patient living. I attend to his needs: blanket, pillow, water, a peck on the cheek, a hug.

Despite our best efforts, he’s still losing too much weight, hovering at a slender 140lbs for his 6′1in-tall frame. Our diet has whittled down to occasional meals, shared Chinese take-out, ramen, sushi sometimes. He has developed a liking for fresh watermelon, which I try to procure diligently.

But there has been a change …one that any relationship undergoing stress and strain is bound to encounter. What makes the difference is how those involved handle the changes. Yen continued today:

I miss the days of our courtship, when we walked without consequence, without time. Even in the early months of Jesse’s diagnosis, our hope was still athletic, vigorous.
Times are different now.

When hope to rekindle memories starts to wane, when your lover is changing, deteriorating, it becomes a challenge to keep loving. Every day is a lesson in patient loving. Every day you relearn how to love again.

Regardless of your orientation, Yen’s love even with questions stands as a strong memorial to the power of love – of what is deep within that creates a bond or bonds that can withstand almost anything that comes against it. It is not created from outside sources – the universe doesn’t have a “shop” where one can buy it. This kind of bond comes from within the individual – from deep within the heart. And while Yen is fortunate in one respect that Jesse “is his usual self, loving and already focused on getting stronger for the next round,” I have no doubt that even if he hadn’t come back as that – Yen would have stood with him.

I do not care if someone is gay-straight, black-white, moon-man or whatever, this kind of love is so deep and powerful, I maintain that great portions of the universe bow in honor of its strength.

But it’s the last part of his posting that meant so much to me … let me repeat it: “it becomes a challenge to keep loving. Every day is a lesson in patient loving. Every day you relearn how to love again. ” This is the portion that meant so much to me. After a failed marriage I read and heard that relationships are composed of three parts: 1) infatuation,
2) romance and then
3) love. The three parts are very separate from each other – and we may go back and forth amidst them – even moment by moment. But the one that is truly the “glue” is love. Which is a conscious choice. The first two can and often do rely totally on feelings – but the third – love, is a choice. And that’s why Yen (and Jesse) stand out so much to me.

So, in my own small way, I stand with Yen and Jesse – and keep them in my thoughts, prayers or healing energy (or whatever you are calling it) so that I can feel a part of their life. And maybe, just maybe someday – a love such as theirs will come my way…but – even if it doesn’t I will have had the privilege of knowing Two Lucky People (the wonderful name of their blog) and the wonder of their love toward each other .

I count myself lucky as well!!

Self Fulfilling – Integrity? Prophecy? ~ Early Morning Thoughts

Acceptance is acknowledging our sexuality as a given.
Self-love is being thankful for the gift.
adapted from a quote by Ken Hanes

Trying to hang onto integrity in what seems to be a world that wants nothing to do with it – getting discouraged is almost a given.
If I’m going to live in integrity – I’m going to have to learn to love in integrity as well. Which opens up an enormous area of thought. No matter what the orientation, belief or concern – it seems there are those who oppose it, want to downgrade it – and want to denigrate those who are interested, believers and followers.

And in the process it become very difficult for people to know who they ARE, let alone what they believe.

Gay – straight, black – white, northern-southerner, democrat – republican, etc., etc. We seems to deal with incredible self-fulfilling stereotypes. Tell people long enough that they are inferior, and they will come to believe it. Most of us believe that we are in large part what society constantly brands us as; in response we come to exhibit the characteristics that justify the stigma.

For example: there are a large number of neurotic, unhappy, compulsively promiscuous homosexuals whom on might regard as “pathological.” This pathology is however, the result of social pressures and the way they have internalized these, not of homosexuality itself.

If people are led to feel guilty about an essential part of their own identity, they will in all likelihood experience considerable psychological pressures……The insistence on the objective sinfulness of all homosexual relationships is precisely the type of moral thinking that psychologically destroys the ability of many homosexuals to enter into a permanent and fruitful relationship.

The only certain substantive conclusion that follows from the scientific data is the terrible cost in terms of human suffering and degradation that has followed on the mistaken moral judgments and prejudices of the past which are still invoked to support the prejudices of the present.
adapted from a passage from:
John McNeill, The Church and the Homosexual

I don’t think that the church is responsible by itself for “neurotic, unhappy, compulsively promiscuous homosexuals”…Personally, society at large, the media, politicians carry responsibility. And – I may get in some trouble for this, but I think those in the gay community carry responsibility as well.

And again when I look around, I realize that it’s a problem for so many people of all different colors, beliefs, orientations, hopes, dreams and desire to live life. And so much of it seems to be at the door step of “self-fulfilling prophecy.” If I take something to be the truth about myself, eventually that will become the truth. If I take something about someone else to be the absolute truth, eventually everything they do I will see through that lens. And the worst part about it, eventually they can come to believe it as true themselves.

To a small acceptance, add a larger acceptance of what we are continually told again, regardless of color, belief or orientation. As an example, my Father decided at around age 55, he was an old man. He began to externalize what he had decided internally. Over and over her would say things such as: “I can’t do that, I’m a little old man (then he would chuckle). As time went on, the chuckle became less frequent, but the results did not. Finally by age 65 he had become what he said.

But, as I mentioned above, it also concerns how people regard us. A very troubling study by Robert Rosenthal and Lenore Jacobson, in 1968, gave all the children in an elementary class a test and told teachers that some of children were unusually clever (though they were actually average). They came back at the end of the school year and tested the same class again. Guess what? The children singled out had improved their scores far more than other children. (by the way, they didn’t repeat the experiment because they were afraid the children would be ultimately harmed. Interestingly enough the teachers had NO idea they were treating different students in different ways.)

And by the way – a self-fulfilling prophecy generally involves acceptance of an untruth and making it true. This makes sure that the balance of truth hangs over what I am going to accept as truth. For example – at my current … ahem…age, I am not going to be able to compete in an Olympic swimming event. However, I refuse to accept as true that I’m just “a little old man.” It’s taken awhile, and several failed relationship to get this through my head (thick skull?)…I am me, and I have worth. At the moment, his side of the bed may be covered with magazines and books, but there WILL come a day …

It’s easy to get
Truth never looks at me crookedly
but always straight on.
Sometimes in my small humanness
I try to turn my gaze.
Truth maybe too bright,
too garish,
without pity.
Sometimes truth seems to be not beautiful.
But more and more
with the passage of years
I find that I can turn my gaze
directly into the face of truth.
And more and more
I perceive with quaint surprise
that the truth I thought to be ugly
is more beautiful than the lie
that I feared was true.
-Charles Doss

More on this to come ~

More Amore~ Early Morning Thoughts

Maybe a guy could fall instantly in love, but I doubt it. I think love creeps over you like a warm feeling on a clear blue fall day. This person is in your thoughts most of the time-all of the time actually. You see her when you close your eyes, when you look off into the distance,when you pause from what you are doing and take a deep breath. You remember how her fingers felt when they touched you. The loved one becomes a part of you, the most important part. At least it is that way with me when I think of you.
–Stephen Koontz

Even though the day of the Valentine has passed, I was a little surprised by a question a dear friend asked me today. “Who did you get for Valentine’s Day?” I thought I had misunderstood what he was asking – but, he meant the question exactly as he stated it. It was his humorous way of getting to the point of the conversation. “Who am I looking for?” Notice his question was not what am I looking for, but who. And he would not let me off the hook with my statement: I’m not looking for someone to go out with, I’m looking for someone to come home to.

As I thought about that question I realized that I can list whats forever but until I personalize into a who – my chances of finding someone are a lot less. It’s not visualization by any stretch of the imagination, but it IS putting the wants a desires in a highly personalized form.

Let me share some of what I came up with…only some, after all there are some things that are just too …um…personal. That’s it – personal.

1) He caught my eye from across the busy and incredibly noisy room. It was a gathering neither of us had really wanted to attend, but it was important to ** that we be there at least for a portion of the evening. I was beginning to lose patience with the evening – but then I caught him looking my direction. I smiled at him, and got that delightful half-smile back. His was a look that said: “I know we’re here, but in my mind, we’re home together.” And in that moment, any resentment faded away.

2) It had been one of “those” days, full of people with agenda, people with attitude – and the word “crabby” doesn’t even begin to describe the people around me. I was exhausted, frustrated and ready to tear a bear limb from limb. Of course, traffic on the road home consisted of idiots. (Have you ever noticed that when you’re driving fast or slow – you’re driving defensively? However, when someone else is doing the same thing, they’re idiots?). When I finally arrived at home, I sat for a moment in the car just to get my breath. As I opened the door, he was standing there – a glass of “gentle-libation” in hand. Nothing spoken, just handed me the drink, and pointed toward the couch. I sank into the soft cushion, took a sip and felt the day begin to slip away. I realized we did the same for each other. Our arrival home was into a place of sanctuary. A place of peace and joy, with an overlay of love.

3) He’d already told me how he thought his day was going to go. A train wreck probably would begin to described what he was facing. He, being the more organized of the two of us, had laid out what he was going to wear – and had prepared what he was planning to take for the lunch he probably wouldn’t have time to eat. As he was getting ready for bed, I slipped a small piece of paper into his pants pocket – it was incredibly personal and somewhat raunchy. The kind that would raise a slight blush when he read it. I also slipped one into one of the lunch containers…just to let him know how much I love him – and cherished his feelings toward me.

4) It was a complete, total and very angry fight.
While tempers flared, and heat was expressed, both were careful to not fling the words that would wound, tear apart or kill. Finally, the emotions were spent, the problem not completely resolved and we both were feeling fragile, exposed and raw. An eerie silence had descended on our island of peace. I was shaken and somewhat afraid. I glanced up and was met with a silent stare. And then, without warning – he stuck out his tongue at me and then giggled … yes, giggled.

5) In the silence of the night, I listened to his steady breathing and rejoiced. I turned to go to sleep, and felt a gentle touch on the small of my back. A soft, quite voice said: “Are you asleep?” “not yet,” I replied, “but I thought you were.” I turned to face him and we quietly chatted for a few moments. Nothing major, nothing earth-shaking, but just one of those face-to-ear talks in the night. I felt his hand on my stomach .. and his fingers gently move in almost an abstract manner…

As I worked with this “challenge,” I thought I would issue one. Does this work? Is this a good way to think about the “one” I want? And more importantly – what do YOU want in your “one-and-only?”