My best friend died. We are the same age. We often celebrated our birthdays together; only two days apart. Her birthday is today. When the news came of her death, I didn’t move, first tears came and then anger. Yes, I was furious with her. We had not seen each other in three years. I moved away. She promised to visit one year and then changed her mind. Our phone conversations were always about politics and theology. And yes, those two things, politics and theology, go together like wine and cheese.
The phone calls stopped. I would call and leave messages. She would not respond to my texts. I thought she was angry with me for some reason. Maybe for moving away? But others tried to reach out to my friend as well; her sorority sisters and her family members; her two brothers who loved her dearly; her lover who turned her away. My friend chose not to let any of us in with things that were causing her pain and sorrow. My friend chose to handle her depression alone. Police officers called to do a safety check. Placing her in rehab with hope that she could be saved. My friend gave up on life. Why? I don’t know. I wish I did. I wish she could have talked to me or found someone that would listen and not judge her. You see my friend was not able to show her authentic self until much later in her life. One day she decided to come out to me. “I’m gay”. My response, “Sis, I know.” That was all we said after that but I knew her road ahead would not be an easy one. We are both in ministry where often the place my friend would be judged will be the church which she loved.
When my friend loved, she loved hard. She gave all of herself away and this would hurt her. Giving away her brightness and smile, just so that someone would love her back in the way she so deserved to be love. All she wanted was love. The same kind of love that we all wanted when we are looking for that person, that one who would love us unconditionally, that one person who would wake up next to in the mornings, have coffee with, read the news with, grow old with. I can’t imagine that most of my life would be searching to be who and what God created. But my friend, most of her life, was in search of acceptance to what God had so beautifully created. A gay black clergy woman.
Today is my friend’s birthday. Today she sprinkles herself along the beach lines and dwells with the one who has truly loved her. Today my friend no longer has to search for acceptance. God accepts her and that I’m glad about!
Happy Birthday my dear friend!