Thursday, March 25, 2010

Returning to the scene of the crime

Earlier this week I went to an awards ceremony for a community organization I volunteer with. The ceremony was held at the communal room of my former church. I had not been on that church property since . . . since . . . actually its been so long now I don’t remember now long its been.

Some folks, still assuming I was an active member there, asked if I could get some serving spoons from the kitchen. But when I went in the kitchen, I felt like I was trespassing. I think they have now installed security cameras in the church so I was half expecting them to call the police on me -

- 911 what is your emergency?

- there's a gay person in the church

- I’ll send an officer right over

Anyway, it was a very strange feeling. There is a large quilt hanging where each family contributed a panel representing something about their family. There was ours - a beach scene with various sports equipment scattered around. It was like looking through a window onto a past life, but feeling like it was someone else’s life.

I went into the sanctuary. No longer was there that enveloping feeling of warmth and calm I used to feel. I sat in the pew I used to frequent - on an aisle, close to the door, of course - and looked up to the stained windows that circle the upper sanctuary. There is no apparent design yet they always reminded me of Georgia O’Keefe paintings in that subliminal sexual way, which always made me smile to myself, like it was some kind of inside joke.

And in the middle of all these swirls, there is a design that always reminded me of a bear-like figure sitting against a tree. Well, more like a human with a bear head, or a mascot figure.

Anyway, no matter how sad I was feeling or how off balance, I would sit in that sanctuary and look up at this figure and feel better. And as cold and un-welcoming as the sanctuary now felt, that little bear still made me smile. Like, just as he was so out of place in those windows, so was I totally out of place in this church.

Yet I was surprised at how much the wound still hurts . . .


  1. All those years looking at those windows and I never noticed the bear.

    Your wound will eventually heal. They have to live with their guilt. And lately I have heard nothing but dying and desperation coming from that church.

  2. I so enjoy those little private things that bring much comfort. It's a sweet, quiet, symbolic kind of hug. I'm glad that you were able to see it that way again, through those same eyes - afterall, it wasn't you who changed.

  3. Is this like a Rorschach test? Because I am not seeing a bear, but I definitely see some lady parts. They may want to play that up to get some more members : )

  4. Like Tina said ~ baby steps. But, hey, you're taking those steps!

    You were very brave to go there for the ceremony and to walk around and get the feel of the place. I'm glad you did it. Especially sitting in the (so called) sanctuary. That took courage! And you have that in spades, my dear.

    Bear Hugs. :-)