Having gone through a lot of memorial services, including my own, I tend to be pretty hard to move to tears.
But, without warning, my eyes started just gushing tears. Jake patted me on the shoulder, but I didn't react to him. I wasn't even sure what I was feeling, except loss.
Loss of entire generation of gay men. The ones -- as Fran Liebowitz puts it in the hysterical HBO movie, Public Speaking -- who were the most likely to get laid. That's a punchline, of course, but the underlying truth, she says, is that the smartest, most talented and beautiful died. We're left with third and fourth level talent. Not just the artists, she says, but the audience.
The audience died. The smart, informed audience. As effectively as if they'd been cut down in a war. I would have been one of those victims, too, if my name hadn't been picked in the Crixivan lottery.
I just cried at the enormity of it. The crying turned into weeping and then, when I started gasping, I just took control of it and put it back under control, wiping away rivers of tears.
Honestly? It felt good. I just wasn't expecting it.
I also got an email:
Thank you for your gift of music with MY THANKGIVING PRAYER. Three congregations that used to be on three adjoining corners in Davenport, Iowa continue meet together annually to celebrate an Interfaith Thanksgiving service: Temple Emmanuel, the Unitarian Church and Edwards Congregational UCC. This was our 67th year of worship and fellowship together. Each year a speaker is chosen representing a community of need in our Quad Cities. This year we heard about homelessness and gathered funds for the new youth shelter in Illinois, across the Mississippi River.
Hosted by the Unitarians, we had a combined choir of male and female voices in November, doing our beset to make the PRAYER sound beautiful…and people were moved by your music which the Unitarian choir director chose. Thank you for making this music available for our use. Many have been blessed by your creativity. May the blessings return now to you.
Advent Peace to you.
Rev. Jean NortonI wrote her back and asked if anyone recorded it. I also invite readers to see if anything shows up on YouTube.
Minister of Music
Edwards United Church of Christ
3420 Jersey Ridge Road
Davenport, IA 52807
And Iowa. Hm. Maybe I should run for president. As a third and fourth level guy, I'm at least as qualified as that woman with the reality show.