Tuesday, June 7, 2011

hand in hand in Hand

i had never been to washington d.c.

it was early march of this year, and the air outside was still cold and brisk.

we got there on a friday night. our little caravan. me and three of my friends (all of whom i was just getting to know). we drove together from tennessee. we met up with several others, some we knew. some we would get to know. all we would love. as we were gathering to celebrate


two of our dear friends, both women. marrying one another, committing themselves to love one another for life. til the end of their days. and our commitment to love and support them.

the weekend was filled with laughter, hugs, tears, and poignant moments.

i sat across the breakfast table from some wonderful gay male couples. they were getting married that weekend as well. one man thanked a friend of mine for "living in the trenches" in the south. he had tears in his eyes. i did, too.

one of those couples had been together for 17 years.

the other?

30 years together.

and for their anniversary?
a legal marriage.

i cried when i found out.
i cried again when we passed by them just as their ceremony had ended.
i cried many times as i thought about it again.

another poignant moment for me was when my friends who were getting married reached over, touched me, looked into my eyes, and said in earnest, "we want this for you, too."

the ceremony was beautiful.
my favorite wedding i have ever been to.
not just because it was a lesbian wedding,
but because of how communal it was.

it was truly a celebration and gathering
of love
in its various forms.

perhaps my favorite moment of the weekend captures it best.

just before the wedding, we all walked and rode the subway throughout d.c. while the photographer took pictures. literally, just before the wedding.

the brides were both in their beautiful gowns, and we were all in our attire for the evening.

as we walked around d.c. , most people smiled, waved
some even honked their horns.
one girl hung out a car window and yelled, "we love your dress!"
a little girl said my friends were "soooo beautiful."

at the restaurant the reception was at, a mom told her children that my friends had just gotten married and told her children to say "congratualtions" to them.

all of these moments moved me deeply.

however, there was one image/moment that is seared into my mind
and i hope it always is.

we were all walking down the sidewalk in downtown d.c., heading for the subway station.

at the front of the line
the brides were walking next to each other
in their wedding dresses
hand in hand

behind them
two lovely guys
who are marrying each other very soon
hand in hand

behind them
a lovely "straight" couple
who are also marrying each other very soon
hand in hand

just behind them
my friend, "s" and i
in complete admiration

we kept looking at each other and all the hands
we talked about how beautiful it was,
all those representations of love

then she took my hand
and said "we're friendship."

and we walked that way
hand in hand.

a few months later, she would take my hand again
and she held it while i was having trouble sleeping
and i held hers and told her how much it meant for her to be there.

and we walked through my damaged neighborhood
the morning after the tornado
surveying the damage

hand in hand.

i was thinking about how beautiful both of these instances are.

there is another.

i was feeling alone.
a friend of mine was holding her boyfriend's hand
she took mine too
and we walked that way
hand in hand

and another.

i was sitting in a chapel service.
a man was talking about gay people
he was wrong. i was angry.
a friend of mine took my hand.
we sat there.
hand in hand.

oh, another.

i was in church.
the speaker said something about heaven
that it is continued relationship with those we love
my friend had lost someone. i had too.
i took her hand. she gripped mine.
we sat that way.
hand in hand.

what if we became more attuned to taking one another's hand?
what if we broke across the distance and the social norms and held hands more often?
what if we didn't care what people think?
what if we cared more about the connection? the communion? the communication?

holding another's hand says:
i love you.
i am here.
i am unashamed to say i am with you.
i see you
i feel you.
you can see me.
you can feel me.
i've got you.
you've got me.

what if people held hands with people who are different than them?
and then looked into each other's eyes?

what if we realized that when we are hand in hand
we are really
hand in hand
in Hand?

that God, Godself
Love. Loveself
holds us.
holds our hands.
in Hand.

would we walk more freely?
hand in hand?

would we make brave choices
in whose hands we hold?

to realize what is good
what is healthy
what is uplifting?

where we can mend?
where we can heal?
where we can cross the divide?

where we can be mended?
where we can be healed?
where our sad divisions have ceased?

we can.
we would.
we must.

walk hand
in hand
in Hand.


  1. this is the best one. oh my word, girl. i cannot wait for our dinner catch up soon.

  2. thanks, claire. i can't wait either. :)

  3. This is absolutely lovely. Thank you so much for making my heart smile and my hands itch to find another's to hold.

  4. I can always count on you to make me tear up lady :). That was, as always, beautifully written. Proud to be your friend.

  5. @SemperPhi, thank you. I love what you said about your hands itching to find another's to hold...

    @S - thank you. love to you.