This has been a rough week in NC. Our former state senate candidate for president is on trial for using campaign funds to pay for his mistress's expenses while on the campaign trail with her. His wife was back home dying of cancer, you see, and he needed Reillle to boost his morale while travelling. She had his baby while the wife was still alive, but they have decided to really go after him now as the wife is dead and the marital children have had some time to grieve.
Oh, yeah, and NC just passed an amendment protecting the sanctity of unions like our senator's here, marriage. It now does not recognize any relationship other than one man and one woman as any kind of partnership for any reason. This means that health benefits to your same sex partner and your mutual children are no longer protected. So it is another stab at making sure that gays are not treated like people, but rather as a dangerous other that is something less than 'people'.
For me, personally, I had had a week that was kind of bizarre with lots of hoodoo sign- reading and such. On the particular night that the following exchange transpired, I had hit my limit on the whole marriage debate. Over at the UCF church, I had just finished part one of a class on how to articulate your faith for visiting members of the church. In it, we had to fill out these forms describing our beliefs and then we talked about that. I am a taoist, which often offers a different insight. The others in the group talked about how they had come to this church, a very liberal and accepting church. Many of the ones speaking had left other churches because of crede issues regarding bible sourced bigotry, some against gays, but many other different people as well.
Downstairs, there was a PFLAG meeting taking place. Their local efforts against Amendment One had failed, and I imagine they were also talking about how this would affect the health care status of many of their family members and what they would need to do now to rewrite wills to protect benefits and all the other legal bits and pieces that come along with having your same sex partner status be essentially made a non-relationship by this amendment. (NC had already banned gay marriage, so this was an insult to that injury, an appeasement to the largely conservative religious right component of NC's population. We are not all like that, just for the record.)
A beloved friend of some new friends of mine was dying of pancreatic cancer. I nearly died of pancreatitis about 8 years ago. Their situation had affected me deeply because of that in particular and I wrote about that in my last post.
My old friend of two decades and I had finally had lunch. I had not seen her in over six months, as having a kid and a friend over 70 don't have a lot of social overlap. Her husband died about three months ago, and I had not found out about it until three weeks ago. I had not been able to call or even send a card as I was so ashamed of having been such a bad friend that I had not noticed that her husband of 59 years had just died.
My friend from OS days past just had her domestic partner, a man, die of a sudden accident of his body. She was promptly evicted from their lakeside house when the family swooped in and took custody of the property and everything they had built into a home. They did not respect her relationship, as they had never made it legal. So they treated her marriage with this man as a non-thing and threw her out like a tenant.
Mother's day is coming up and my mother is dead. That's always fun. I decided this year to abdicate from the card sending and flower ordering for my husband's mother. He will do something that is special from him, but it will be different from what she is used to from me. I don't want her to think that I don't care about her, but she is not my mother and each time I sent her those things, it stung a little in my heart. So this year I am officially letting it go and not seeking mothers that I will no longer ever have here on earth.
On the hoodoo front, my own mother passed over two decades ago. She was an old fashioned NC hoodoo woman. She believed in signs and passed that on to me. She had always said that dark storms were openings that spirits could pass through to speak to us. Sometimes they were openings to receive the new dead. Either one adds a little to the ominous nature of storms. Hoodoo, like voodoo but not a religious practice, is often based in lay science, things people have noticed but could not explain. People get a little juiced up when a lightening storm approaches because the ozone comes closer with that type of front. It can make your hair stand on end, it makes the air smell different. In general, it feels weird physically as it comes. So if you are already kind of emotional about things or people that have died, you might feel especially inclined to "see spirits in the material world" at that time. So hoodoo-wise, the storm rolling in as I went off to church that night made me think of my old friend's husband. Maybe he approved of my finally going to comfort and acknowledge his wife's loss. Maybe it was an opening for my friend's old teacher to find relief from mind-boggling pain and a finalization of the suffering that her people had been experiencing as she died over the past year's time. Maybe it was a cosmic rumbling at NC for committing this legal atrocity of hate that Amendment One was. Maybe it was John Edwards' dead wife.
And of course, there was my mother. So that night, after the meeting, I drove home in the rain, smelling the difference in the air and thinking about the PFLAG group, my mom, Freda's husband of so very long, the old teacher, and how lucky I was to be going home to a legally sanctioned marriage and kid. When I got home, the man and boy had gone to bed, so I sat down to look at the new evening news, facebook.
And I found an old friend, one that I had eventually un-friended because his bigoted religious views just did not fit into my taoist world. He thought he was being clever and insightful when he made his bible-based rhetorical comments in my little threads. I just found them arcane and offputting. So I put him off and rarely thought about him again. My husband has remained his friend, both in the real world and in the bizarro facebook sense.
So to tie this all up, when I had gotten to the church that night, having driven through a storm to get there, dark clouds billowing in the low evening light, as I sat down to sit with other new Unitarians and learn how to "articulate my UU faith".......the group leader got out a book that we would be using written by "Barbara Wells". That is my dead mother's name.
So I was all hoodoo skeevy, a technical term, and I saw a comment in my husband's thread that he had initiated with a simple comment, "sad day for NC".
It was from a religious right type who was saying that loving the sinner and hating the sin is what they are about. Amendment One is a direct attack on the sinners, a state sanctioned legitismization of hating the sinners. So I decided that speech was necessary to articulate my UU faith.
The exchange itself is simply not worth repeating. You can recall some other argument there that you either drove by, initiated, or got side-swiped with on some dark and stormy night.
This is an object lesson for people who wonder, "Why do people get into arguments on Facebook?"