Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Birthday boy

This is my birthday week --- and I'm hiding out. So don't tell anybody you saw me. It's also Holy Week, but Easter is a moveable feast, so it's unlikely personal merit is involved. I am thinking of my great-aunt Easter (Miller) Brenaman, who had the dubious distinction of birth on that Sunday and never lived it down. It could have been worse --- Aunt Christmas.

All the greetings in the mail, on Facebook and by other means are appreciated. Thank you. Google, which trotted out a special "Happy Birthday Frank" search screen on my computer this morning, I'm not so sure about. Should we be gratified when that happens --- or scared?

There's still snow on the ground, a little intmidating this late in March and one of the reasons I holed up yesterday. Last year at this time, the redbuds were blooming (waaaaay too early). In my year of birth, 1946, my paternal grandfather brought a bouquet of violets he'd picked in the woods to my mother at Yocom Hospital. Wouldn't happen this year.


This also is the week of oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court on two same-sex marriage cases, one involving California's Proposition 8 and the other, the so-called Defense of Marriage Act. Spent quite a bit of time yesterday following the coverage of first-day arguments, too, and changed my Facebook profile picture to the Human Rights Campaign's marriage equality logo.

It's a mistake to try to outguess the justices, but the most frequent prediction is that decisions (expected in June or thereabouts) will be very narrow. I'm hopeful for something affirming, but cautious. We'll see.

In the grand scheme of things, however, conservative decisions --- once anger has cooled --- would serve only to re-energize equality forces. The marriage equality (and LGBT rights) ship has sailed, although there's some distance to go before safety on the other shore.


Never play "what-if" my Mama told me --- paraphrased as "don't cry over spilled milk" --- and I'm a believer. But those of us fortunate enough to have survived to a certain age can't help, I expect, wondering what the difference in our lives would have been had we been able to share in all of this when we were just a little younger.


For some reason, I got to thinking yesterday about George Whitefield (1714-1770), that great Anglican preacher whose insight, conviction, hard work and dedication helped set off early waves of what sometimes is called the Great Awakening (actually a series of "awakenings"), that invented, then defined and finally caused what we call evangelical Christianity to spread like wildfire.

Now ossified, the joy has departed from that movement and it is in decline --- but the joy certainly is alive and well in today's drive toward LGBT equality, which now appears to be spreading like wildfire, too. So I'm thinking about our George Whitefields --- those Stonewall drag queens, Harvey Milk, personal heroes like Paul Monette and countless others.

And of course, as another personal year turns, of the hundreds of thousands of my contemporaries who didn't live to see or experience it.

No comments: