The end and a beginning

Last night I co-presided at a Eucharist for the first time in over 23 years. The last time was in Long Beach at Our Lady of Refuge. Little did I realize that I’d be so long between events. I could feel myself becoming emotional, at times last night, but I stayed composed. I proclaimed the gospel, read part of the Eucharistic Prayer and was minister of the cup. My only concern was walking. It seemed, at moments, that my gait was unsteady. Perhaps it was due to being unaccustomed to walking in an alb.

The Dignity group were welcoming me of my role as presider and as a new member of the board. I reflected this morning that, on the whole, Dignity is comprised of individuals who have talents and have vulnerable idiosyncrasies. Whether its having a young foreign lover, an aging partner who is on the board of International Safety Schools (?), or other some such combination (Michael and Sean) we are a gathering of wounded healers for sure.

I’ve disconnected the Whatsapp on my phone and told Ash that he can communicate via my yahoo email. He didn’t seem to like the idea. His growing silence, even before I announced I was disconnecting Whatsapp, made me wonder what was going on in his neck of the woods. How curious that he became distant after a brief flurry of naked interactions via video (never my first idea of having fun) and then it immediately dropped off. The same happened with Karim and Saad. Was that what they were ultimately looking for and, once achieved, they wanted to move on? By “they” I mean the spate of young Arab Muslim men I had been hooking up with on line for the past few years. Very curious. Anyway, I left a message for Ash on his Skype account asking some pointed questions. I even asked if there was someone else or if he was wanting to end it with me. I pointed out that he had little to ask or contribute about the upcoming trip to Turkey which, at this point, is a no go. I frankly doubt he will respond — my Western directness goes against the Arab dance of indirection. But we’ll see. In any case, I’ll cancel the reservation for the hotel in Istanbul and (sadly) have to eat the airfare to Turkey.

I wrote Bishop O’Brien an invitation to be interviewed regarding his conflicted support in allowing ministry to gays to take place while he was bishop. The last time he and I exchanged letters, in 1995, I resigned from the ministry and he removed my faculties. We didn’t part on the most amiable of terms. My head keeps playing a news reel of all the priests who had left ministry under him. The exodus is astonishing. Not all were due to sexual improprieties. Some, like Ladensack and Jereb, left for other reasons all together.  Why Jereb went through with ordination while the woman he would marry was in the congregation still baffles me. What was he thinking? Anyway, we’ll see what O’Brien has to say.

I’m accepting of all this. I’m not depressed at the change of plans for Turkey. At this point in my life, I can be detached enough to see that (even though I experience joyous highs and lows) in the end, I can make rational choices that are not emotionally wrenching. I’m disappointed, yes, but not devastated. Were I younger and in better health I’d go alone. But, I’m not so I won’t. Make smart choices, say Pat


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