I have put off finishing the many various drafts of these acknowledgments since before graduation and in the weeks following. To be honest, I simply could not get these finished before graduation and was just too exhausted and mired in preparation for my final class and finishing my paper afterward.
I intended this series to be two separate types of posts. One—an homage, of sorts, to the people who got me through three years of seminary away from home. (Seems it would have been more timely closer to the actual graduation but I feel compelled to complete this task nonetheless.) And the other—one that gives honor to the people who have sustained us over these past several years: those here in Dallas; folx I met along the way; and beloved siblings—all of whom influenced our lives and calling, supported and sustained us, and maintained ‘home’ wherever we were.
I am—we are—grateful for the presence of these beloveds in our lives and pray you find the blessing of those who love in real and meaningful ways as we have been so fortunate to receive.
I remember vividly the conversation we had over burgers and tater tots on the Hunky’s patio that warm afternoon in the spring of 2015. We were trying to work through whether I should go on to Pacific School of Religion for the two-year masters program I had been accepted into and how we should proceed logistically if I did. Me moving to Berkeley while he stayed in Dallas had emerged as the likely scenario. We discussed the pros and cons of such a decision, including one particularly difficult question I felt should be raised.
“What if,” I ventured, “what if…we don’t make it.”
His face fell and his eyes became a bit teary. I immediately regretting bringing it up.
“What do you mean ‘if’?” he asked, the hurt visible in his voice.
“I mean—I know we will make it,” I earnestly back-pedaled. “But a lot of people don’t. I don’t know. What if….What if we don’t?”
Well, if you know us at all, you know that not only did we make it, we grew closer to each other than we were when I left. [Spoiler alert: we got married a little over half-way through!] That’s not to say there weren’t some difficult days—homesickness, longing, fatigue, and moments when all we wanted to do was hold each other and forget everything else. But the point is, we made it.
Because of Miguel’s unshakable belief in me and his trust in our love and the call on our lives and our life together, I was able to fully immerse myself in the experience seminary offered me—not just the theologian-activists on Holy Hill but also among the social justice and queer communities within the Bay Area bubble, within the Burning Man culture, and alongside new family found at Glide and City of Refuge. Not only did I get a masters of divinity, a rich education in the fields of sexuality and religion and spirituality and social change, and privilege of call in the United Church of Christ, I got to practice my theology in some incredible places, interrogate my reconstructed theology through relationship with some brilliant world-changers, and inspire my theological imagination in ceremony with seers, spiritual guides, and sisters.
This beloved man was with me on this journey every step of the way (and watched most of it on FaceTime!). He read every paper; heard every debate I was having with sacred texts and organized religion; listened to every sermon; encouraged me every step of the way.
As I said in my wedding vows, “He is the very best man I know.”
And as we transition to a new chapter in our lives together, we do so with joy (relieved we are going to be living together again!) and great hope for the future we are bravely stepping into.
For I know that no matter where I go or what I do, he will be holding my hand as he does my heart. Gentle protector, ardent lover, dearest soulmate.
He is mine. And I am his.
A Beloved Community
Look into his eyes…