(This was previously published on blogspot….)
I enjoyed a very different dinner the other evening. I am not even sure yet how to describe the time I shared with my cousin, my Auntie, my cousin’s roommates and one of her roommate’s niece who brought her massage table. It was an eclectic gathering; it was a martini-enriched get-together; it was in some ways so surprising. I could tell a story…
The middle-aged black woman sitting across the dinner table from me nonchalantly lifted her shirt and lovingly lifted her size G breasts out of their lacy bra and there they were right out in the open for all of us to ponder. We all marveled at her abundance even while we continued chewing our steak and sipping our wine. A casual display, yet her sad eyes gave away that she only wanted to be loved.
And then the conversation turned back to the man upstairs, her uncle, who had suffered greatly in recent weeks from a terrible series of mini-strokes which had left him partially paralyzed and unable to care for himself. He had been helped to bed after happily engaging in the evening visit with all of the guests. Too tired, too much fun for the prematurely aged man, he had reluctantly accepted the shoulder of his lover and his niece to go upstairs to bed. One on each side of him, they mounted the stairs, and we held our breath as he took one treacherous step after another, finally resting peacefully in his large comfortable bed.
The woman had put her breasts away. The dinner conversation continued on, many reminiscences were put out on the table as casually as her personal exposure and the laughter floated up and up, surrounding the man upstairs and comforting him even as he slept.
Yet, there was heartbreaking sadness as his lover at the table told us how he missed the many days and nights they had shared together, twenty some years of caring for each other and now, though they weren’t married, they had come to the hard part of “in sickness and in health”. He passionately related his love as he enjoyed his baked potato which was slathered in butter and beautifully decorated with sliced green onions. We simultaneously laughed at his pantomime and felt the pain in his loneliness.
Of course, all of us at that table could relate to loneliness and disappointment. Two of us had been divorced in the past year. Another was facing an uncomfortable surgery in just a few short weeks. There were grown children living on the street and nearly grown children soon leaving for Navy boot camp. Uncertain fears lurking in shadows and under chairs and behind closed doors. And yet, here we were lifting a glass to joy and life and friendship and family.
The G-sized woman laid down her fork, as my cousin and my auntie left the table to trade their wine cups for martini glasses again. She laid down on her back across the sturdy antique dining room chair and announced, “I wish I was a porn star.” She pronounced it “poyn star” and repeated her wish several times as she lay sprawled and balancing on the patient old chair.
At last she sat up and continued eating her asparagus and even tried the steak though she was trying to avoid red meat. And there was a lot of discussion about the diet my auntie and cousin were recently using to remove the inner tubes from their middles. They had been quite successful and looking very fine, although they hadn’t lost as much weight as they would have liked. Still it was a successful diet and those of us who weren’t on the diet were certainly considering it as we munched our salads and took another slab of prime steak.
So soon I had to leave this home where people were listening to each other’s hearts and admiring each other’s breasts (for certainly more than one pair had been exposed in the course of the evening). As I parted with the blessing that I would always be welcome, I heard my own heart whisper that the love in that place could overflow into our world if only we would all believe that God loves us just as we are. The unconditional acceptance and sincere caring of the people at our dinner reminded me so strangely of the Lord Jesus Christ who made it a habit to eat with “sinners and tax collectors” much to the chagrin and eventual anger of the religious leaders of that time in history. Jesus would not have been shocked at this dinner — He would have loved us all just where we were. And because He was there, I believe His love was pouring out all over us.
Blessings of love and joy on you today.