We found out this morning that Shannon's parents, supposed to arrive in California tomorrow afternoon, will not be making the trip. Her mom is sick, and unable to fly. My first reaction? Extreme disappointment...and a startling realization of just what that disappointment means.
Even two years ago, I wasn't sure Shannon's parents would ever really accept us. Our life, as two women married to each other, is way beyond what they've known in the rural life of North Carolina that has shaped each of them for more than 70 years. They are not now, nor have they ever been, the hate-mongers that seem to capture so much of the media's attention. Instead, they are faithful Christian folks whose world hasn't been as diverse or as broad or as open as mine (and Shannon's) has been able to be. Same-sex attraction - much less marriage - is difficult, at best, to come to terms with in their lives and in their community. Shannon's journey with them as she came out to them over the years has been fraught with misunderstanding, deep pain, and even months and weeks of silence.
And now, in the early months of 2008, we are deeply disappointed they will not be arriving tomorrow - and so are they. Our relationship with them is far from perfect nor is it always simple and comfortable. It is, though, real and honest and loving and steadfast. We know now that we're a part of the family, even when it may not be as ideal as we'd like it to be. Prayer does change us, our collective prayers have changed every one of us into this moment: a moment of disappointment that reveals the extraordinary grace of God evident in the gift of this family.