by Louise Davis
My beloved first grandchild looked at me and said “Grandma, I love you so much, I’ll go to hell with you and then we’ll be together. OK?”
I had known the issue would be coming up soon, in the third grade, she was becoming very worldly. As I looked into her big brown, completely trusting eyes, and decided how to answer, my life passed before me.
The teenage years: Wondering why anyone would ever want to date a boy? Dating, because it was expected, but the best was the slumber parties with my girlfriends. Trying to explain to my father exactly how I was a “different kind of woman” than my mother and sister.
Motherhood: The thrill of new babies and watching the children grow. The emptiness of being “Mommy and Daddy” with no real husband and wife relationship.
Self-discovery: Falling head over heels in love, with a very married woman. Kissing a woman for the first time on the top of a ferris wheel at the State Fair — there really were fireworks! Spending hours in the card sections of stores, finally understanding what all this “love business” was about.
Coming out: Leaving my calling in a very public way, questioning, yet trusting, why God had made me both a pastor and a lesbian. Not unexpectedly, being disowned by my family of origin. Struggling to get my feet back under me when most of the safe secure places were gone.
I looked into the eyes of this most precious granddaughter, and thought about what she knows of my life. The secure home away from home my life partner and I provide for her. The loving, caring relationship she witnesses. She loves my partner, her “Mormor,” and understands about the daily commitment I have to Mormor’s mother who lives 10 minutes from us.
She is trying to understand why her friend’s church says we are going to hell. She has decided that if this is what loving us means, then she is ready to go. I give her my adult explanation about different churches believing different things, remind her that she goes to church with us and that I’m the one always singing “the God songs” with her.
She listens to me politely and says “Well, if my friend’s church is right, then I’ll go to hell with you so we can be together. OK?” I hug her and realize that if the incredibly wonderful life I’m now living will send me to hell, then I’m ready to go, too.
© 2005 Evangelical & Ecumenical Women’s Caucus volume 29 number 1 Spring (April-June) 2005