I just returned from Texas where we attended the UURMaPA (Unitarian Universalist Retired Ministers and Partners) conference and spent a few extra days in Austin visiting the family of one of Anne’s Sicilian cousins.
What a trip it was! It was only a week, but it was also a lifetime. At the conference I told my life story, my odyssey, which wasn’t an easy thing to do. Like everyone, I have seen some hard times. It was emotional and difficult to speak of some of them. The response from my colleagues in ministry and their partners was truly heartwarming. The conference theme was on Unitarian Universalism’s history on GLBTQ issues. And although we have been much more progressive on those issues than any other faith tradition that I know of, there was still a lot of pain expressed by ministers who came out in the early days. I loved the conference, and there were times I cried. Tears are good though.
After the conference, we went to Austin to visit family that we had never met in person. Frankly, we were a little nervous about meeting them. They are religious Christians who attend a large Protestant church. Would they embrace us for who we are, or simply tolerate us in “love the sinner, hate the sin” mode? We were very moved by the warm welcome we received from them. We also learned that one of the teenagers is president of the GSA (Gay Straight Alliance) at her school. How awesome is that? It reminded me of our visit to Sicily where we were also nervous, and then we discovered that one of the young adult cousins was “Mr. Gay Europe” and that the family embraced him whole-heartedly. Damn, I love our Italian family, and I am thrilled to now know the ones who live in Texas. This warm and embracing family is yet another gift I have received from my marriage to Anne.
I tried to stay on-track with my weight loss program while I was gone, but it was hard. I definitely drank less water. The conference food had lots of good choices, but exercising was pretty much out as the programming started early and went into the evening. Austin was a home-made Italian pasta dinner and a similar lunch, complete with impossible-to-resist pastry desserts. They also took us out for an awesome steak fajitas lunch. I skipped the rice and beans, but likely overate on the rest. The meat was so tender and flavorful! The hotel had an exercise room, though, and we walked a lot touring around. We will see what the scale shows this week, but my funky home scale doesn’t have a particularly frightening number on it. It is all OK. Everything is just grand in fact. It is also good to be home.