Sunday, November 30, 2014

Breakfast in the Castro - Separation

Me: Good morning, Mibes. 

Mibes: Good morning. Good Sabbath. How are you?

Me: Glad to be alive. Glad to be with you. Amazed at how much there is to be grateful for. And you? How are you today?

Mibes: Glad to be up and about. Glad to be with you. No place I'd rather be. No one I'd rather be with. So you’re still thinking about Thanksgiving?

Me: Aw, thanks. Yes and no. Yes, I’m still grateful. Yes, I have good memories of this year and years past. But no, I’m not in replay mode, I’m looking forward to this day, this moment, actually.

Mibes: Same here. This moment, right now, with you. 

Me: That’s how I feel. 

Mibes: This isn’t just a writing exercise?

Me: Even if it were, what’s wrong with that? But no it’s not. It’s more. 

Mibes: Yes! Romans says nothing can separate us from the love of God, neither life nor death, things present nor things to come. It’s an inclusive list. I’d like to think that’s also true for us. That nothing could separate us, either.

Me: I hugged you when I got here. And I’ll hug you when I leave, but I’m also hugging you now, Mibes. 

Mibes: (laughing) Are you embracing me or my ideas. 

Me: (also laughing) Both. But you got your ideas from the bible. 

Mibes: True. And you. You inspired me. 

Me: Glad to be of service. But I don’t know about this ideal of nothing getting in the way, nothing separating us from God or each other. It doesn’t take much. Apathy, bigotry, contention, deceit…

Mibes: You and your alphabetic lists. 

Me: How about this: nothing can separate us from the love of God, but as flawed humans we can easily become separated from each other and ourselves. We do sometimes become separated not just from our family and friends but from our best selves. 

Mibes: Yes, and it’s because of the widespread alienation that the connections we do have with our Creator, family, friends and ourselves are a priority, or at least should be.

Me: I knew that sooner or later you’d mention the word the s-word. 

Mibes: "Should"? really? 

Me: It’s OK. In small doses. 

Mibes: We’ll have to talk more about this. We should talk more. We should. 

Me: Love you, Mibes.

Mibes: Love you more.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Breakfast in the Castro - Give them hope

Mibes: Great to see you smiling this morning!

Me: I'm smiling because you're smiling. So what are you smiling about?

Mibes: Several reasons. It's good to see you. I really do look forward to this. Another reason is location. This place. Who has been here. And what they've said.

Me: Milk? Harvey Milk? Harvey Milk on hope?

Mibes: Yes! Exactly. How did you know?

Me: I'm clearly thinking more like you do. And you actually have a kind of Harvey-Milk look on your face, at least the way Sean Penn portrayed him.

Mibes: He was talking about young isolated gays when he said (Mibes, now reading from his phone) "you have to give them hope. Hope for a better world, hope for a better tomorrow, hope for a better place to come to if the pressures at home are too great. Hope that all will be all right. Without hope, not only gays, but the blacks, the seniors, the handicapped, the us'es, the us'es will give up." 

Me: I know what that's like when you lose hope. And when you claim it back again. 

Mibes: I know you do.

Me: So I can see why you're smiling when you talk about hope. It's really one of the most powerful things in the universe.

Mibes: So here's to hope and Harvey Milk.

Me: (giving Mibes a hug) Thanks giving me hope, Mibes.

Mibes: Thanks to you, too, and Harvey Milk and Dustin Lance Black and so many others.

Me: Good luck with the rest of your day.

Mibes: You, too!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Breakfast in the Castro - Black Friday

Me: Mibes! It was crazy getting here with all the Black Friday traffic. I’m glad you made it safely. Your smile is better than a cup of coffee to start my day.

Mibes: Thanks and good morning! You survived your Thanksgiving dinner. Congratulations.

Me: (laughter) I really did enjoy it. It’s so much more than a feast. 

Mibes: Thanks for the report. I thought you’d find it a bit different this year. Not just because of the growth in your family, but because your growth.

Me: You’re right. I was a bit more relaxed. I enjoyed the prep and the process, the people and the place. 

Mibes: There you go with the alliteration. You have too much fun with that.

Me: I do. It interests me, involves insight and intuition, introspection, intelligence, engagement.

Mibes: Enough. 

Me: Ok. I love you, Mikes. More today than yesterday.

Mibes: I’m feeling that love. I’m going to try to make better use of that feeling, that love, that energy. Isn’t it surprising how just a thought or a few words or an intention can change so much for better or worse.

Me: Well so far with you, my thoughts have been more about health than sickness, if you're going for that business about a partnership for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, until death do you part.

Mibes: Talk, talk, talk, talk. I think you’re a bit intoxicated from your celebration. 

Me: Water was my only drink.

Mibes: Maybe your only beverage, but you drank in the color, the candlelight, the scents and smiles. It’s still in your thoughts, isn’t it? You’re still playing back some of those moments.

Me: And my moments with you. I want more.

Mibes: Might be too much of a good thing?

Me: I don’t think so. But we’ll see.

Mibes: Yes we will. Hey you didn't write about our hug yesterday.

Me: So? Just because I didn't write about it doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it.

Mibes: (after a long embrace) I want to give you something to write about.

Me: You've succeeded. 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Breakfast in the Castro - Yams

Me: Well Mibes, happy Thanksgiving, my good friend. I’m thankful for you.

Mibes: And my thanks to you, too. My world has changed a lot in the last few days.

Me: Same here. If you’d asked me a few days ago what I’m thankful for, I could have given you a long list. But you weren’t on it.

Mibes: I know. But it’s OK, because you’ve always been on mine. That was enough. 

Me: But today you’re on the list. On my A-to-Z list when I get to "M" you're right in there with the music and movement. And I’m so glad to be starting this day with you.

Mibes: I wouldn’t have missed it. Hey, I’ve got a question for you. 

Me: Sure, anything. 

Mibes: You’ve given me such a strange nickname.  I mean I know you gave it to me for a reason and I’m grateful, but wouldn't Mike or Miles, have been so much easier?

Me: Easier perhaps but not as clear. Mibes is my name for you because you're My Better Self. A way to pronounce the acronym: MBS. 

Mibes: You and your acronyms! But it takes some of the mystery and mystique out of breakfast meetings, doesn't it?

Me: Not for me. It just makes you even more real than you already are. And there's still plenty of intrigue. I don't know what you're going to say. I don't even know if you're going to show up.

Mibes: I've tried to make it clear, I'm always available. 

Me: I know. It's not you. It's me. You've shown that you're willing to meet me. On this day of all days, I'm thankful for that. Thank you, Mibes! Thanks for being so much more real than you've been in years.

Mibes: Now that’s something I’m grateful for. That I’m real to you. Your very own Velveteen Rabbit

Me: That story is the most reliable way for me to get some tears flowing. (starts a search on his phone) Here’s the paragraph that always gets to me...

Mibes: (reading from the phone) 'You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand.” 

Me: You’ve become real to me Mibes. 

Mibes: Aw you’re making me feel all warm and sweet and savory inside. Like some of the yams you’re going to eat this afternoon.

Me: You’re way better than candied yams, Mibes. Now I’ve got a question for you.

Mibes: Will it have sharp edges?

Me: Maybe, but I think you’ll be OK. My question is: are you less lonely?

Mibes: Yeah, I feel like I’ve come out of the closet. It’s like I was suit or a tie that you’d wear sometimes, but the rest of the time I was just hanging there with your other stuff. You didn’t think of me, unless it was Sunday and sometimes not even then.

Me: I’m sorry.

Mibes: Me too, but it’s OK. We’re together now.

Me: No going back.

Mibes: Yup, and breakfast in Castro any day you want.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Breakfast in the Castro - A Thanksgiving Plan

Mibes: Good morning, you made it!

Me: Good morning, so did you!
(long embrace)

Me: How are you feeling this morning?

Mibes: I feel energetic, thanks. I got off to a slow start. It was hard to roll out of bed this morning, but I made it. Got up and moving. Glad to be alive. Glad to be here with you. And you, how’s your morning?

Me: Similar. To be honest, I thought for just a moment that I wouldn’t show, or you wouldn’t--that three breakfast dates in a row might be a bit much. But that was easy to dismiss.

Mibes: Wow, you too. I’d also imagined that you might not show. (laughter) But I dismissed it as a crazy thought.

Me: (laughter) You do seem to know me.

Mibes: And I’m glad to know you. I look into your eyes and I just feel this connection.

Me: It’s the same for me. The eye connection is strong. But I also feel it from your voice, the hugs, the smile.

Mibes: Agreed. It’s multidimensional. Changing the subject a bit, what are thoughts about the holidays?

Me: Mixed feelings. I’ll certainly enjoy Thanksgiving. I love the combination of family and food and that it’s just not drawn out for a month. And that’s the downside of Christmas. Just too long. Sometimes it feels like a marathon.

Mibes: Could you change something?

Me: (smile and laughter) I was just thinking about that. What if I got up, what if we got up every morning in December. To meet here. To extend this conversation?

Mibes: (also laughing) I wondered if you’d propose that. It sounds good. Like I said, I’ve been lonely. And not just any garden-variety of needing more contact with people in general. The contact I need is with you. 

Me: Wait a minute, I thought I was the needy one here. That I needed you far more than you needed me.

Mibes: Guess again. It’s the reciprocity thing again. I need you as much as you need me. Maybe more.

Me: Aw, Mibes. You’re so easy to love.

Mibes: As are you. Maybe not for everyone, but for me.

Me: What do you mean not for everyone?

Mibes: (laughter) Hey I’ve got to be on my way.

Me: Me, too. You sure you want to do this tomorrow on Thanksgiving morning?

Mibes: I’m sure. But it’s OK if you change your mind. Just let me know. But I think we should plan on it. I will plan on it.

Me: So will I. Thank you, I love you. Hope your day goes well.

Mibes: I love you more.

Me: I love that you love more because that’s more for both of us.

Mibes: OK. (rolling eyes)

Me: Tomorrow. Thanksgiving. See you then.

(another long embrace)

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Breakfast in the Castro - Day 2

Me: Mibes, I’m a bit sleepy, but good morning.

Mibes: Good morning! I’m sleepy too but being with you will wake me up. I’m glad you could meet for a second time.

Me: Me, too. I’ve looked forward to it. Yesterday the time seemed to fly so quickly once we got started. I wanted more.

Mibes: And so did I. Here’s my take on it. We were lonely for each other. I’ve wanted someone to mentor. And not just anyone.

Me: Yes, and I’ve wanted to be mentored. I’ve always seemed to crave a wiser, older brother who loved me. I’ve sought him over all these years, sometimes with great success and other times with disappointment.

Mibes: It’s a common thing. People being driven to attain something or to seek a relationship to make them whole. Much good is done in the world as we seek, sometimes finding and sometimes failing.

Me: I wouldn't trade it. The highs and the lows. I've learned. I think I'm more grateful and I’ve been greatly blessed by being alone and being able to be somewhat gregarious. 

Mibes: Yes, you mentioned how I was gregarious yesterday. Today you can see that more clearly in yourself. 

Me: Yes. So that’s one of the advantages of our talking. It helps me to see possibilities or even realities I hadn’t seen before. 

Mibes: It also helps me. I've really have been lonely. Not just lonely for anyone, but lonely for you.

Me: I think I can understand that. I want to understand that.

Mibes: Good, I’m glad you can start to see that or at least want to see it. There's no rush. Take your time. Enjoy the moment. I'm going to. 

Me: Do you believe in magic, Mibes? Is our having breakfast some kind of a magic thing or is it just my imagination?

Mibes: You’ve already discovered some of the magic. You’ve already discovered how mornings with someone you love are magic for you. You’ve already discovered how powerful that is.

Me: Yes and more. Like gratitude and goals. Yes. But I need to get better organized with all this. Can you help me with getting better organized, Mibes?

Mibes: Can I help you? We're here. Together. It's what you wanted. It's what I wanted. Reciprocity. 

Me: I love you, Mibes.

Mikes: I love you more. I know that's not original, but I really like it.

Me: Glad to see you're not above recognizing someone else's good ideas.

Miles: Glad to see that you're seeing me more realistically.  

Me: Tomorrow morning, we could meet again? Go for three in a row?

Mibes: Remember I'm closer than anyone on your phone.

Me: Tomorrow then. Yes, please.

Mibes: I’ll be here.

Me: Me, too. Thanks, Mibes! Love you!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Breakfast in the Castro

Met an old friend this morning. We've seen each other in passing lately. Sometimes our eyes have met and we’ve smiled or even said hello. Early this morning we sat down together and did our best to carry on a conversation.

It started with hugs and apologies. It’s so good to see you again and then a hug. It’s been forever but also it just seems like yesterday. Another hug. I’m sorry I’ve ignored you. I’m sorry too, but its OK, I’ve ignored you, too, but here we are. Laughter and other hug.

If you could see us, you might think we’re brothers. We have similar physical features, but he’s more gregarious and looks happier. So many good qualities.

Me: I want to hear how you’ve been doing. You look great. You’ve been working out haven’t you?

Mibes: Happy to chat any time. I know how busy you are. But to answer your question, I’ve wanted to exercise more. I’ve done some, but my exercise buddy is sometimes distracted or busy. Best of intentions but a little unfocused.

Me: He’s missing out. I’d like to tell him that. I’d say, “Don’t you know who this man is? Spend all the time you can with him. He can help you like no one else.”

Mibes: You’re crazy. You know that.

Me: You’ve told me that before. Sometimes I’ve doubted you. Did I mention how good it is to see you again?

Mibes: I’m always here. Easier to reach than anyone on your phone.

Me: I know that, but then I forget.

Mibes: It’s OK. You’ll do better.

Me: Yes I will.

Mibes: I see that you’re writing some notes. Are you going to put this on your blog?

Me: You know me, pretty well, don’t you?

Mibes: You make me laugh. Sure, go ahead and post it.

Me: I’ve only made a few notes. I didn’t think about writing at first.

Mibes: Go with what you’ve got. We’ll have more conversations. I would like to see you more.

Me: Same here. We’ll stay in touch. I’ll be a better friend.

Mibes: You want to meet again tomorrow?

Me: (smiling) Yes. Let’s do it.

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Anatomy of Gratitude

I’m grateful for my toes and feet, my ankles and shins, my calves and quads, my knees and hips. And all the other parts and pieces, the nerves and commands that make it possible for me to move about, that enable me to stand, walk and run.

I’m grateful for my fingers and hands, my wrists and forearms, my elbows and shoulders, biceps and triceps. And all the other parts and pieces that make it possible for me to hold and be held, to hug and be hugged, to lug, and to write these very words by moving fingers over a keyboard or to hold and control a pen or pencil, a marker or a crayon, a stylus or the charred end of a stick.

I’m thankful for my heart and lungs and guts, my pits, pecs, package and butt. What a remarkable invention that I can function, that I can eat and breathe, that mouth and throat both lead to stomach and lungs for air, laughter, singing, water and food. What a sense of humor for our creator and/or the processes that created us to so closely align the sublime world of human bonding and sexual reproduction and pleasure with the mundane daily urgencies of pissing and pooping.

I'm grateful for the way all these parts and functions combine to sustain me and make possible the consumption of my daily bread, the drinking of water, the inhaling and exhaling of breath without which I would not be alive for more than a few minutes.

I'm glad to have my neck and jaw, my scalp and forehead, my hair and eyebrows, my whiskers and the unruly hair in my nose and ears, the sometimes thick and sometimes thin hair that covers most of my body from earlobes to toes. I'm grateful for those ears both external and internal which are to me the world’s most sensitive stereo microphones and my eyes which are to me the world’s most precise high definition 3D video cameras. 

I'm thankful for my nose and nasal cavities and sense of smell and taste, my mouth and tongue and teeth; my lips which have kissed loved ones and kittens and puppies; my mouth and face and the musculature and meaning that empower me to and to smile and speak, to laugh and yawn, to cry and curse. I'm grateful for the well-shielded, multi-core, dual-lobe microprocessor: my brain and the great mystery of the mind and memory and the learning and yearning it makes possible. I'm grateful for so many hundreds, if not thousands of functions, so creatively combined.

All this, of course, ain't just a blog entry. This is also a written prayer. I'm grateful to my Heavenly Parents for all the gifts I've been able to list above and for millions, if not billions of others, including the billions of cells that make up my body and yours, and the 7-billion souls now alive on the planet. Thanks also for my proximity to and love for the tiny slice of that huge, global family that includes my own family, friends, and strangers all about me. I'm thankful for these blessings which can be counted and the others that seem numberless and pray that you might continue to pour out these blessings upon this tiny planet as you have done well before and throughout my life. In Jesus name, amen.