As a Mormon bisexual man I live in the "other circumstances" mentioned in The Family: A Proclamation to the World where "Death, disability or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation."
Mibes: Good morning, wow you look great. How are you?
Me: Good morning, Mibes. Thanks. I don't feel great, but it is good to see you. How are you?
Mibes: Always, always better when I'm with you. You're not feeling well?
Me: Aw, you're kind to say that. I'm OK, still a bit discouraged that my church has... well you know.
Mibes: If it helps to talk about it, let's talk. If not, there's plenty of time to discuss it later.
Me: You remind me of a counselor just trying to make me feel at ease. No pressure.
Mibes: We'll I do hope you'll always feel we can talk about anything, but I don't want to make you feel anything. I'm happy to sit here in silence. Just being with you in total silence, that's OK by me.
Me: Really? I don't think we've ever done that. I think we've always talked about something over breakfast.
Mibes: That's mostly true. Unless you count the long silences. But I'm not counting. I'm good with a lot of talk, or some, or long silences or silence only. It's not like someone's listening in on us, taking down every word.
Me: How can you say that? When you know it's exactly like that?
Mibes: hahaha! A reference to you and your blog, no doubt.
Mibes: Yes and no. Your blog has focused on our breakfasts but not exclusively. Of nearly 300 posts, you've only written 30 about breakfast with me, if you count this one.
Me: That's the largest single category. Our breakfasts are significant.
Mibes: Yeah, I guess so. Sort of like tithing. One tenth. It adds up.
Me: When we met it was like I met someone who's known me all my life and still likes me.
Mibes: You're sweet. But you're just projecting what you want on to me. I'm such an empty canvas you can see just about anything you want to see.
Me: Don't go all psycho-babble on me.
Mibes: Ahem. You're the one with his hands on they keyboard. I'm only saying what you're writing.
Me: I sometimes forget for a moment. That's another one of your qualities, though. You help with perspective. I can show up for breakfast here hungry and depressed, and I somehow leave with more than food in my stomach. I leave feeling more optimistic, more loved, less depressed.
Mibes: It works that way for me too. I'm somehow able to put losses and gains into context.
Me: So what do you make of the new policies?
Mibes: Hey I live in the Castro for several reasons. One of them is a sense of community.
Me: Ok, now we're getting somewhere. That's the one of the losses I feel. I've lost of my sense of community. I used to imagine that the brethren not only knew people like me, but they also loved us. That they wanted us and our children to soar.
Mibes: They still say they love you. And you're OK. You're married to a woman. Your children aren't being denied anything.
Me: Oh but they are. No one benefits from this. I don't see any upside, but maybe it's survivor's guilt. My Kinsey scale was once in a place that made my path possible. But that's not possible for so many. And my wife, my children, it's like we all got unusual blessings that are now denied to others through no fault of their own.
Mibes: You've had your blessings and your challenges.
Me: But I feel this loss now. I feel this sadness. A loss of hope. Summer turned to winter. Slap.
Mibes: Well it is late November. Time to look forward to Thanksgiving. It is on Thursday, you know.
Me: (sigh) Yes, and I am thankful for lots of things, just not this. Why do we have to- -
Mibes: - -deal with losses, disappointment?
Mibes: I don't have answers.
Me: I know.
Mibes: But I love you. And this too shall pass.
Me: You love me now, but it's going away?
Mibes: No. I love you now and always. Politics, that's what we're dealing with here and it won't always be like this.
Me: Maybe it's going to get worse.
Me: But maybe there are gains, even now.
Mibes: Like what?
Me: Maybe there's awareness that this is a game-changer. Maybe more stories will be told.
Mibes: That's already happened. And my sense is that there's more to come.
Me: This ain't over.
Mibes: Not for you and not for thousands of others. Stadiums full of them.
Me: But what about the guys at 47 East South Temple?
Mibes: What about 'em?
Me: Don't they see all the trouble they've caused?
Mibes: They see what they want to see. They may see it as an affirmation that they can do hard things. That when God tells them to do something they do it.
Me: But I don't think this came from God.
Mibes: You have your experiences in life. They have theirs. But here's the deal. They are seeing things they didn't see before. We all are. They want to do the right thing.
Me: How do you know that?
Mibes: I don't know that. But I want to believe it. I want to think that there are a lot of elements in play right now and they know it.
Me: So I should be grateful for that, eh? That there's this siege of ideas? This siege mentality?
Mibes: It's part of picture. Give or take a few billion pixels.
Me: Mibes, I'm glad you're so calm.
Mibes: I'm glad you're glad. We made a lot of progress from typos and Twinkies, don't you think?
Me: I guess.
Mibes: You've made my day. You know that don't you?
Me: How so?
Mibes: Because we talked. It reminded me of those other 29 conversations and gave me hope for maybe another couple of dozen.
Me: You and your numbers. Of course there will be more.
Mibes: You and your keyboard. It all depends on you. If you want more, I'm game. Now give me a hug and go do whatever you do with your Sundays these days.
Me: Thanks my friend. I will.
Mibes: In the midst of affliction your table is spread.
Me: I guess it is. You'll be in my prayers of thanksgiving, Mibes.
Me: Good morning to you. Good to see you, too. Sorry it's been so long. I've been kind of a loner, kind of depressed.
Mibes: Me, too, but we'll survive. How bad has it been this time?
Me: To be honest, lousy, but here's something that's cheered me up a bit. I've been thinking about ways our esteemed leaders could get rid of this whole anti-gay policy and save face at the same time.
Mibes: Gallows humor. It is one way to cope. Go ahead.
Me: First there's The Typo Defense.
Mibes: They're going to claim all this trouble is because of a typographical error?
Me: Exactly. The church just says that the word the “immediate” as in “immediate implementation” was a typo. It should have been “possible”, that is “possible implementation” sometime in the future, or not at all.
Mibes: Sure. They wrote a policy they never intended to implement. Just for the fun of it. And you have other ideas like this?
Me: Yeah, I've also got The Twinkie Defense.
Mibes: You're dragging Harvey Milk and his assassin into this?
Me: I think the Mayor of Castro Street, God rest his soul, would actually agree. He'd laugh.
Mibes: I think he'd roll his eyes, but I have a feeling you're going to tell me about this whether or not I want to hear it.
Me: Yeah, the church can use The Twinkie Defense. Members of the the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve have been binging on the new variations of Twinkies. You could even call them restorationist Twinkies.
Mibes: Very funny. Notice how I'm convulsed with laughter. And?
Me: Well these new Twinkies are apparently even more potent than the originals. They're all the rage at 47 East South Temple and all that Twinkie binging caused temporary delusions. The policy changes are entirely invalid and the church leaders are not responsible.
Mibes: A typo or Twinkies?
Me: Oh I've got several more.
Mibes: I'm sure you do.
Me: The Computer Hacker Defense. Computer hackers who wished to attack the church leaked this counterfeit policy to the press, then intercepted subsequent inquires to the PR office and then simulated an interview with Elder Christopherson.
Mibes: Counterfeit. Great word.
Me: I thought you'd appreciate that.
Mibes: So all communications on this issue emanated from the hackers not the church? There were never any real changes to existing church policy? And the hackers are still in charge until the church boots them out and exposes them?
Me: Yes, yes, yes.
Mibes: You've been thinking way too much about this, haven't you?
Me: Much more than I ever wanted to.
Mibes: OK. OK. Now I've got one for you.
Me: I knew you would get into this.
Mibes: The Music Committee Defense. The policy is actually a church music committee proposal that only applies to guitar playing parents who are in same-Fender relationships.
Me: Same-Fender not same-gender. Beautiful. Music not morality.
Mibes: And given the reception and misperception, the policy will be returned to the church music committee for clarification by the electric guitar sub-committee.
Mibes: Yes! How about this one? The Pilot Program Defense.
Mibes: No pilot as in testing an idea. The policy was never intended to apply to the church at large. It was approved only as a pilot program to be implemented in Lark, Utah and Bradshaw City, Arizona and Grub Gultch, California. The pilot program stands and will be immediately implemented but only in those communities.
Me: And you think people will google those cities, do you?
Mibes: Some won't have to. They'll know. You got any more?
Me: Yeah, one more based again on a typo. The policy has nothing whatsoever to do with same-sex marriage, it's about same-sex carriage--when people of the same sex are in a horse-drawn vehicle.
Mibes: Are we done?
Me: Yes. For now.
Mibes: Thanks for breakfast.
Me: Thanks to you.
Mibes: Keep looking for typos.
Me: You, too!
Mibes: What about that depression you mentioned. How's that going? Are you getting getting help? Are you still on your meds? What about counseling? How's your exercise coming along?
Me: Stop with all the questions. I'm OK.
Mibes: That's what you said when you were- -
Me: - -when I was suicidal. Yes. But I'm not now. I'm taking my meds. I'm seeing a new counselor and he's quite good. I'm not as depressed. I can cope better with the anxiety. And yes, I'm exercising.
Mibes: And writing?
Me: And writing. Check my blog. There's a new entry.
Mibes: So how are you really doing?
Me: I'm really doing OK. It's kind of been like a flashback to 2008 or even 1978, but I'm OK. Really.
Mibes: And you'd tell me if you weren't.
Me: Yes. I'd tell you. And I am telling you that even attempted humor does help. And of course having breakfast with you.
Mibes: It cheered me up a bit too. Let's not wait so long next time.
Me: I like that idea.
Mibes: Like I said, the typos. Keep looking for them.
Mibes: Good morning! Me: Good to see you my friend. Mibes: Good to see you, looking happy, alive, ready for whatever the world sends your way. Me: The thing I'm ready for is one of your hugs. Mibes: (hugging me) Happy to oblige. Me: Now I feel alive again. I'm not so sure I'm ready for anything the world sends my way. But breakfast might help. Mibes: Sounds good to me. That's why we're here. Food and friendship. Me: Calories and conversation. Mibes: I've missed you. Me: I've missed you, too. I had some rough days, but a few good ones too. I guess it all averages out to something less than "looking happy" but I'll take it. Mibes: You could've fooled me. I've seen you healthy and sick, loving life and having a hard time holding on. You don't look sad to me.
Me: You should have seen me about two minutes before I saw you. I was telling myself, you've got to cheer up. Notice the beauty. You don't want Mibes to see you all dark and dreary
Mibes: You didn't want me to see you down? So you smiled anyway and told yourself to cheer up? Me: Yes and no. True, I was discouraged and did give myself a little pep talk. But as soon as I saw you walking toward me my mood changed. You had a little bounce in your step and it was easy for me to feel that energy. Mibes: Aw, you're sweet. I'm glad you're in a better mood, that you really do feel better, but you don't need to do any contortions with me. Me: I know, but I wanted you to know that just being with you can change my whole attitude. Mibes: Thanks I feel the same way about you, even when I'm not with you, thinking about you brings brightens up day. Me: (singing under my breath) It's just the thought of you (laughter) Mibes: (joining the laughter, then also also singing) and I forget to do Me: the little ordinary things that everyone ought to do Mibes: I'm living in some kind of daydream, I'm happy as a king Me: As in Nat King Cole? Or Sinatra? Mibes: Billie Holliday, Ella Fitzgerald, or Diana Krall? Me: Ah Mibes. I love you. Mibes: Yes you do and I love you. But there's something else going on here. Me: Yup, we're having breakfast. Mibes: Yes, but even beyond that, I love the idea of you and you seem to love the idea of me. Me: Yeah, like we sang, the very thought of you, right? So if you love the person, don't you also just naturally love the idea of the person, too? Mikes: It depends. I love my work. Usually. But even when it's not the best of days, I like the idea of my work, that what I'm doing makes a difference, even if I can't see it because I'm in weeds that day. Me: So back to us. You could be really unhappy with me, but like, love the idea of of me? Mibes: Kind of. I'm not expressing myself very well.
Me: Well just so you know, I like you, love you, here and now, more than the idea. The real person sitting right in front of me, eating his scrambled eggs and bacon.
Mibes: And I love the guy in front of me, the one with the chocolate croissant and the blueberry banana smoothie. The guy who thinks all those carbs are somehow healthy. Me: Your bacon looks good. Mibes: Here have a slice, I don't need two.
Me: Mibes, you're so kind. I sometimes wonder if you're real. When will I get to see the guy who sometimes loses it?
Mibes: You already have. Remember how when we were walking and that car almost hit you?
Me: Yes, you shouted three words: a verb, the word "you" and an anatomical description. One of the best moments of my life, actually.
Mibes: You almost get killed and it's one of the best moments of your life?
Me: Yes, I escaped death and injury and I saw such passion in you.
Mibes: Not just an emotional range of three notes?
Me: More like a full orchestra. Such a moment.
Mibes: As is this.
Me: As is this. And thanks for listening.
Mikes: You're easy on the ears and the eyes, you know.
Mibes: Well, good morning, to you. Good to see you again. Me: I'm glad to see you too. Should we just get the hugging over with right now? Mibes: What? Me: So we can talk. I want to talk but I want a hug, too. Mibes: We always do both, I don't know why this morning would be any different, but here you go. (Giving me another one of his trademark bear hugs.) Me: mmmmm. Much better. Now I can talk. Mibes: You've never had any trouble talking. But, please, go ahead. Me: I'm glad you're willing to listen. Mibes: I'm glad you're willing to join me for breakfast. I do miss you when you're not available. But I understand you've got lots going on. Me: Well I was sitting down and writing out my morning prayer and I realized I hadn't told you something important. Mibes: You were writing to God when we could have been having breakfast?
Me: No, it's not like that. I couldn't have met you that morning. But in a way I did meet you because I was writing about what I was thankful for and it was mostly about you and the way you see the world. Mibes: Oh my, this does sound serious. Tell me more. Me: I was thanking God for all the verbs in my life. The ability to accomplish, build, care, decide, encourage. Whole list of stuff. Mibes: Alphabetical I see. You like to do that don't you? Me: It does provide some structure. But here's the thing. The longer I made the list the more I thought about you. And how I needed to let you know how I'm grateful for you and all that you've done and are doing and will do. Mibes: (ha ha) This is good. I think you're going to make my day with your list. But I already know you appreciate me. And I appreciate you. We've really got a remarkably reciprocal friendship. Me: Yes, yes. I know. I love it. I love you. But this list. I'd never shared it with you before. Mibes: Now you listen a moment. I know how you feel. I know you appreciate me because I appreciate you for similar reasons. Me: But you haven't heard my list. Mibes: But I know you. I have an idea of what's on it. You get kind of gushy in the mornings and so I'm guessing it's going to be a list of idealized actions, stuff that makes the world a better place. Me: OK, maybe this is one of those rainbows we shouldn't try to deconstruct. Mibes: I don't think of it a deconstruction. I think it's just good conversation. So let me guess. You left off with encourage. So maybe you continued on with find, give, help, invigorate, join, keep and love. How'd I do? Me: Lousy. I went with elevate, facilitate, gather, hope, investigate, keep and learn. Mibes: See. We agreed on keep, give and gather are close, you gather before you give and when you give you gather, help and hope go together, find and facilitate. I wasn't far off. Me: Yes you were. You're just making fun of me now. Mikes: On the contrary. You've done what I thought you'd do. Like I said earlier, you've chosen verbs that are all about ideals. You're hopelessly and wonderfully altruistic. Me: But I'm not writing about me. I'm writing about you. And thanking you. Mibes: It's great. I'm touched. I'm glad to hear your words. But here's the deal. I'm always glad to see you. Words or not. That's why I've tried to emphasize I'm good for breakfast anytime. Even if it's closer to midnight than sunrise.
Me: I thought I was going to impress you.
Mikes: You do. You are. Always have. Can't imagine a time you wouldn't.
Me: ahhh. (shaking my head) So you want to hear the rest of my list?
Mibes: I don't need to. But I'd love to. Yes, go right ahead.
Me: How 'bout we make it game. I'll give you my three and you give me your three.
Me: You're bored now, aren't you?
Mibes: No, I'm not bored. I'm amused. And I am game for your game, so go right ahead.
Me: OK. move, note and organize
Mibes: make, notice and open
Me: plan, question, reconsider
Mibes: prosper, quote, read
Me: strengthen, trust, understand
Mibes: stand, satisfy, try
Me: understand, volunteer, work
Mibes: unify, view, wonder
Me: x-ray, yearn, zing
Mibes: xerox, yield, zig and zag
Me: Whew! You did it. I did it. We did it. Thanks for playing along.
Mibes: Just remember that all of those wonder words that you think apply to me, I know they actually belong to you. You're just projecting.
Me: How do you know that you're not the one who's projecting?
Mibes: Maybe we both are.
Me: Probably. Thanks! And thanks for the hug.
Mibes: Here's another one to send you on your way. (Bear hug #2)
Me: And thanks for listening.
Mikes: You're easy on the ears and the eyes, you know.
Mibes: Good morning, I'm so glad to see you again. Me: Good morning. Wonderful to see you, too. How have you been? Mibes: You know my standard answer, healthy and strong. Me: But how are you really? Mibes: Fairly healthy, fairly strong. I'm really only as good as you can imagine me to be since you're the one with his hands on they keys. Me: But you're real to me.
Mibes: As I should be. You're the writer here. You either give me life or silence. I'm glad you've come back. I'll take life over invisibility. Me: You're a funny one. But I love you, so much more than I can say. I'm glad you're willing to meet me. Mibes: I'm glad you're willing to write me. Me: We there we go then, we've both got something to be glad about. Mibes: It has been a while. The 7.2 billion people on the planet are now 7.3. But you've still got a place in my heart, always and forever. And I think you need to be reminded you're absolutely the only one of you. No one has ever lived your live. Had your life. None of the billions before you, not one of the billions who will follow.
Me: But that's true for the other 7.3. Just because we're all different doesn't mean we don't have huge things in common. Mibes: I agree. We all will have a year marking our birth and then a dash and a year marking our death. XXXX - YYYY
Me: And we all do ask yyyy don't we? Mibes: Oh the punster emerges. Nice one. Me: Easy one. So do you have advice for me? Mibes: I do, actually. I'm glad to hear that you're re-reading Carol Lynn's "Consider the Butterfly" that you turned to her last entry on gratitude and found that to be an affirmation of your prayers. Keep working on that one. On the gratitude. That's my one word of advice. Gratitude. Me: Maybe that's why we're again having breakfast. I've realized again how grateful I am for you. Mibes: Maybe. Or you're just hungry. Tired of breakfast in the car on the way to work. But, yes, gratitude does make a difference. A huge difference. You know it. You've lived it. And I think it can help also with your concerns about counterfeiting, uh, I mean name-calling. Me: Zing. You're in touch with all that? Mibes: Well I do tend to read what you read.
Me: Then you know how much I liked the title "In Praise of Doubt" at the library yesterday. Enough to check it out. Even though I've never heard of Peter Berger and Anton Zijderveld. Mibes: Ol' Pete and Anton? Same here. Never heard of 'em. But a great title. And not a bad quote on page five.
Me: Love it. And here it is, "there's also the broader category of 'popular Protestantism'--that is groups that aren't commonly perceived as Protestant but whose religious and social characteristics have Protestant flavor. The most successful of these are the Mormons..." Mibes: And you smile at the implication that Mormons might be counterfeiters of the genuine Protestant approach? And gratitude about that perspective. Gratitude for "In Praise of Doubt"? There's a twist.
Me: You said it, not me. Mibes: But you wrote it. You checked out the book. Looked in the index for Mormons. You gotta own this one. Me: Fair enough. Now where's my hug?
Mibes: Right here. Always here. Just like James Taylor sings it, "You just call out my name and you know wherever I am, I'll come runnin' to see you again. Winter spring summer or fall, all you gotta do is call and I'll be there, yes I will. You've got a friend. Ain't it good to know you've got a friend?" Me: Gotta love Carole King. And I love you, Mibes. Love you. Who you are. Your kindness. You, as you are now. As you've been and are and will be. Your smile. Your tears. Your heart. Every remaining hair on your balding head. Mibes: Not as much I love you. "When my soul was in the lost and found. You came along to claim it." Me: That's it. I'm definitely going to spend some time with Tapestry tonight. Mibes: Me too.
Mibes: Good morning, how was your trip? How are you? (We embrace, longer than usual, both enjoying the moment.) Me: Good morning, Mibes! Trip was OK, I'm OK, but I've missed you so. How are you? Mibes: Healthy and strong. But not as happy when you're out of town. Me: Aw Mibes, you make me melt. I'm glad you're feeling strong and healthy. And I'm glad you missed me. Not that you've been unhappy, but its nice to know that when I'm gone, someone cares, that you're glad to see me when I get back. Mibes: You've sometimes returned home and haven't been welcomed? Me: Some of my loved-ones aren't exactly of the hugging variety. Mibes: But they do say they've missed you, that they're glad you've returned? Me: Sometimes. Mibes: And sometimes not? Me: Sometimes. Mibes: Well just remember that of all the 7.2 billion people on this planet, you've got a permanent place in my heart. I'm always going to miss you when you're gone. I'm always going to give you a hug. Me: I know I'm not your one-and-only, but I'm glad to be one-of-the-ones you love. Mibes: Always. But you are the one-and-only you. Me: And you are the one-and-only Mibes. Mibes: No other two people could have the same relationship because they can't bring the same things to the friendship. They're not up for breakfast in the Castro like we are. They're eating a breakfast bar, if that. Me: I'm glad I'm not eating a breakfast bar. Mibes: I'm glad you're glad. I'm glad to see you. I'm glad to see you smiling. Me: It feels so good just to be with you. I met someone on the trip who reminded me of you. Not physically. He was shorter, stalkier, bearded, balding, intense blue eyes. Mibes: That's not me at all. Me: But the conversation was easy, friendly, natural. Mibes: Some of my best qualities. Even if I have brown eyes. Me: I love your eyes. Mibes: And I love that you notice eyes. Whether they're mine or Mr. Bearded Blue Eyes, you notice. You're aware, you're appreciative. Me: I've got to get to work. Mibes: Me, too. Me: I love you, Mibes. Mibes: I love being loved. I love you. I love it when you've been gone and I've been blue, because then you return and we talk just like we always have. (We hug, again a bit longer than usual.) Mibes: Thanks, I needed that. Me: Same here. Enjoy your day. Mibes: You, too.
Mibes: Great to see you. It's our first breakfast of the New Year. Me: (hugging him) Happy New Year, Mibes! Mibes: Did you stay up late on the 31st? Me: In my own way. I listened to fireworks. Mibes: Because they woke you up? Me: No, I was awake, just not outside looking skyward. Mibes: Plenty of opportunity to do that in the light of day. Me: What? Mibes: Look skyward. Me: How 'bout you. How was your night? Mibes: Not bad, given the circumstances. Maybe I've caught your cold. I don't know. I went to bed early. Didn't sleep great. But I'm glad to see you. Me: As am I to see you. Mibes: There is a certain chemistry, isn't there? Me: Yes. Interesting that you'd mention chemistry, because I've got a quote on it. Mibes: Why am I not surprised. Me: Karl Jung said, "The meeting of two personalities is like the contact between two chemical substances, if there's any reaction both are transformed." Mibes: So you're being transformed, are you? Me: One breakfast at a time. Mibes: You're up for more breakfasts in 2015? Me: I am. As long as you are. Mibes: That makes three of us. Me: Huh? Mibes: You, me and our friendship.