Me: Mibes! You look better than ever.
Mibes: Same is true for you!
Me: Missed you bud.
Mibes: Missed you, too. So what's on your mind?
Me: New Mormon leaders. The announcement. The press conference. You?
Mibes: Me, I'm good. Life goes on. There are always ups and downs, but what are your concerns?
Me: I could be wrong, of course, but I had this feeling of erasure when Neloak responded to a question about LGBT issues.
Mibes: Wow! You're not going to address them as President Nelson and President Oaks. You've made up a portmanteau of the two highest ranking leaders of your religion. Isn't that more than a bit disrespectful?
Me: Who's going to know besides you and me?
Mibes: (rolling eyes) You know! And you might regret it.
Mibes: But you were talking about erasure. What did you mean?
Me: They talked about how they love the people of Mexico, but they never mention us as a group. They won't say the letters LGBT. They won't use gay as an adjective or a noun. It's like if they don't mention us, we're not real.
Mibes: (shaking head) You're upset. That's clear. But why not cut them a break? You're human. You make mistakes. So do they. They also talked about that today.
Me: Yes, President Nelson did say "give your leaders a little leeway to make mistakes as you hope your leaders will give you a little leeway."
Mibes: Well there you go. Doesn't that mitigate your disappointment a wee bit?
Me: Well maybe a little. But they say God loves his children, but they don't seem to have much love for us.
Mibes: Or maybe it's that you're not feeling love. But what if they really do love all the members of the church and all the members of the human family?
Me: You just want me to accept what is. Not to worry about it.
Mibes: It would be good to see you less worried. You're right about that part. And I can't do anything about how loved you feel by them or anyone else. But I can tell you this: I love you.
Me: Aw, that's so nice to hear.
Mibes: It's true. I do.
Me: And I love you, too.
Mibes: All right. We've got ourselves a love fest.
Me: So what about you? How are you?
Mibes: Well you know that erasure thing you talked about? I sometimes feel that too.
Me: Like an institution doesn't want to be bothered?
Mibes: More personal than that. When I don't hear from you, I feel like maybe I don't matter.
Me: But you matter. You have your own life. You do so much to make the world a better place.
Mibes: My life isn't like yours. You're a real person. Right now you're thinking and breathing and rather than having an actual conversation, you're sitting a keyboard, writing. You're real. But I only quasi exist when you write your blog. So I don't really have my own life. But you do.
Me: Ok. Thanks for the reminder.
Mibes: So maybe there's a better use of your time than getting all angsty. Be grateful that you're alive and healthy. That you can see and hear, touch and taste and smell. And think, understand, believe, question, pray and love. That you have a life and loved ones, dreams and desires, sorrows and hopes, joy and laughter, losses and gains. That you're here. That you made it from birth to this moment. Tens of thousands of days. Billions of heartbeats.
Me: And that I've got leaders who are human but strive anyway.
Mibes: Yes leaders who are flawed, maybe even wrong about somethings, but who are striving to do their best with what they know, just like you are. And a leader who knows about hearts and heartbeats.
Me: More good reminders, but know I don't do my best, not with a lot of things.
Mibes: So it's a process. Less than perfect but with perfectly wonderful aspects.
Me: Oh like God loving all his children?
Mibes: And you making up a silly, disrespectful, passive aggressive portmaneau.
Me: I could still delete it.
Mibes: Keep it. Keep it as a reminder that you're on a journey.
Me: Thanks for breakfast.
Mibes: You know I'm good for breakfast any day, any hour.
Me: I do. And I sometimes forget. And I'm glad you're there.
Mibes: Just like Carole King wrote it and James Taylor sung it: You've got a friend.
Me: When I'm down and troubled
Mibes: and you need some loving care
Me: Thanks Mibes!
Mibes: You're welcome. Carry that song with you today. I think it will help.
Me: Already has. Will do.
(Breakfast in the Castro is an ongoing conversation between the fictional Mibes and the real me. Mibes, which rhymes with brides, sprouted out of MBS or My Better Self, but has since developed a personality of his own.)