If I have faith enough to move mountains but have not love,
I am nothing but sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.
Years ago when I was a good little churchgoer in my late teens, I became good friends with a woman from church, the widow of a man killed in Vietnam. Though her three young children and church activities kept her quite busy, it was obvious that the loss of her husband still grieved her even after nearly a decade. B. was in her mid-thirties, a lively personality, and became sort of like a big sister to me: a close friend and confidant.
She was one of the very first people I ever disclosed my sexuality to, one of the few people I thought I could trust with that information. And not only that but also my very deep wish to find a man one day to love and cherish forever.
But I had not reckoned on the intensity of B.'s religiosity. Back came the angry exclamation she spit out of her mouth: "But those people can't love each other!" Not like her and her husband, oh no. Most certainly not. That was real love, you see. The only possible kind.
"They can't love each other!" The words cut like a knife.
And hung there in my heart for many a long year to come. Perhaps they still do.
And perhaps in hoping so much to prove her wrong - even long after we had lost all contact with each other - perhaps I sometimes tried too hard with one man or another to make things work, when there really was no way they could.
But of course I now know what my 20-year-old self, isolated and afraid, did not know, and you boys know it too: of course two men can love each other, as deeply as any man and woman ever could. They can and they do.
And I'm here to testify to the fact of the matter, for any sonofabitch who cares to listen.
That's part of the systematic destruction and deconstruction of all that we are, every part of our experience. That's what justifies keeping us out of sight, out of mind, and invisible to the eyes of the law. Likewise, I'm sure back in slavery times, there were people who said, Oh the nigras don't really love each other, look at how they shack up without even being married.
Which of course was a prime example of circular reasoning because the laws didn't allow them to be married; and even if they were, in rare cases, the high and mighty white folks, good Christian people, thought nothing at all of selling wives away from husbands and children away from parents - forever. With no more remorse about it than selling a horse or a dog.
And prided themselves on living in a great Christian nation.
But of course the real honest-to-God truth is that every human being, black or white, straight or gay, has the capacity to love and be loved. It may sometimes be thwarted or frustrated, or even forbidden - but you can no more deny that than you can deny that all men and women feel hunger or thirst.
Love is a great big part, maybe the biggest part, of what makes us truly human. And you fellas know that as well as I do. Something to be celebrated, not shunned or despised.
So I'm sending out this little valentine to all my Truckbuddies in celebration of the love of one man for another - and how I wish I could show this to my younger self, so lonely and so uncertain of the future. Enjoy.
Goodnight guys. Sweet dreams.
Special thanks to my truckbuddy Ultra Dave who very kindly contributed some sweet pics to this project.