But telling you why I love her is not a hard thing. Telling you why we belong together isn't either. Depending on your point of view, maybe this will help you understand that members of same sex couples feel the same way about their spouses that you do about yours. Maybe it will convince you that our stories are not so different. I hope that it will convince you, most of all, that love is about more than sex and what genitalia the other person has.
Rebecca and I met the first week of freshman orientation at Michigan State. We lived on the same floor that year. I can't say that it was love at first sight, or even that we immediately became fast friends. Later in the year, we both needed friends who were accepting and drama free, and we found each other. She moved off campus sophomore year; I stayed in the same dorm. Near the end of the year, I started praying for a new roommate; my current one was moving off campus.
Just about the last day to change housing assignments, Rebecca contacted me. Her housing plans had fallen through; did I have a roommate yet?
And thus, we ended up roomies. And then best friends. I remember the day I first realized that I loved her, not in a couple's sense, but as a friend. She was sick. I was behind on my reading, which for me as a star student was a big deal, but I decided to make her soup instead of finishing my assignment.
Before I left for Ecuador, we signed a lease off campus. Our goodbye was tearful.
The next summer, I came back to East Lansing; she interned for a pharmaceutical company in Chicago. We didn't see much of each other. One evening, she called me in tears to tell me that she had had a crisis of conscience and quit. She couldn't handle how unethical she felt her project assignment was. She didn't want to work in big pharma. She wanted to be a doctor and actually help people.
Living off campus with her was a great experience. We started to share friend groups - hers from back home and mine from Bible study. Her crisis of conscience continued to influence her. She had some health issues, and the process of applying to med school was stressful. At this point, we both had boyfriends. We had deep conversations. We hosted a lot of casual social events. I started learning what it would be like to own a home where all were welcome anytime. We brainstormed about a goat farm in Detroit. She supported me when my boyfriend left. I dreamed of living close to her, platonically, and having our kids back and forth between houses.
Here was this woman who was funny, smart, and ambitious - my equal - yet somehow chill and able to ground me. Her dreams were big, but I had every faith that they were worthwhile and she would attain them. Her values - for honesty, compassion, equity, and equality- were lived visibly. Beyond that, she dreamed with me. I felt synergy. I was willing to compromise and sacrifice because I trusted that she was a partner in ministry.
I had grown disillusioned with the church as I knew it. It was never going to accept me for the woman I was. I wasn't going to fulfill the purposes I was designed for living according to a legalistic system rooted in tradition that disadvantaged women.
It was a choice that was hard and easy at the same time. I had joined my heart, life, and plans with Rebecca. There wasn't room left for anyone else. I knew everything would change. I couldn't have known how much. If we knew all of our future pain, I believe most of us would be bowled over by despair. But I was ready to face it with her.
When she came out to me and asked me to go with her to medical school, I said yes, knowing that it would make my grad school applications much more difficult. And then, when she asked if she could kiss me for the first time, I said yes.
The last five years have validated that decision. She is a doctor, and an osteopath at that, because of her commitment to their principles, and a member of the National Health Services Corps. She dreams of working in academic med to bring underserved students into medicine and strong students into family practice. She supports me in pursuing my goals. We have started a tiny nest egg toward a down payment for the house where all are welcome. We routinely have dinner guests.
It's not perfect. Nothing is this side of heaven. But people who see us together, really see us, know that we aren't just a couple, we're a team. She is my helpmate and I am hers.
I will leave you with the greatest commandment: to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself.