Thursday, February 26, 2004


This morning, my friend Roy leaned on the dustmop he had been wielding with authority in our church sanctuary and said, "You know I've been thinking about this gay marriage thing."

This is how my conversations with Roy usually start. Roy helps me clean the church on occasion and we often pause between scrubbing floors and emptying trash cans to remark on the news of the day or topics of interest. Our conversations don't usually last very long although they certainly could; Roy is a wise man many years my senior, but we both know when we talk, the floors don't get mopped.

On the political spectrum, Roy considers himself a liberal, and I suppose that's true at least by the old time Baptist standards with which Roy tends to gauge things.

He said, "I believe marriage is something between a man and a woman, but it doesn't feel right telling homosexuals in real relationships that they can't have certain rights. Ya know, legal stuff."

I told Roy he wasn't alone in struggling with that, and I wondered if a man well into his 70's whose life has included combat, chasing criminals and quietly converting many a man to Christ ever envisioned decades ago that our country would be debating issues such as this one.

I suggested that one day perhaps marriage would be something only blessed by the church, while the government might be in the business sanctioning so called civil unions.

Roy said, "Yeah maybe...sure seems like it's going to be a mess no matter what though."

He winced a little as he added, " A lot of folks are going to be hurt no matter what."

Our conversation stopped there, both of us realizing neither knew how things will play out.

Roy went back to sweeping. I went to scrub the toilets.

I suppose it crossed both our minds that some messes are easier to clean up than others.