Mercy Dillon T. GONZALEZ

The story begins on a cold November evening. A young man is returning home for a long weekend to visit his family. He has his suitcase packed, his phone jam-packed with classic rock and hip hop, and $100 to take his parents out on Saturday night. What his parents don't know is that he is also bringing his boyfriend, so they can get to know him. In fact, they don't know that he has a boyfriend, or that they've been together for the better part of two months.

"Another half an hour and we should be there." he says to his passenger upon glancing at the clock. His mother calls him on the phone, and he says that he's bringing a friend over for dinner. She says 'okay' approvingly, tells her son I love you, and hangs up the call. One last turn down a winding road, and they arrive.

In fact, he doesn't know that he has a boyfriend, or that they've been together for the better part of two months.

He knocks on the door, and his mother opens, with her face exuding light and love. She gives her son a hug and a kiss on the cheek, and tells him that supper is ready. Accordingly, they sit together and all say grace before eating. She asks her usual questions -- updates on school, the football stats, and his dorm life. His dad, who'd been a couple drinks in, started asking about his dating life.

Find any fine young things for a crazy night? He asked, with a wink and a twinkle in his eye. Then, the table grew silent as he looked over at his boyfriend, then this parents. He took a deep breath, collected his composure, and kept a dead gaze as he said to his mother and father,

"The gentlemen eating with us tonight is my boyfriend. We met at a swim meet, and we just clicked. That's why he's here tonight, because I wanted you to know the real me, and the man who's holding my heart."

His mother sat quietly, her exuberance crumbling to form a face of bewilderment and confusion. His father, a small town man who'd been raised a man of God, stood up, stared his son dead in the eyes, and whispered those two words. "Get out," and as they walked out the door, he screamed to his son "and don't come back ya dumb faggot!"

And so they drove. Not back to the university or to his boyfriend's house, but to a cabin in the woods

They peeled out of the driveway, but by then, the sun had set, and very few places were still open. The filled up the tank, got a few things to make for dinner, and then got back into the car. As they closed the doors, he looked over to his boyfriend, held his hand, and asked him. "What now?"

"Drive," he whispered, "and let the road guide us."

And so they drove. Not back to the university or to his boyfriend's. house, but to a cabin in the woods, for they had no family to turn to on a weekend so bitter and cold. It was a cabin that the boyfriend owned, and they had refurbished as a summer project to sell. But, for one weekend, it would become their sanctuary for privacy, conversation, and contemplation. They unpacked the car, made the bed, and started a meal for the two of them. Some hearty chicken, a few cobs of corn, and potatoes, all by a fire with some music.

As the night wore on, a couple glasses of wine had been poured, and suddenly, it was then, in the flickering lowlights, the music in the background, and the warmth of the fire, that they looked into each other's eyes and, for a moment, they were safe. Safe in each other's arms, with the unspoken passion that had changed the minds, the hearts, and the minds of man throughout the pendulum of time.

"Is it worth it," He asked, tears welling in his eyes and flowing down his neck, "losing your family, your safety net, even your sanity. Is losing all that worth this.

"Yes," he whispered, leaning into his ear with a coy smile. "Now, let's get some sleep, for tomorrow we go to church."

The next morning, they walked in, hand in hand and in complete silence, approaching the front pew.

The next morning, they walked in, hand in hand and in complete silence, approaching the front of the pew. There were a few gazes whose anger flashed their eyes as lightning breaks the sky. There were a few expressions of arrogance and sadness, and there were still a few who whispered prayers for healing for the couple. But there were overwhelming expressions, both verbal and visual, of love, support, and gratitude.

The pastor began reading the week's gospel, which was the following from the Gospel according to Luke:

And it happened that on the next day he went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went with him. And as he approached the gate of the town, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, his mother’s only son, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion for her and said to her, “Do not weep!” And he came up and touched the bier, and those who were carrying it stopped. And he said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” And the dead man sat up and began to speak, and he gave him to his mother. And fear seized them all, and they began to glorify God, saying, “A great prophet has appeared among us!” and “God has visited to help his people!” And this report about him went out in the whole of Judea and in all the surrounding region.

The pastor, in his homily, talked about three important lessons to be learned. First, that a mother and father's job was to love and protect their children at all costs, even in the face of death, windowing, or hardships. It didn't matter that the child was beligerant, gay, disabled, or somehow different, because God proclaimed these children as his own creation, and that they should be loved and protected as if they were the most precious of jewels in all of creation.

The second lesson, which the pastor felt was more important and ever more relaxant in today's society, was that one should not place upon judgement upon anyone for any reason. The crowd surrounding Jesus could have easily outcasted the woman for being widowed and felt no sorrow in the loss of her son and walked along, but they saw the Lord, passing no judgement, restored her son's life and reunited them.

The final and most important lesson from the gospel reading, the pastor stated, was one that wasn't as easy to see this week: a lesson in mercy. The travelers and apostles show mercy in not throwing the widow out of town for no longer being useful to society, and Christ performs the ultimate act of mercy by resurrecting the widow's son. For you see, the pastor explained, Jesus illustrates that compassion and mercy are one in the same. Your heart cannot fully give mercy to someone without having a pure and true form of compassion. Likewise, you must have compassion and love to show mercy on those who have wronged or hurt you.

And the two young men, who just twenty-four hours ago had lost their family support, found mercy and love in the one place where they never would have expected it: in the pews of the church. They walked out proudly, hand in hand, and stronger than anytime the entire weekend.

Created By
Dillon Gonzalez
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Created with images by doctorserone - "sadness-20060504033205729" • falco - "church window church window"

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