I’m sitting in a café drinking my coffee and writing, truly one of my favorite things in life. The café is owned by a gay man who worked for the city of L.A. for many years and then got laid off. Sometime soon after getting laid off, his marriage to his husband ended, and he struggled to pay his mortgage. He’d purchased a house in an industrial part of town and the house had a store front. He turned the storefront into a café and now his life has a new purpose and he makes his monthly house payments. He chats with everyone who comes in like they are a visitor in his home, because in the truest sense, they are. He’s still in the ring championing the blows that life’s thrown his way.
I once heard a story told about what Heaven and Hell were like. It went something like this. In hell, people sit round a big table filled with good food of all sorts, but the silverware, which is chained to the table, is too huge for them to bring to their faces and feed themselves with, so they starve. While in heaven, people sit round a big table filled with good food of all sorts, but the silverware, which is chained to the table, is too huge for them to bring to their faces and feed themselves with, so they feed the person across from them.
We can bring heaven to earth by being here for one another. We need each other. Life will be filled with hard times. It’s not that there won’t be darkness in each of our lives. It’s that each of us can bring a little light to each other’s hard times. While visiting my friend, Gina, on a recent trip to Oakland, her dog, Cozy, died in her arms. There was nothing I could say or do to change the situation. I could simply be there with Gina as she felt her sadness and loss. I could be a momentary reprieve from the empty space left by the loss of a beloved companion.
When Marvin Burrow’s lost his husband of 51 years, Bill Swenor, and then lost the home they lived in, their possessions, his health insurance, and life as he knew it because of unfair laws against same-sex couples, there was little that could be done to ease the shock, grief, and injustice he experienced. However, earth angel, Frank Howell, another gay widower, took him in and provided him a home, which allowed Marvin the strength to begin advocating for the injustices he faced as a surviving same-sex spouse. Advocacy that helped change the policies labor unions held for same-sex couples.
We are all going to experience grief and loss. Just in the last month, Marvin, my friend and fellow love warrior, died after complications from surgery, my childhood friend, Rachel, lost her brother and her childhood home in a house fire, and my friend Sharon, lost her beloved husband, Peter, from prostate cancer. When I answer the prayer line at the Agape Spiritual Center I am sometimes surprised by the number of people who have lost their jobs, their homes, their health and their relationships.
I know that at the truest level everything is for the highest unfolding of our good and our soul’s growth and evolution as we learn that we are more than our material possessions, more than our job titles and bank accounts, and even more than our bodies because our souls are immortal and our worth is inherent, not dependent on some outside condition. While knowing this highest truth, I also know that the feelings of suffering and loneliness are real. So I know that we can be earth angels to one another and that the presence of our love heals. I also know that the love that we freely give to another uplifts and shifts the vibration of the world around us. Our love is needed. Can we be more tender, more patient, more loving? Can we open our arms and offer a warm hug or a kind word? Can we stop for a minute if someone needs our help and lend a hand? We can be Earth Angels. We can be each other’s heroes.