Some Tender Moments with the Gay Community
By Charlene Potterbaum
I recently co-authored a book with Jim Pauley, Jr. The title of our book is
Granny and the Gay Guy.
When I first mentioned this “working title” to Jim,I did so somewhat in fear and trembling, as I knew his taking a stance as a“gay guy” might be more than he was willing to risk, publicly. He thoughtabout the title for a moment, and smiled as he said, “Terrific! Which one doYOU want to be?”That pretty much sets the tone of our book, and quickly, we were off and running as people seemed to like our message—well, excepting thosefew who preferred believing in the “letter of the law” instead of hearing thewhole verse that says “the letter kills, but it is the Spirit that gives life.” Iquietly observed that many of these same people who were so vicioustoward the gay community had had multiple marriages, affairs, weredivorced, had addictions, gossiped, cheated on income taxes, werecontrolling, but were all very religious.Wanting to follow my heart, I desired to reach out to the homosexualcommunity as I deeply loved another member of our family who is a lesbian.I watched her down through the years as I sensed her rich spirituality andwas always warmed by the way I could touch the depths of her soul, as her eyes never wavered from mine when we talked. We dedicated our book toher, because of her sweet spirit and refusal to hate, even when she wasostracized from so many family activities she would have enjoyed, if the barriers hadn’t been put up. By barriers, I mean comments like “Of courseyou can come! Just don’t bring—that—that —other
with you. Wecan’t have the children thinking that this is an acceptable life-style.” (Likegenuine love is harmful?)I learned so much about my own being, as we had this adventuretogether. I found out that homophobia can’t be eradicated quickly. It has to be eased out gently, one day at a time, and, as it diminishes, love and mercyfills the place it occupied. I am talking about a solid, godly love—not onlyfor the homosexuals and the lesbians, but for myself, as well.While signing books in Saugatuck, Michigan, a delightful resort areathat has been made quaint and beautiful by the great number of homosexualswho reside there, I made the acquaintance of some wonderful people. Three,especially, made a great impact on me. I want to share their stories, because,as Philip Gulley said in his wonderful book,
If Grace is True