Last week my partner and I were walking along La Cienga in Little Ethiopia with my son, who was riding his bike, on our way to Nubi, our favorite new yogurt joint off Olympic Boulevard, when a woman pulled up beside us, rolled down her window and called out to us.
“Jesus loves you. Both of you. All of you. Jesus loves you all. I just wanted you to know that.”
I would have written it off as just another crazy person in LA, but this woman was in a new, clean white Mercedes, and she appeared well dressed, accessoried, with stylish hair, and she had a sophisticated, educated-sounding voice.
It was Sunday, and I had been to church earlier that morning, and I was still a little in Jesus mode, so at first it seemed almost normal to have someone yell this out to me. My instant reaction was to smile at her and yell back to her.
“Thank you!” I said.
She smiled and drove away, rolling up her window.
“What was that about?” I said looking at my partner Kira.
“Who knows,” she said, as the light changed and we began to cross the street, guiding our son who is still learning to navigate on his two wheeler.
“Do you think she could tell we are gay, and she was telling us that Jesus loves gay people?”
Kira shrugged. “Maybe.”
“She picked us out, she made a point of stopping. She didn’t seem like a nut,” I said.
“Seemed that way,” Kira said. “Why are you making so much out of it?” Kira asked.
I thought about it. The timing was coincidental, since I had just started going back to All Saints in Beverly Hills, a great open-minded and welcoming church, where I had been taking Stephen to the “Little Church” for Sunday school the past few weeks. The director of the children’s ministries had welcomed us with open arms as a same-sex parent family, just as all of the church’s staff had made us feel welcome for my son’s Baptism at the church three years ago, when was about the time I stopped attending.
I didn’t have a reason for not going to church, I just couldn’t get my act together on Sunday mornings to go, but a few weeks ago I decided to make my spiritual life more of a priority, and so I had been going regularly since then, taking Stephen along for the socializing with the other kids.
I had been thinking a lot about truly Christian people I had met at the church, like the extraordinary Gabri Ferrer, a priest who had seen me through some hard times many years ago with the deaths of my partner followed shortly afterward by the death of a dear friend. People like Gabri at the church didn’t judge. They gave everyone the same love, attention and caring, no matter who you were, or even if you were an official member of the church, which I was not.
Gabri announced about a month ago that he was leaving All Saints after an 18-year tenure. Though I was not active in the church lately, I was deeply saddened that he was leaving. I had been thinking a lot about Gabri, the way the church had been so supportive and giving to me, and the way it made me feel good to go there.
Then that lady drives up and yells out “Jesus loves you.”
Maybe she was listening to a radio minister who urged everyone to tell someone, “Jesus loves you.”
Maybe she just felt inspired by the beautiful sunny day and wanted to share her joy.
Maybe she was crazy after all but somehow had a decent car and well-groomed appearance that belied her mental illness.
She drove away, and so I will never know. For some reason, her words stuck in my mind.
Maybe, that’s what was supposed to happen.