Jul 20, 2022 | Church News • Liturgy
It is 5:30 pm on a Friday. We're experiencing San Francisco's Winter-longer nights and shorter days. I have finished watching Erin Burnett's Outfront on CNN and now watching Anderson Cooper 360. I stare out the damp window as the sun slides slowly toward the horizon to give way to the darkness covering the night.
For weeks, I have been flirting with this guy I desired to meet on Grindr. My pick-up lines haven't worked yet, but I am cute for him. I crave to get off with him, but he lives far from me. Not very far, but the lack-of-inspiration kind of far. The type of far you desire to go, but there's no essential need for it. Today, he texted me earlier asking me to meet, and I said yes. I am partnered but in a semi open-relationship.
It is 5:45 pm. We are texting, the careless sexting, you know. Gasps. Emojis. mmhms. I am sending semi-nudes to spice up the conversation. We are both eager to meet in person, but my place is forty-five minutes away, factoring in the expected Friday gridlock.
My guy has arrived. We meet a few blocks from my house after my partner kisses me goodbye as he departs home for work, and I, in search of sin, a beautiful yet perplexing sin. My Grindr date is 6'1, chocolate, with a medium-built chest, toned arms, and athletic legs. He knows his way around the gym. He asks if we should grab dinner, and I say yes, it is not a good sign.
My guy and I are seated at our favorite Thai place. I am carelessly rubbing my feet on his. Flirting. Caressing. He is feeling my grove and has changed his mind. He isn't hungry anymore. He wants vegetarian samosas, two tiny little samosas, and tons of water.
We’re now done and out and about. We're driving on the hills because I don't want to host. I know a chill spot. I'm caressing his thighs, pecking him, and touching his balls.
Then I hear a familiar voice. It is soft at first. "Ask him about his shoes." "What?" "Ask him about his shoes!" 'What about his shoes?" I am looking at them. They're the latest Jordans. Honestly, I don't want to ask. It is not the place nor the time. The voice keeps getting louder, and it turns into a command, "Tell him to stop the vehicle and ask him about his shoes." I am irate.
"Man, I don't usually do this, but could you stop for a second?" He is slowing down, looking for a safe, dark spot. He is jokingly asking why we are stopping. He is curious but suspicious because my request to stop is sudden and firm.
"Why're you wearing Jordans, bro?" "What do you mean?" "What's the reason you're wearing these specific Jordans today?" "Bro, why are you asking that?" "My friend says you're struggling at home, running away, and your shoes mean something to you and what you're about to do."
He has a death stare followed by a dead silence. He's trying to say something but can't find his words, and I am silent too and afraid. It is getting cold. He is shaking a bit, and I am freaking a bit. He is crying, asking why, and I am comforting, saying everything will be ok.
"You're a pastor, aren't you?" "I am. Sorry, we are meeting under such circumstances.”
My Grindr date is a worship leader too. We are praying together, and I am comforting him some more. He had chosen tonight to be his last, packed his bags, and wore his favorite shoes. He has the note he had written. We tear it together and spend the next four hours getting support.
He still walks among us. -m
Author’s note: I grew up in a conservative Pentecostal church. We believed that G-d only worked in specific locations, with certain people, for a particular purpose. I am learning that we meet the Divine anywhere when our hearts open.