As we make the leap over the cusp of June and into the insanity of July, I would like to rescind a statement I made in my previous posting.The last night I got drunk in the HoG was mentioned in ‘The First Stroke of Luck’, detailing a night on a day of independence in America that I got pretty wasted. Whether it was fueled by the Wild Turkey or my disdain for an entirely dependent country celebrating Independence all of these years after a now almost pointless event, my body was intent on getting trashed.
We sailed through July with very few choppy waters. A man who’s name sounded like the word ‘Sin’ took us over to the church and showed us how to get up to the bell tower, where we were told we were always welcome. It was a series of shaky ladders and bird feces-covered rails to end up in a small room with a ceiling that you pushed up to climb one last, short ladder, and emerge into the light (or dark, depending on the time of night we went) of St Paul.
The church was old and tall, and from its highest height, we could see for at least a mile on each side as we stood on semi-stable antique floor-boards and sat in an old exercise chair that was perched in the bell tower for no discernible reason at all.
The bell tower became a place for romance, mid-acid trip meditations, and a sense of peace. Diablo and I would take special guests, two at a time, to view St Paul from an angle they hadn’t yet experienced. Hands were held, breaths were caught carefully in the backs of throats, and chaste kisses were shared under the near-starless metropolitan sky.
It became a symbol of hope for lost party-goers, a sign that they had gotten off at the right light rail stop or that they hadn’t driven too far. The church itself was open all hours of the night, and became a sort of quieter refuge from the lights, sounds, and people of the sometimes too outrageous parties.
A grand piano was stationed at the back of the church, along with a drum kit and a ceiling built for acoustics. We would often spend time in the bell tower before retreating below to the relative safety of the kindest-feeling church pews I have ever rested on. For the first time in my life, and in the lives of several others, a church was a safe spot, a true refuge from all of our worries.
As a pretty liberal queer individual with a social circle that had various reasons for avoiding churches, it was a really strange, beautiful thing to have a home away from home in the sort of building that had shaped so many of our lives in a negative fashion. What was this church that offered true acceptance for all and praised those who helped people truly in need?
Insane that my first brush with real Christianity didn’t occur until I was almost twenty years old, running a punk party house in a terrible part of town. Throughout my childhood, I had been shown many times that Christianity was corrupt and demanding. My parents, Agnostic to the bone, allowed myself and all of my siblings make our own choices but, at five years old when your best friend says she can’t be friends with you because if you’re not Christian, you worship the devil, I had made up my mind.
As I grew and learned about religions and cultures from all over the world, my closed mind on the subject of Christianity ever so slowly began to melt away. Regardless, I was still stunned at the kindness and acceptance of the people at Church. With almost nothing in their pockets, they still gave everything they had. With almost no family in the area, they built a family. While I remain unaligned with any religion, I am proud to say that I became a part of that family.
The bell tower was a symbol of hope for lost people, the church a place of peace for overwhelmed souls, and the people of the church a gleaming light in a sky of black, giving faith to many people that had grown to believe that the entire religion of Christianity had become corrupt and close-minded.
Every day, more and more, I was finding myself confident and at peace with myself. I had a good place to live, good friends, a good community, and damn good parties. My life was straight out of a movie. I was the slightly overweight, slightly outdated girl that ended up a small celebrity. I was the charming underdog who pulled incredible romances from hats like a talented magician. I had everything I could have ever wanted and…
I was still not satisfied.