Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Airing Dirty Laundry

by David R. Weiss

That’s what I’m doing right now—literally. Cooped up inside my shoes all day long, my socks desperately need airing! That would hardly be blog-worthy, except they’re not my socks ...

You see, when Grandpa died quite a few years ago now, my whole inheritance consisted of a handful of neckties (which I never wear) and three pairs of socks. Not the sort I would ever buy for myself. Too thin, too patterned, they are the socks of a generation and sensibility quite other than mine.

But, back in his day, besides being a strong German Lutheran, Grandpa was also a proud union man—and not just a joiner, but a leader. A real voice for the little guy. Still, I have no reason to think he would’ve championed the cause of LGBT persons in the church. His sense of “the little guy,” the voices too often kept in the margin, was no doubt bounded by his day.

But I like to hope he would have. And now his socks belong to me. And while I don’t wear them often, on days like today I wear them with great intention. Wearing Grandpa’s socks I feel like I’m standing on his shoulders, while he somehow also gets to stand in my shoes.

Right now, Grandpa’s socks stink to high heaven. But to me—and perhaps to Grandpa, too—they smell like hope.

(But I promise to wear fresh socks tomorrow!)

David Weiss is a theologian, writer, poet and hymnist committed to doing “public theology” around issues of sexuality, justice, diversity, and peace. His first book is "To the Tune of a Welcoming God: Lyrical reflections on sexuality, spirituality and the wideness of God's welcome" (2008). A longtime Goodsoil supporter, he lives with his wife and children in St. Paul, MN.

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