Am I the only one that questions my actions? My whereabouts…ok it’s probably just me. But being a Christian in a worldly setting of being with up 1500 woman that call themselves lesbians one might wonder. Am I really supposed to be here?
It was October of 2015 when we first saw Edie.
She sat upon the stage as the key note speaker in New York for one of Leanne’s seminars…”Lesbians who tech”. She worked for IBM in the early 1960s and was probably the first person in the world to have a P.C. on her desk.
She sat with Meghan Smith on the stage. Whom at the time was the CTO (Chief Technology Officer) for the White House. And a woman I had never seen sat between them. At first Edie seemed a little shy…that is until she started speaking.
And occasionally Meghan spoke…but soon Edie was so comfortable (if not now commanding) on stage she began to take the mike away from Meghan to tell her story.
We couldn’t help become encapsulated with her experiences of the early years. She was so much enjoying the moment the whole audience was enthralled.
She shared what it was like to work for IBM in the early 1960s when technology was starting to take ahold. I looked at my daughter Leanne and mouthed the words “she’s adorable”. Leanne nodded in agreement with a wide grin. The audience and I were captivated.
I literally was on the edge of my seat eagerly waiting for what was going to come out of this woman’s mouth next as she was intelligent, articulate and well…a little feisty. Ok…a lot feisty. A lot a lot!
And then she shared about how hard it was for her not being able to be open about her relationship with her partner while at IBM. I slid back into my chair as I sobered up. But I told myself “Emily you are at a “Lesbians who tech” seminar. Not woman who tech.
And then the screen behind her showed a book cover. It was her in front of the Supreme Court with the woman that sat to her right. And they kept mentioning the acronym DOMA. (Defense of Marriage Act).
Now my backside was firmly planted on the the back of the chair. I realized this is the woman who helped to make gay marriage legal in the whole country. And I was 20 feet from her. In the same way I felt about menopause…I said to myself…”how the heck did I get here”.
As I sat there processing all of this I thought about so many Christians that I know that would love this opportunity. But I couldn’t go there.
The woman to Edie’s right was Roberta Kaplan, her lawyer. She shared how she met Edie years prior, so had already had a relationship when she decided to take on this monumental case.
So I said to God…”I know…I have my new little book about the death of my son with me. Maybe we can trade books as she had a book signing after her talk. I mean, I won’t even charge her and I will buy hers…Well…God said “no”. Darn…it made so much sense to me.
Fast forward to Leanne’s next seminar in San Francisco in February of 2016 and Edie was there again. Leanne decided to have a scholarship program in her name. But God still said “no”. Darn…foiled again.
Faster forward to the next seminar, in New York Edie was there again. Leanne had texted us to come help the Thursday September 22, 2016 before the main event. So this time I knew it was time. Plus my husband Bill had introduced himself and so I was ready. I went over and said who I was and she grabbed my hand with both of hers and exclaimed how Leanne made her cry naming a scholarship program in her name.
She then said “thank you for raising your daughter in such a way that she is doing all of this”. I smiled and just said “you have no idea“.
We exchanged more pleasantries and hugs and we went on to help. Eh…not really…we used to, but now she had a staff. I just enjoyed mingling.
The next day we sat and listened to many speakers. I enjoyed getting to know many of the girls, and some men. And look for ways to love on them whenever possible.
In the afternoon I was sitting right behind Edie…and there was no one around us. So I shared that we had something in common. She asked “oh yeah what?”. I said our books came out at the same time. “You wrote a book?” She asked. “Yes I did” I responded. “Well I’d love to read it”. “Great, because I just happen to have one with me” I told her.
And with that I gave Edie Windsor a book. I did warn her it is religious. She was very kind and said I didn’t have to apologize…”you are your faith”.
She wanted me to give her my email address so she could tell me her opinion of the book. As I was writing it in her book a few woman came up to talk with her. So I waited till they left to hand it back to her. No sooner had they left did she turned towards me and say “give me my book”. Like a said…a little feisty…but hey…it was…now her book.
And oddly enough…we hardly ever went to the second day. This time we did and as we were exiting into the courtyard here comes Edie to say her goodbyes. She held my hands and said that God has done right by my children. And with enthusiasm she said she really loved what she read.
I couldn’t think of a better way to have brought many to Christ through this woman…but boy do waste my time when I try and make plans for God. Because she passed away in the fall of 2017.
I grieved for her. Honestly she was a kick! Vivacious..unarmed and had a zest for people, even for me though we were on different playing fields. I honestly did love her.
But I knew…then, that no matter what I had been obedient to write this book. I knew I was right where God wanted me to be. Because let’s face it…I don’t think I am going out on a limb here when I say this…but my book was probably the only Christian book she ever read. If I’m wrong…not by much.
And am thankful to have met her!
Just proves that even when we don’t agree we can still do our best to love…without restraints.
It’s easy to hate those that don’t agree with us. But takes courage to love those we deem unlovable. As Edie Windsor easily could have come at me with both barrels. But she didn’t. She exhibited what I’ve learned and preach, that “love does not mean agreement”.
And feel free to share your thoughts!