For God shows no partiality. (Romans 2:11)
I just came home from a bar in my San Francisco neighborhood that was celebrating Donna Summer by having “Donna Summer Night”. I went because I loved Donna Summer. I loved her music and I loved the memories associated with her songs. I remember the struggles and dreams of my teenage years and the years of my twenties when I was finding myself. Donna Summer was such an important part of those years. Her music and her talent embedded in my youth. When she died a few weeks ago I was devastated. I have been listening to her music every day since.
While walking down the street to work this past week I noticed on a poster in a restaurant window that a local bar was having a Donna Summer tribute. This bar was a local gay bar and the poster indicated it was going to be drag queens paying the tribute to Donna.
I wanted to go, but I hesitated. I don’t care for drag. It normally really bothers me for some reason. Makes me very uncomfortable, to the point of being judgmental. I also hesitated in deciding to go because I was entrusted that night to entertain someone visiting my work office in San Francisco from our home office in Milwaukee. How could I get to go to the Donna Summer tribute and still do my office duty of entertaining the young 26 year old girl from Milwaukee? I decided to ask her if she wanted to join me in my possible trek to the bar hosting the tribute.
She said to me when I asked, “I love Donna Summer! But I have never been to a gay bar or a drag show. I am nervous about going, but I would like to go.” I was surprised she was open to it.
The reason I am writing about this is because of what happened tonight. A lot of unexpected “love thy neighbor” examples I felt the need to write about.
Heather, who had never experienced a gay bar or drag show before, became a celebrity by the end of the evening. This nervous and apprehensive conservative Republican young girl from Wisconsin was embraced with care and acceptance and love by the crowd of professed Democratic liberal strangers and drag queens in the bar.
I saw what happens when each neighbor puts away their preconceived ideas away of who they think their neighbor is. Judgments gone. Just a commonality of love tonight for Donna Summer that made everyone in the bar a friend and loving neighbor of one another. A moment in time when we all found common ground and put away our differences to join together in a common feeling of love and appreciation for Donna Summer. A common love and understanding of something that transcended differences and judgments and hate.
I got a glimpse tonight of what happens when people come together whose differences are normally too wide to bridge. When they are able to find a place where they can love and accept one another. It was a very powerful moment tonight watching neighbor loving thy neighbor. Whether the neighbor was from down the block, next door or from a foreign place like Wisconsin. My heart was full and I felt such hope tonight that one day as Americans we can come together as a country and nation to start building America back up. Liberal and conservative. Democrat and Republican. Gay and straight. Black and white. Rich and poor. Educated and uneducated. And that the commonality of love will be our love of, not Donna Summer, but our love of God. But tonight…Donna Summer was a good start.
In memory of Donna Summer who loved God with all her heart.