Too-brief moment of openness and love

By Margaret Krob

A young mother rinses her family’s breakfast dishes and gazes out her kitchen window to the front yard. The approaching winter shivers through her bare trees. Her baby girl, rosy and round, has just fallen asleep in the nearby wicker bassinet and her 3-year-old daughter quietly stacks wooden blocks on the linoleum floor.

It is November 1968, and this contented family goes about its simple morning routine amidst a backdrop of national unrest. Robert F. Kennedy was murdered in June while campaigning for the Democratic Presidential Nomination. Three days later, James Earl Ray was arrested for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s slaying that April. And, college students across the country are violently protesting the Vietnam War. But inside this home in Fort Worth, Texas, the world feels still and safe.

The mother hears a gentle wrap at her front door. She knows it’s Cecil, the first grader from down the block, stopping by for his morning visit on his way to school. Cecil is polite and gregarious with big blushing cheeks and rusty hair. She ushers him and they exchange their morning greetings. Cecil makes his way over to the bassinet to coo at the sleeping baby girl.

He stays for just a moment, long enough to tap into the welcoming feelings of his neighbor’s home. He’ll stop in again on his way back from school to whisper to the baby or flip through a picture book with her 3-year old sister.

I was that baby in the bassinet in 1968. The fresh-faced boy from down the block was Cecil Sinclair, a name my family was reminded of last year when his death made national headlines. Cecil, a Navy veteran of Desert Storm, died at the age of 46 from heart disease while he was awaiting a heart transplant. Mom and I watched the media frenzy when High Point Church in Arlington, Texas, a nondenominational mega-church, rescinded its offer to host Cecil’s funeral on the eve of his service. They objected to a slideshow that included photographs of Cecil and his partner, pictures reflecting Cecil’s homosexuality.

The newspapers and blogs were ablaze about the church’s decision. A few in the media chose to write about Cecil’s life. My family was thinking of the great loss his family was suffering which had been made more devastating by the brutal judgment Cecil faced in death.

We are thankful to have shared tender moments with Cecil Sinclair in 1968 and to have been a part of that too-brief moment in his life when his community received him with openness and love.

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