John Andrist: Love Conquers Another Barrier


My baby got married last week.

She’s 56 years old, the last born of our five children. So as long as we both live, she will still be my baby.

During her normal marrying years she sat on the sidelines. Because she is gay, she was hiding in the closet, worrying what might happen to her if she was discovered.

When she came out I wasn’t surprised. Never once did my wife and I openly talk about it. But I think we probably both had decided years earlier that we would always love her for what she was, whatever it might be, so it wasn’t that important.

I’ll admit it seemed a little strange when I walked her down the aisle and gave her away to Lisa, a bright Fargo attorney who has two grown children, even though I have come to love her almost as much as Penny.

They would probably have run off and done this thing where it was legal a long time ago. But it was important for Penny to wait until it was legal in North Dakota.

So there was a lot of euphoria in our family when it happened Friday. The whole clan was gathered to celebrate, as was the church where she works part time in children’s ministry.

She must feel a lot of gratitude to discover that on the outside of her closet folks love her so very much for the person she is.

I have said many times, perhaps written it too, that I may never feel I fully understand sexuality and all of its proclivities.

[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]Gays are now mainstream. Those who don’t or can’t accept them are not evil. They simply are stuck with what they learned when they were young.[/mks_pullquote]

I am the first to admit that I didn’t understand myself, why I was so strongly bonded to Penny’s mother that I always wanted to spend every spare moment with her.

We were smitten at an age most folks would say was “too young”. But what could we do? Was it our fault because we felt the way we did?

In getting to better understand Penny and Lisa as a couple I’ve learned the love they have for one another is pretty much as complete as that which Elaine and I shared.

In this broken world I’ve also come to believe that genuine love, in all its dimensions, can never be wrong.

In the same sense I believe that all of that brokenness in our world is really a result of our failure to love as unequivocally as we ought.

Most folks — even most churches — now embrace that belief. Gays are now mainstream. Those who don’t or can’t accept them are not evil. They simply are stuck with what they learned when they were young.

They will probably get there if and when they discover one of those they love, as much as I love Penny, was made that way.

It might happen sooner if they could see how much joy and love our clan and our friends shared last week.


Interesting coincidence, I think, is that both sides seem happy in one wide open political debate of our day.

As more and more private insurers are getting out of the medical insurance business because of disastrous losses, Republicans are cheering with a chorus of “I told you so!” The left is happy, because it is getting more likely that the federal government will be forced to take over the system, which they really wanted in the first place.

Also interesting is that the president’s green arm, seeking to end the  use of fossil fuels, is being somewhat foiled by new discoveries, which are revealing that there is an almost limitless supply of oil, gas, and coal in mother earth —  so much that the only way to stop its production is to force us to keep it underground.

That’s what most hardened greens seem to want, although not enough in most cases so that they are ready to abandon their cars.

We knew it was happening with coal, but Obama’s injection into the North Dakota pipeline debate is suggesting he may never permit any significant pipeline under his watch.

So we have a choice between a Trump candidacy that doesn’t want to import anything not made here and a Clinton/Obama team that doesn’t want to produce the energy that drives our lives.

Our world is confusing.