A Mexican Journey

Gabriel and I had a wonderful trip to Mexico, where we visited Mexico City and Puebla. We flew into Mexico City and spent a couple of days walking around downtown, visiting museums, eating great food, and visiting sites from the Aztec past. While this city of 22 million people is enormous, they have expansive green areas that are a pleasure to walk through. Prices are affordable, and the people are friendly. I fortunately have a built-in Spanish interpreter in Gabriel, so I cruised through everything without having to point at the menu or sound like Lucy Ricardo in my broken Spanish.

We visited Puebla next, where we stayed with Gabriel’s mother and sister. While Gabriel has gone to Mexico regularly, it had been quite a few years since I had been to see my in-laws at their home. Gabriel’s sister speaks excellent English, so we had great conversations. On the other hand, my mother-in-law does not speak English, but we communicated with warm looks and Gabriel’s translations. It reminded me that I must also broaden my Spanish to include some verbs.

June is the rainy season in Mexico, but that did not deter Gabriel and me from walking everywhere. It did not rain as much as I expected, and the clouds kept it from getting hot, so our 7-10 miles of walking each day were comfortable and invigorating. My last day in Mexico was spent at the Hotel Geneve, which was built in 1909. The picture they have from its opening shows it in a vast grassy field, and for many years it was a grand hotel that was the accommodation for visiting dignitaries from all over the world. I wondered what the original owner would think about this hotel, which is now in Zona Rosa (the Pink Zone), which has a flamboyant gay feel and is considered close to downtown.

While in vacation mode, I could not help but think about July’s theme of Choosing Freedom Together. Surrounded by so many people can make me feel claustrophobic in Los Angeles, but somehow, I felt immersed instead on this trip. I thought a lot about how we choose to live together, so we always choose Freedom. Even being out of the country, I still heard about the Supreme Court’s decision to reverse Roe v Wade. It made me wonder how it could be that Mexico’s Supreme Court’s ruling to implement abortion protection last year is in the opposite direction of our country?

My last few minutes before departing for the airport and my trip back home gave me a glimmer of how we should be choosing freedom together. Gabriel and I spent our last few hours together in Mexico City, going for breakfast and a walk. As our time wound down, we decided to sit on a bench and watch the people go by. It was a broad sidewalk and many folks passed by as we sat and chatted in English. A married couple walking by stopped and commented on our English. He was from England, she was from Mexico, and we discussed all sorts of details of our lives, including our adoption of three kids and how Gabriel had moved to the U.S when he was twenty-one. Eventually, they told us they were Jehova Witnesses and promoted an online Peace Conference, and we discussed how Peace begins with each individual person. At this time, I told him I was a minister with the Centers for Spiritual Living. He asked about my beliefs, and they told me a little about theirs. While they left out some of the more problematic issues (like Jehovah Witness’ rules against being gay), we swapped business cards and promised to look at the other’s information.

As we parted with the couple, Gabriel and I walked back to our hotel discussing this conversation. We both agreed that America would be better off if we could choose to listen to each other better on challenging issues. For example, as a gay person, I have had difficulties with Jehova Witness people trying to tell me that God condemns who I am as living in sin, which is as diametrically opposite from each other as Pro-Choice and Right-To-Choose beliefs. Yet when I heard the term Jehova Witness, I did not immediately put the shields up and tell them that I already knew what they would say. Listening to them made me more hopeful for the world because our conversation was about finding common ground. While they are not advocates for gay people’s expression of love and marriage, we have shared ideas about seeking peace for the world.

Ultimately, we as a nation and a world must learn to choose freedom together. It starts by focusing on how we are the same rather than different. Then, as we explore our Oneness, our differences will seem insignificant. Freedom comes in our choices to move toward common ground and allow Spirit to guide the rest.