Things Change. It’s Simple: “I Love You”
This is the story of Ciro Scelsi and Guido Lanza for the ‘Things Change’ special, as published in Riforma, weekly newspaper of Italy’s Waldensian, Methodist and Baptist Churches, November 26, 2013. Translated by Peter Luntz
“Guido / Ciro, I give myself to you, I love you, I trust you and you give my great joy. Your trust melts away all my doubts; your joy dispels my solitude. My home will be your home; your plans will be my plans. With you, I will courageously face each new step; I will go with you wherever God calls us. This is my solemn promise.”
On June 26th nearly three years ago, these were the words we used to exchange our promise to one another. At the same time, we invoked God’s blessing on our union alongside the community of the Waldensian Church of Milan (Italy).
We have never believed that life as a couple, or married life, whether same sex or not, was the be-all and end-all of life. We don’t think that not being a couple excludes you from normal society or condemns you to a life of solitude and suffering. However, our life together has been a fundamental step for us in our process of liberation. The possibility of publicly expressing our love and asking members of our church community to witness this was the culmination – yet it is also another starting point on a long journey.
We live on through the often painful recognition of our own identity, our relationships with our families of origin, memories of our experiences and losses and our ability to meet others.
We have not been alone on this journey. We have traveled along side our friends in the VARCO group (Protestant LGBT group of the Waldensian Church of Milan), the entire Waldensian Church, the pastors, many non-Waldensian friends, our parents, brothers, sisters and nieces and nephews.
Our love has allowed us to breathe again, to open up our identities and renew them. What we have built is our family; it’s natural for us to want see it recognized and then feel joy when this happens. We have no desire to make a spectacle of ourselves, yet we also have no desire to hide who we are. This is no doubt a challenge at times, and we often just ‘play it by ear’.
For example, we were fearful of the reception we would find in the small Ligurian town we now live in as a couple. And yet this too seems to be going off smoothly…
If anyone were to ask us, “What did you want to say with your church blessing?”, perhaps we could now just answer, “It’s simple: I love you.”
Original text: Le cose cambiano. Perché semplicemente: “io ti amo”