Over the years that this blog has been in existence, I have talked about Chicken Soup Brigade. I’ll give people a Reader’s Digest version of that organization, to get folks up to speed: Chicken Soup Brigade was a non-profit which provided services (food delivery, homecare, transportation) to people living with AIDS in the Seattle metropolitan area. I was a case manager for CSB, and my region was the Eastside; which is the wealthy suburbs of Seattle (where Microsoft is located and all of the millionaires that went along with it). And while Seattle is a very gay city, I found the largest percentage of closet cases (who were living with AIDS) to be living on the Eastside. I guess there’s something about wealth and Republicanism, or something. Because Seattle is super-duper liberal except for the Republican Eastside. But I am digressing. None of this talk about the Eastside has anything to do with why I am writing this post. I want to talk about David Strong. David moved from Minneapolis to work at Chicken Soup Brigade. He and I hit it off from the get go. I tried my best to show him all the wonderful things about Seattle. But honestly, he did a great job of figuring things out for himself. David has always been a very spiritual person. And religion & spirituality just scares the heck out of me. So, there were times when I would stare at him, and think to myself, “How can you be so flipping gay and talk about God so much?” I just didn’t get it. I mean, my experiences with religion and God involved a priest trying to molest the gay out of me. So, whenever I encountered a religious queer, I cringed. But, with David I felt safe. Many years later into our friendship, I found myself going through one of the most difficult times in my life. I was in a depression that was so deep that I was beyond suicidal. I was simply dead, walking amongst the living. I just couldn’t cope with the violence I experienced at my workplace. An act which left my boss, 2 of my buddies, and the perpetrator dead. Then, to add insult to injury, the hospital decided to close my entire department down. So, I was grieving and unemployed; which was not a good combination for this lost soul. Well, David picked right up on my sadness. I remember very clearly the day he arrived, unexpectedly, at my place. He buzzed and buzzed and buzzed my doorbell, and I hid. Then he waited for someone else to let him into the building. Once he got into my place, he found me sitting in the dark, with all blinds drawn, chain-smoking. He opened all the blinds, grabbed my hand, and said, “Come on, we’re getting out of this house and having some fun.” He latched onto me. He understood what I was going through, even though I never shared a single word about what I was feeling or experiencing. That’s why I love the guy so much. And, like so many of my friends, he is living his dream, too. He started his own church in Tacoma, Washington; and I couldn’t be any happier for him. I am so glad he’s still in my life, despite the fact that I no longer live in Seattle.