I used to keep a figurine on my desk of a dolphin leaping out of the water. There are people who are immediately drawn to it when they enter the room, but not because they like sea mammals. In fact, they can’t say why they like it.
It has a phallic similarity that I did not notice at first. But the dolphin is curved just so, as it stretches up. And it is just the same size as, well… you know.
On occasions when we had meetings in my office, one fellow would pick the figurine up, place it in his lap and play with it thoughtfully while we discussed the Lord’s business.
On church volunteer, a prim, past middle aged lady couldn’t keep her hands off it. When she entered my office to talk to me, her eyes would light up as she saw it. She’d pick it up and stroke it absentmindedly while we conversed, oblivious to what she was revealing. I would watch with a mix of humor and embarrassment.
I could understand why her husband was a happy, sort of mellow fellow.
I never pointed out to her what she was doing because she would have died of embarrassment.
It has often been mentioned by readers of this blog that people are sexual and we can be silly in our denial of this part of ourselves. In fact, it’s important that people express themselves sexually.
On Sunday mornings, I can often tell who had sex the night before and who didn’t. There are the couples, young and old, where the man leans back against the pew with a satisfied look while the woman nestles against him, sometimes with her hand resting on his thigh. It makes me feel good to see them.
I also see couples who might sit together, but obviously aren’t interested in touching each other. Or maybe only one isn’t interested while the other looks glum.
I never mention this to anyone, of course. And it never got brought up in seminary. In fact, this is not something I can talk about to anyone, so I write about it here. But it’s part of my constant monitoring to gauge how things are going with folks in the congregation.
It used to make me uncomfortable to see these things. But as I get older and more comfortable with myself, I know how to see the people and decide what kind of work will be required of me for the week.