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In the presence of my enemies

In the presence of my enemies
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Rosaria Butterfield
Rosaria Butterfield Writer, speaker, homemaker, and former tenured professor of English at Syracuse University.
22 April, 2022 6 min read

The table was set with unfussy Corelle dishes, yellow paisley cloth napkins, and water glasses. One of the pastor’s sons, a colleague of mine from the university, pulled a gallon plastic jug of water out of the refrigerator and started filling the water glasses. ‘It’s not filtered water. I just like it cold,’ Pastor Ken Smith laughed as he greeted me with a warm handshake and pulled me gently but firmly over the threshold.

This was one of my first experiences of a Christian family feast, one that included the Smith family, other brothers and sisters from the church, and me. The room hummed with grown-up laughter and the sing-song of children’s voices. It had been so very long since I had experienced the sound of men’s voices laughing and the delight of a child’s giggle. While I proclaimed the value of diversity, my community was entirely composed of white thirty-something lesbian PhDs in the humanities.

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