How I Got Here
In December 2005 I experienced a catharsis that I may someday be willing to write about here. Suffice it to say that in a stunning moment of self-awareness, I realized that fear had been running my life; and that if I didn’t do something about it, I will have wasted an opportunity to make things right—in my life and in my world.
In trying to figure out what was happening to me, I went online, where I was befriended by some sweet and caring gay men who gave me a swift kick in the seat and challenged me to change and grow.
I had been unhappy in my marriage for a long time. I made arrangements to see a counselor. We had seen counselors before, but this time was different: we were ready; he had us talking to each other instead of him, asking the right questions; and for the first time I was not hiding away from the hurt. I faced it with the question that has become my mantra for making difficult decisions:
“What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”
By moving past the fear—that still sometimes presents itself until I step through it—I have found purpose and energy. I have fallen in love again with my husband and he with me. (We celebrated our 30th anniversary this week, and honey, let me tell you we had a wonderful time. I mean, wonderful.) Our renewed commitment to each other has given us the strength to deal with the turmoil of our home life this past year.
At the same time, I needed change in my career as well. After having done the job I was hired to do—write a five-year curriculum for our church’s elementary Sunday School—I was restless. I was feeling a pull but I wasn’t sure the direction it should take. I was looking for the peace that comes with fulfilling one’s purpose. I’d realized that inner tranquility when I was plucked from the congregation for this job. I have come to know that of all the wonderful and exciting pleasures in this world, there is none greater or more lasting than doing what is right and good in service to others. I knew that an even greater joy of service waited for me again in some other form. I had to find it.
During all this, I was in conversation with my gay buds online. And with their friendship I was reminded again of the injustice engendered by the hatefulness spewed in public in the name of Christianity. Because most Christians are not publicity hounds, the feelings of the majority stay silent. But silence is exacting a high price in the gay community.
Eventually I understood that I am in a unique position to be a bridge between the Christian and gay communities, two groups who—while not mutually exclusive—believe they have reason to distrust each other. I can do this; moreover, I am being pulled inexorably, and it gives me great peace to act on it. Slowly, slowly, it has become part of my consciousness: it is my call.
In my conversations online, one of the guys included a link to a post on a blog. Sure, I’d heard of blogs, but I’d never read a personal one. This blog was written by some guy who called himself “Joe.My.God.” I looked it over, a little squinty-eyed in assessment, and found it smart, funny, moving, sexy, informative, and really really angry at Christians. If I am to be a bridge, then I need to know what I’m talking about. While I continued to read Joe’s posts, I investigated the links on the side column. Links led to more links. (Oh my—not that one.) I gravitated toward those which were open, literate, and moving.
So here I am today, running a Sunday School while aiming for so much more. I have made friends online; and while I recognize the imperfect perfection of the online persona, I believe I have begun genuine friendships that I hope to deepen.
Where will this take me? I’m not at all sure, but I will tell you what I hope for.
Next: Where I Am Going