August 12, 2009

Bear With Me

After returning from vacation to the bustle of Real Life, I have stolen a moment to tell you about my latest blogger confirmation: I have met BearToast Joe, who also comments as Bear Me Out.

We met last week at a café in a small mountain town, ostensibly to have breakfast and chat. In an outcome that is becoming more of a theme and less of a surprise, we talked through lunch without eating, finally saying goodbye mid-afternoon. The time flew.

Joe greeted me from the sidewalk with a bear hug. I do mean that; the man is huge. But his embrace was warm and friendly. Anyone who reads his blog would expect that, as I did. We sat down inside and forgot the rest of the world for a while.

Joe is a man of strong faith who is greatly concerned for his family and friends as he makes the transition to an out gay man. His large frame is burdened under the heavy weight of his conscience, wanting nothing for himself except the life he was born to live. The peace that this new life will bring is being made difficult by others’ expectations, and he is working hard to help them come to terms with this “new” man—who is the same Joe they’ve always known.

Joe was able to give me some input as I outlined some of the strategies I have in place for my church. I’m always open to ideas, since I feel like I’m making this up as I go along.

We ended up at a table outside so that he could take a brief puff on his pipe. His baseball cap features Smokey Bear. Perfect.

We had a wonderful time, laughing at ourselves over our foibles, sharing our stories of struggle. It was what anyone would ask of limited time with a friend. And I am proud to call Joe my friend.

* * * * *

Another blogger friend of mine was supposed to join me later, but Java’s life right now is in such turmoil that making all the arrangements for a visit was just too much. I know how badly she wanted to come.

She is really struggling with family issues, and it is taking its toll on her own emotional health. Please visit Java and give her some virtual hugs.

Top image courtesy of the Interwebs.


bigislandjeepguy said...

i'm sometimes sad that some of my blogger friends are not just a drive away. it would be great to meet people such as yourself, face to face.

A Lewis said...

How about Bare Me Out?? hehehe.

Ur-spo said...

oh! so that is what he looks like! they knew he was a " bear" but I didn't know it was such a resemblance!

BadgerBear said...

Joe's heart is amazing - I think he's one of the dearest men I've ever encountered and I thank my stars he's my friend, too.

Greg said...

Confirmation of another of our ranks...although, I always knew JoeBear was real. I could just tell. Glad the two of you had such a lovely visit.

Love your illustration - reminds me of my old Adirondack back yard!

Neil said...

Let's shake hands. The time I spent with Joe was the best time of my life. He meets my definition of a good man.

Birdie said...

BadgerBear and Neil, welcome! I'm so glad to meet more of Joe's friends. He is a wonderful thing to have in common.