Weekend Update For January 31st, 2015
Truly, a very large number of people have supported and encouraged me since coming out. Former Exodus leaders, even some who are still in that type of ministry, have been a big (and sometimes surprising) blessing. Of course my close friends at Grace Church have been fantastic. They truly are safe people who have proven once again they are trustworthy and some of the most loving people I have ever met. Plus, there has been a large outpouring of love and forgiveness from the gay community. I am deeply grateful.
It’s been overwhelming (in a good way) and I plan to blog more about that in time. There have been plenty of really good experiences to process.Today however, I want to discuss some of the negative messages I have gotten the past couple of weeks. These messages repeatedly remind me of “the closet” that is a metaphor for the oppression and stigma that gay people have suffered for far too long.
Two years ago today one of the best friends a man could have, Michael P, passed away by his own hand. When it happened, his family, our mutual friends, all of us were shocked and completely devastated. I remember crying for what seemed like forever.
Initially, I desperately held on to a dream I had shortly after his passing that completely reframed the situation. In it, Michael came to me, held my hand, and we sat on a bench. He was radiant and he sang the most beautiful otherworldly song. I believe our Heavenly Father allowed that to happen so that I would remember the beautiful Michael and not let the tragedy of suicide define him in my mind. Holding his strong hand, hearing his amazing song. It was so clear, so vivid, and beautiful.
For the longest time it was hard to get past the mourning to remember all the good without sobbing my eyes out. This past year that began to change. Now I can remember and enjoy memories of Michael without being lost in the sadness. With 23 years worth of wonderful memories, I have more than the dream to bring to mind and focus on.
Michael and I dated for a few months at the beginning of our 23 year friendship but quickly realized we were better as friends than as a dating couple. I say that only because it reveals how much I trusted him, completely. He was an amazing man. He was always respectful, tender-hearted, attentive, and quick to help. He and our little crew taught me many life-giving principles including unconditional love. I honestly think it was with them that I first heard those two words ever used together as well as experience it first-hand.
Michael was also a magnificent blend of wisdom and hilarity. He would say something so profound and then just so… irreverent! I will *never* forget his great laugh. Makes me chuckle as I type this.
He also had an astonishing intellect/analytical side. I have no doubt that after meeting Jesus and checking in with the Archangels, one of Michael’s first appointments was to meet CS Lewis and the Apostle Paul at the Pearly Gates Coffee Shop. I imagined he had a list of topics to talk about and ideas they might want to consider :).
::: enjoying that picture in my mind :::
So, now the water-works start. The tears are coming from a loving place, a warm and grateful heart.
I love you Michael. I miss you so much my friend. I choose to celebrate your memory and continue to learn from you through our memories. I take comfort knowing the Lord has already wiped every one of your tears away and I look forward to hearing your laugh ring out in heaven.
…And you better save me a spot at the Pearly Gates Coffee Shop!
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This morning I gave myself permission to sleep in, lounge around in my two sizes too big sweatshirt, not shave, and let my Chewbacca-hair run wild.
I did brush my teeth though. That has to happen or I will growl like a Wookie.
So, I will not make a video for this weekend update because I am too busy drinking coffee and typing it out. In other words, need a break from another emotional/busy week and don’t need to be in front of a video camera.
Health & Fitness
Last week I lost just under a pound for a total net weight loss of 80.2 pounds. I did get five workouts in. I think I added some muscle (not fat) so that may be offsetting weight “loss”. I am noticing the difference in how my clothes are fitting (for the better) so that is why it could be a redistribution of weight.
Two weeks after firing Weight Watchers (which I still highly recommend as a very good program) all is well. My stress levels are still pretty high but not getting headaches like I was last week. I did do a little comfort eating but not enough to knock me off the “healthy” wagon or induce a food coma.
Well, I think this personal post on my Facebook profile sums it up. I love my friends :). I will write more follow-up posts generated by feedback I have gotten since coming out soon. Have a great weekend.
“I have decided to stuck with love. Hate is to great a burden to bear.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
In case you missed it, and are interested, here is the Weekend Update video For January 15th, 2015. This video includes some follow up thoughts to my “coming out” post, as well as my health and fitness update for the week. I am moving this weekly video to my public page because Facebook did a major upgrade to the video features there. I am also going to make the video more than just my health and fitness update. I have limited time through the week at work so I want to expand the possibilities of what I can do with this weekend video. I hope the video makes sense and of course your feedback is always welcome.
There are moments in life when we look in the mirror and don’t like what we see. In a blush of painful self-honesty, we realize we’ve been making choices that are not in the best interest of ourselves or those around us. We may have hurt others with our actions; we have almost certainly hurt ourselves.
A friend of mine once said, “Some people just travel the road to hell. Me, I bought property.” I, for one, have certainly bought property on this road. I’ve made foolish and cowardly choices. I’ve taken shortcuts, moral and practical. I’ve lied. I’ve been an enabler for bad behavior of friends and family, feeding (and funding) folly in the hope they would love me more.
I am flawed.
We are flawed.
So what we do when we have these mirror moments? Do we sit with the discomfort then take steps to improve our behavior? Or do we look away, distract ourselves with a drink or a toke or chocolate cake, go on a shopping spree, gamble, or jump out of an airplane? Most often, it seems, we jump to self-soothing, distraction and denial. But every once in a while we find courage to face our own shortcomings and poor choices, and make material changes in our lives as a result of this self-reflection.
My post about being gay has generated more emails, comments, and messages then I can respond to in a timely manner. I will try to respond as soon as I can either directly or through follow-up blog posts. For those of you who have sent along encouragement, support, and honest heartfelt rebukes :)… I am grateful. I do read everything that comes in and appreciate the time you have taken to contact me. Your feedback is incredibly important. Thanks again, and have a great day.
I have read many stories of people who have “come out again” or accepted they are gay after some time in the ex-gay world. Many of their stories are compelling and well-written. But, sometimes I wish they would get to the point right off the bat. Just say it and then tell the story. So that is what I am going to do: I am gay.
Now take a deep breath (talking to myself here), and here is more of the story for those interested.
What Led To This Post?
The past six or so years have presented an opportunity to question my beliefs and evaluate my experiences without an idealized agenda. Then in 2011, as a result of all the turmoil that erupted at Exodus International (my former employer from 2002 to 2013), I began to dig deep and ask hard questions. Who am I? What do I make of my journey to date? How does God view me, my state of being? I questioned/pondered/re-examined all this and more again. Then in January of 2013, a man named Michael, someone I dated for a little while 24 years ago committed suicide. We remained good friends up until his death. His death was shocking and I still mourn his passing. Michael had several difficult issues contributing to his suicide, and I know he also struggled with his faith and sexuality. His death shook me to my core and made all the questions I had been asking were even more stark, consequential, and pressing. After being laid off from Exodus International (as a part of closing it down) in August of 2013, I began to have the personal space to think things through without distraction or filters.
Parallel to all this was a deepening and expanded understanding of God’s grace. These factors get more specific and complicated, but I think that the above describes the gist of how I began to come to the conclusions that I present in this post. I could have written this post last summer but was discouraged by some feedback I received. Regardless, I needed to pray and think it through a little while longer. Now is the time to do this. There is more about my motivations later in this post, too.