Thank you - all of you.
The comments and affirmations I've received in the short time I've renewed my journey out of the dark have been overwhelmingly positive - for which I thank God. But while this is gratifying, it is also not overly surprising. After all, the people to whom I've come out so far have been the folks I'm closest to, and the folks I've considered "safest." That was intentional.
After the guys in my AA sponsorship circle, the next group of "close" friends I decided to come out to were folks in my former church home in Kansas. Part of the weirdness of this process is trying to do this by email, since I have no plans (or funds) to travel to Kansas anytime soon.
A couple people have asked, "Why even bother telling those folks? They are 600 miles away - they're out of your life!" That statement, however, is only half true. Many of the folks back in Kansas were the ones whose prayers, phone calls, emails, and active financial support carried me in the months after my seminary career fell apart...and for months afterwards. They were a part of my life - at least, the 60-90% (depending on whose estimates you use) that I was willing to share, exclusive of my sexuality.
The first one of my Kansas contacts, my "adoptive grandma" and dear friend Sandy, was wonderful - I got a response back the same day basically saying, "Yeah, OK. So you're gay. You're still you - nothing's changed. I love you." Earlier this evening, the pastor of my former congregation responded, with virtually the same sentiment.
The third person, however, hasn't respond. Not that day. Not the next day. Not yet, in fact.
The silence has become somewhat deafening.
This whole process is proving to me how much I depend on the approval of others. At a basic level, I know I will be OK, regardless what this person (or any of the other people I get honest with) eventually decide. But at another level, I'm selfish enough that I want this person (and other people yet to be contacted) to be part of my life - to have them stay in touch with me, to wish me well, to pray for me. I have history with these people - after all, we laughed, cried, celebrated and mourned, prayed and worshipped together for almost 13 years.
Of course, a more rigorously-honest evaluation would be that I don't want all that life (and all that history) to become disposable or valueless because of my sexuality
- especially a sexuality that I haven't actually acted-out on in more than two decades.
Evidently I need an MP3 recording of "I Am What I Am" (one of the famous gay anthems from the Broadway version of La Cage Aux Folles) along with one of "The Way I Was Made" - preferably set to continuous looping. Wish I could justify the cost of an iPod - but unfortunately I have a whole list of expenses that way outrank that little expenditure.
"...and the beat goes on..."
Friday, November 04, 2005
Thank you - all of you.