Forgive me for not writing sooner. Some weeks, it is difficult because of physical pain or because of a hectic schedule; sometimes I simply am wrapped up in the busyness and the goodness and forget to write on here. Last week, the post I wrote didn’t get published because it seemed more suited for the book I have been slowly working on writing and took a break from. I guess this means the break is over and I am resuming writing my spiritual memoir/call to action.
One thing that I have been thinking about a lot lately and wanting to share is related to a question I get from friends and from people who get referred to talk to me. I am often asked how I do reconcile my faith and my sexuality. I see friends and people I barely know alike struggle to accept themselves and struggle to find their place in the church and the place for faith in their life while longing for knowing love and wondering if it is “okay.”
Rewind a few years ago, and you will see the following scene:
I am standing in the kitchen with my friend Jessica at her apartment. We are making dinner together, probably rice and beans cooked in a Nicaraguan style. We are having one of our many deep conversations, and I am pouring out my heart telling her that I am getting to where I think is “okay” for me to be in a relationship with another woman, but that I am not fully there. Jessica, in her patient yet firm and loving way, let’s me know that that isn’t good enough. She tells me that she doesn’t want me to be in a relationship with anyone – female or male – unless I believe that it isn’t just ok, but that it is good.
This conversation really affected me, and it would be some time before I reached that point. Those reasons are too intensive and personal to communicate on a brief blog, and I am still unsure if I even want to discuss them in a book or not, mostly because I am no theology expert or even an amateur theologian – but I am a person and person with a story… Still thinking that one through. (Your thoughts on that are welcome as I am deciding whether to write on that or not.)
There is a passage where Jesus is talking about asking and believing and he asks a question that I had the hardest time believing for a while. He talks about the goodness of God and the gifts of God, and says something to the effect of “If you asked for a piece of bread, what kind of lunatic parent would give you a stone instead? Or if you asked for a fish, what horrible excuse for a provider would give you a snake? Isn’t God greater than that?”
I wasn’t so sure.
I just knew I had been handed a rock – but not just any rock – the gay rock.
The one with a big rainbow painted on it so that everyone would see and know. The one that didn’t seem to be good for anything except to draw unwanted attention and shame. The one that I tried to hide… but that rainbow. That damn rainbow.
I thought I had a snake too. I had to… right? The venomous kind, that injected a poison into me that made me want to do things that weren’t Godly. Things like loving someone… (??) But also venom that coursed in my veins, telling me I was worthless, unlovable, and that I would ultimately be abandoned and condemned. A snake that bit me often, reminding me of the pain and the loneliness and the hopelessness. The snake of shame.
Even once I began accepting myself and started believing that a relationship with a woman was a good which God intended for my life, I still couldn’t let go of this mindset, feeling that God would somehow still give me a rock or snake again, instead of something wonderful.
Now I am in a much different place, and it’s the place I hope all gay and lesbian people of faith will reach.
One of resting in goodness.
I know now, that I have been given a gift. My life as a lesbian growing up in the South, and growing up in the Church and attending a Christian college has given me great insight and empathy for others. I easily relate to people who are “different” or who feel oppressed for a variety of reasons. I have a knack for multiculturalism and an edge in understanding. (Even though all of that comes with the pain and anguish experienced when people are stubborn, non-affirming, or worse – hateful.)
More than that though, I am experiencing the beautiful gift and goodness of marriage. The theology of marriage and how it increases our love for God and neighbor has been captivating me. I am experiencing love in a new way each day with my amazing wife.
This is no rock.
It is bread.
Not just any bread – like the white sliced stuff that disappears off the shelves when snow is in the forecast.
This is homemade, kneaded sourdough – made with care and love and prepared with a loved one in mind. It’s the stuff dreams are made of for this gluten sensitive girl.
I have not been given a snake; rather it is a sweet tasting nourishing fish, caught then cleaned then cooked over a fire of trial and sanctification. Meant to revive and call the senses.
It is a trout.
Rainbow, of course.
That beautiful rainbow.
And I hope for all to see it, believe it, know it. And be thankful for it.
I know I sure am.