Happy Easter and Spring to everyone! I pray that you are filled with a sense of hope and new life. And if you’re in a difficult place, I hope that you hold on in the knowledge that this difficulty WILL pass and life will get better.
One of the things that always amazes me during the Easter season is the very abrupt turn of events in the life of Jesus’ followers. They go from a very frightened band of people that basically ran away when the going got tough, due to their fear of being associated with this man, to a group of people filled with courage who spoke out openly. Even though they knew that they might be next on the chopping block, something happened within them. They walked through the fear and began to speak openly. They “came out” as it were. They went from a huddled group behind locked doors, to openly speaking and proclaiming the truth in the streets!
Any of us who are gay can relate. Any of us who have lived in fear of what people might think or what the consequences might be if people knew something about us can relate. Remember what it was like when the desire to live freely became greater than the fear that held you bound? Remember the frightening, exciting freedom when you first spoke freely and opened up to someone? This is the courage of the followers of Jesus. This is the courage of any who have taken a step beyond the fear of consequences into the light of freedom.
Is there something that you still hold inside, some fear that still rules you? The good news is this: once we make a move, once we even whisper our truth, we will begin to find others who will be a source of support, amidst those who might want to tear us down. We are never alone. Once we “come out,” once we speak up, we will find other “disciples” who will walk the journey with us.
Remember how exciting it was when we finally realized who we were, when we began to love ourselves instead of hating and dreading the truth of who we were? Remember when we began to find others like us out there? I will never forget the utter joy and excitement of finding others who were like me. I literally shook inside I was so excited. It was some friends of mine who I found out were gay that helped me love myself as I was. Suddenly I went from being so frightened and holding all of this inside to speaking it openly.
I will also never forget the first time I went to a gay bar. A bar is not the best atmosphere in the world, but we had, in those days, no other place to openly gather. I will never forget the first time I walked in a gay bar. I was so nervous and out of my comfort zone that I was shaking all over. I forced myself to walk in and when I did I was astounded to see hundreds of gay men just like myself. I saw men dancing with each other, laughing, holding hands, touching and holding each other and kissing. I was astounded because for the first time in my life I saw reflected in my waking dream what I had always known, deep inside me, to be true and right and good. I felt that I had come home! I finally had found my “tribe,” as it were, my own kind, . . . and I loved it! Instead of cowering in a corner worrying for their eternal salvation, these men were celebrating who they were! What a gift they were to me that late night so long ago. I knew then that I was not alone.
Finding a community is indeed among life’s best treasures and without it, life is somehow impoverished. Do you have a community where you can be yourself, whether you are gay or straight? Is there a place where you feel at home, a group that feels like it’s your tribe? If you don’t have that, what can you do to seek that out? It’s out there. In being ourselves, letting other people know who we are, stepping outside of our comfort zone and taking a risk, we will discover the grace of finding our own.