A shifted view

I have felt a shift. A shift in my life, no matter how slight it may have been, and it has changed everything. The feeling of great things to come, of change, and of finally feeling right. It’s a feeling of things falling into place. 

After such a turbulent past few months, I feel as though the storm is clearing for me and there is a light that has parted these dark clouds. I can honestly say this feeling is coming from my proximity to my ‘brother’ M. I can feel his love and acceptance, his passion and love for God has honestly helped me see more clearly and feel more whole. 

I never honestly thought this is even a thing, let alone for myself. Growing up hiding my sexuality because of fearing those bible-thumping-self-righteous church fanatics, fearing God, fearing judgement, hate and violence, has taught me skepticism and wariness. After getting to speak with M I realize that my fear, while real and warranted from experiences, is unfounded when actually viewing God. 

The nice thing is, M is not trying to convert me or even change me and he’s not trying to sell God to me. Our conversations center around values, morals and other principles and our religious viewpoints. It’s great to be able to hear things from his side of life with his experience. He doesn’t preach, he only describes what he has experienced and felt himself. He listens to the things I’ve gone through and it seems to me from his responses that it grounds him more than anything. It never occurred to him that I have gone through the things I have because of the face I show the world. 

These are the conversations that have helped me to start to clear my depression and move forward. To accept love and become more open to everything. Before now, I never realized how much I actually was missing in my spirituality. It’s easy to give lip service and claim you’re who you are, but it’s another thing to actually live it. 

We have not yet gone to church together, but I feel as though I am already more open and accepting of my faith. In all my years I have always felt as though I was unwelcome and unwanted in Christianity. It was always something to be hated, untrusted, feared and kept distant to one’s self if you are gay. After opening up and speaking to M, I now have new convictions and conclusions to my life and a different viewpoint on God and religion. 

He has helped to open my eyes to the brilliance of what it means to BE Christian. Here I thought I had a good grasp on it already, but now I know: there is knowing, and then there is knowing

Are you there God?

I’ve always struggled with religion, and now that I’ve come to terms with being gay, it’s even more of a struggle. I’ve always followed the philosophies of Bhuddhism, and always trying to be a good person. 

Growing up I’ve never been a fan of organized religion as it always turns out being the bad guy in situations. Followers are seen as fanatics, crazy, or just weird. My ego has always kept me away from the church because, while I don’t care, I do care about what others think of me; I also never want to do anything that will embarrass me. 

Now, I’ve grown up next door to a family of pretty religious people and I consider them family just as they do of me as well. We all have knowm eachother for about 27 or so years. I have always envied how honest, nice, caring, considerate, happy and perfect they all are. I know they are not all of these things all of the time, but they are exemplary people in my book and I aspire to be like them. 

One of their sons was done with church the way I am and fought tooth and nail to never go again because of how it is portrayed and makes him feel. After a few years he finally agreed to go because of everything going on in his life and he felt he needed help. He went and they prayed for him. With this, he felt nothing. As they were leaving at the end of the service, a woman came to him and said “God wanted me to heal you.” She simply touched him and he felt a wave go through his body and he began to cry. 

In my eyes he has never been one to cry; he’s always been tough, went through the marines and went to war three times in Iraq. To hear that he, an outspoken and forward person, was crying and speechless, makes me feel this may be the place for me to find God. 

I have fears and reservations still about going along with questions. I fear nothing will happen to me, that I won’t find God after all. I have never felt him or seen a sign when I ask for one, but am I mistaking the signs? I fear that maybe, if he is real after all, that I have been abandoned. Will I still receive his love for all the things I’ve done? Will he accept me as I am? Will he take the gay away or smite me because of it? Are these things that are even things to worry about? 

All of the evidence from my friends and family, testimonies, point to God being real in this instance. My head thinks so many thoughts about God, deep thoughts that tend to paralyze me and make me afraid. In retrospect, all I can think is “what am I really afraid of here?” If He’s real and I never found him, what will happen to me? If I find him, how will my life change? Will he let gays find him? I guess we will have to find out. 

I have plans to go this upcoming weekend with my neighbors. We will see what happens from here.

Selfish or Selfless

It has been in my mind more recently as of late, that people have become more selfish. I will not shy away and say that I am perfect and am never selfish, as I most certainly can be. We all want what is best for ourselves, but at what point is it that we sacrifice of other’s well being for our own? 

We live in a community where we must interact with with one another, coexist, yet we don’t seem to care about the others unless it benefits us. We rarely see stories on the tv of people who are selfless, but when we do, it’s big news. When did this start to become news worthy? Why should being a good person, selfless, and helpful to others, need to be paraded on the tv? Does it really happen that infrequently that we must parade it around to temp people to do it selfishly for recognition?

For my family, friends, and the occasional stranger, I will go out of my way to help them with anything that they need help with. Most times that I offer help, I am rejected and I go on my way. 

Another gym story:

I am reminded of a Friday afternoon recently where I have just finished my workout. I head into the locker room to get my flip flops on for the sauna and as I round the corner, a man in a wheelchair comes into view. He is wet from a shower, naked and appears to be in his 70s. He is just sitting there, stating into his locker. I am wondering if he needs help, but I dismiss the idea of asking him and open my locker. It is then that I notice his left leg is amputated just above his knee.

I get my flip flops on head to the steam room. I think to myself that I should offer help and that I’m a terrible person if I don’t, but I feel too afraid at the same time. Many thoughts and excuses flood my head telling me “No”. The fear wins and I head out as planned. 

He is no longer in my mind as I am now in a hurry to finish my time in the sauna and steam room, then to shower and leave so I can meet up with my friend for dinner and a night out. As I get back into the locker room to undress for my shower, I come to find that the man is still there in his wheelchair and having made very little progress. I still feel bad for him, so finally, regardless of all of my excuses and thoughts I ask if he needs help. He declined. 

Part of me is relieved and part of me wonders if it was how I approached him. I didn’t tell him I work in the medical field and can help him if he needs, but I did offer at the very least. Since he declined, I get my towel and head to the shower. I still feel bad, but he did decline after all so I shouldn’t press the issue. It isn’t my place to be offended or feel bad once declined. I did what I could. So with that, I dress and leave. 

Why was I so relieved he didn’t need help? Was it because of the gray area in my job where if he got injured I could be sued just because of my medical training? Probably. Why was I so scared to ask in the first place? Why did I think so hard on deciding whether or not to help this gentleman? Would you have done the same? 

Another story: 

I had just finished working 8 hours and a few of my co-workers wanted to go hang out. Well, being the gayness that I am, I needed an outfit. Heaven forbid I go out in my work clothes which were really street clothes anyway. I headed to Target, one of my favorite stores. As I pull into my spot, I observe the area around me as it is downtown on Broadway, a little bit of a shady area. 

All I see around is a little old lady, who looked to be in her 80s, walking to her car pushing a heavy cart. She got a huge bag of dog food in the cart, goodness knows how she actually got it in there! I parked, and as I was walking toward the store, I saw her pop the trunk of her little old Queensland. 

Without a second thought I stopped and asked if she needed help. She blessed me (which seared my evil homosexual soul) and thanked me multiple times as I picked up the heavy bag and put it in the car. I said “No thanks necessary” but I’m sure it meant the world to her. 

This happened 5-6 years ago and I still remember how happy and thankful she was to this day. 

This experience was purely intended to help her without any want of recognition or reward. I share this as an example of the things we can do to help others, no expectations, no rewards as the deed in itself is purely the reward. 

I feel these days, that fear keeps us from doing everything we want to do. Whether it’s being selfless, adventurous, or anything else you could imagine that would prevent you from doing something. The world would be a better place if people were more selfless and less selfish.