He is there. Thank You God. 

Is this it? Is this my testimony? You’re real? 

It’s the second time I’ve been to church in 15 years. The last few weeks have been beautiful to me. The love, acceptance, happiness and fulfillment I have felt is such a great blessing. I have searched for answers my whole life, I have searched for peace. If this is what you offer me, I gladly accept this. 

While at church this last Sunday, we had a group prayer. We were asked to pray for those of us that have physical issues going on that need healing, depression and anxiety/relationship issues, and finally financial problems. I was able to honestly raise my hand for both the depression/relationship and financial issues. 

I prayed for myself to grow and get through my issues with depression and my past relationship, my financial issues as I go back to school, and to be able to get to my true happiness; however I also prayed for those around me which includes my neighbor Z who has ongoing heart issues. 

After this group prayer, a lady came up to me and say next to me and my friend and she asked if she could share God’s message with me. She told me she had a vision about me from God, and if course I said yes. 

This is what she shared:

“Hello, my name is Trisha. God sent me a vision for you. Would you like to hear it? [Yes please.] I’m sorry if I start crying, it’s a powerful message. [Definitely, thank you.] In my vision there was a pirates chest with treasure in it, overflowing and full of riches. It was locked and you held the key. It was surrounded by big shadowy figures that were blocking you from it. As I looked around there was a flashlight on the ground and it was pointed at the chest. It seemed like the flashlight was causing these shadows to be bigger and more scary than they were. I hope this message helps you and means something for you. [Thank you very much for sharing!]”

So this is my testimony. How this came from a complete stranger and yet it applied so much to the things I had prayed about and the struggles I have been through lately. I had asked for a sign earlier this month for God to let me know if he is real, I remained and probably still remain open minded. 

I have questions, but there is no doubt in my mind. I wonder, but there is no fear. With speaking to my family/community, I know I must give my troubles and fears and doubts unto Him for he will take them from me. When I fully accept Him, His son and their love, everything will be clear and empowering. 

I have asked God for help. I have asked Him for freedom and for His love, His forgiveness, and His acceptance. I have asked Him to deliver me into the hands of those that should most help my life to become whole. I have asked for Him to watch over those around me and to shower those I don’t know personally with His love, acceptance, and light for everyone needs it whether they think so or not. 

I feel so blessed after this weekend for he has shown me his love. I feel blessed that he had that vision sent to me. His love is real and his light will never fade. I have a long way to go yet, but it is a journey I will take on gladly. 

A Difficult Weekend, Show Me The Light

Becoming more religious and spiritual is definitely having some interesting effects. It has had an effect on the way I feel, the way i view myself, and even the relationships I have with others. Thus far I have had friend that have reproached me because I am gay and on this journey. I understand where they are coming from and their worry, but they are also misunderstanding what is going on with me and my life. If God wills it, they will open their eyes and see me and where I am going. 

My life is on track finally and I feel like everything is just right. My life is looking up, my light, my joy, and my future are bright. If I become down, I will look at the silver lining and make the best of every situation. 

——BREAK——

I started this post on Friday and haven’t had a chance to write it all weekend because of how busy it became. I celebrated M’ s little sisters birthday, my nephews birthday, mothers day, and my grandparents 60th anniversary. This blog started out very light and happy, but this weekends events have caused turbulence once again. 

The one person I was connecting with and loving his acceptance and non judgement was the one who changed it all once more. He got drunk and ruined his sister’s birthday party, he definitely changed the glow and the flow of the night. What was 7 people quickly got melted to only 3 of us, his cousin, my friend and myself. 

His drunken outburst caused havoc among a family, and tore people apart. His love and acceptance, his non-judgement, his compassion; all became revealed as a sham. His non-preaching became a preachy, judgmental and ‘holier-than-thou’ burst of anger and arrogance. He attacked the very person we were celebrating, and another of the least likely person I have ever met, the most positive and upbeat person I know, his brothers girlfriend. 

I have my doubts, I have my questions. I know he is somehow hurting inside and that he is unhappy. He is broken on the inside and he is trying to “fake it until you make it”. I don’t know what set it off, but I have suspicions. Conversations with his brother, sister and cousin have shown me that this time isn’t the first, and doesn’t sound like the last. 

We can only keep up facades for so long, there is a limit on how much we can handle on any one thing until we finally burst at the seams and can no longer contain it. Alcohol can only decrease this threshold. I am the son and grandson of alcoholics, mine is a steep and slippery slope that I tread. I have seen the damage this can cause first hand. A part of me wants to always hold on to hope and help the person, but I also know the reality and know that you can only help those that seek and want it. You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make him drink. 

It took my father until age 63 when he had a stroke, to finally stop all of his own drinking and start a better life. It is never too late for yourself, but be weary that you will destroy those relationships around you, driving away all those that love you and all for poison. It will financially, spiritually, emotionally, and physically destroy you and typically before you even realize it. 

Know your limit, or get help and quit. If people hinder progress, get rid of them, you don’t need that negativity and poison in your life. 

I don’t know what I will do about M, but I already know that I need to be accepting of him and love him. For many, love during your darkest hours will set you free, just as his love and acceptance has helped me. I feel that his own faith and unconscious screaming for help have brought me into his life at this moment to help him. Even if it is to shed light on how this issue can be detrimental to his life. 

I will remain positive and I will keep shining what light I can on those around me  

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

A not-so unhappy Birthday

I ended up having the best birthday weekend ever. It, by far, has surpassed my expectations as it fulfilled my want for spending it with close friends and family. It was a busy weekend to be sure, while sleep deprived, was well worth it. 

My friends took me for a pedicure on Friday, while I wasn’t fond of it being overpriced, it was a good experience. We were able to chat of nothing in particular while being pampered and massaged. Afterward we ended up bar hopping in our little local town-city. We called it a night at about 1030pm and went home. The next day was just as amaxing. 

We went to an early brunch on the river at 10am. We started with “the hair of the dog that bit [you]” us, some Hibiscus Mimosas and Bloody Marys. The food was amazing and the atmosphere was just perfect as we relaxed on the patio next to the fire pit. Once finished we headed to the city nearby where we commenced our full day of bar hopping yet again. We did this for the next 10 hours, hitting one of my favorite spots  (a German bierhalle) and traveled to a few other spots after. The weather was absolutely gorgeous. 

We spent all day on the patio of each spot soaking up the cocktails and warmth. I paced myself only having a drink every hour or so, as I didn’t want to get too sloshed. We ended our night back at the German Bierhalle with another friend of mine that showed up around 630pm. We called it a night at about 10pm as during our travels, my doctor that I work with called me and invited me to go sailing the next day in the San Francisco Bay. 

I awoke at 730 the next morning and got ready. This was the most exciting thing I have done in my life. While I have been on small fishing boats in lakes and on a barge getting ferried to Alcatraz before, this was a totally different experience. I arrived at 10am as expected after my Starbucks stop ok the way out of town. We left the marina and headed out into the bay, just me and him. About 3 minutes into our escapade, he handed me the helm. For the next 4 hours, we sailed the bay while he taught me how to sail, sharing the most amazing experience with me. I have always seen people sailing and thought it looked so beautiful and thinking it must be so very relaxing, but to my revelation, it was hard work. Don’t let me fool you, it was also relaxing and very fulfilling. 

We pulled back into the marina and relaxed for a half hour or so before I had to depart. He enjoyed a beer while I had a glass of white wine with out glamorous chips and salsa. I then headed out with me and my sunburn/windburn to fight the traffic to get home. It took me longer to get home than it did to get to the bay, but it ended up working perfectly. 

I arrived in time for my birthday dinner! I took a quick shower, changed into something more comfortable, treated my sunburn with aloe and headed into dinner. We enjoyed great food made by my grandma and an amazing pineapple-upsidedown-cheesecake made by my mom. All my immediate family that I love showed up. This was such a perfect day, but it wasn’t over yet!

I headed to my 2nd family’s house (neighbors of 27 years). I got there at about 730pm as they were starting dinner. They invited me to grab a plate of course, which I had to decline as I was already stuffed, and we all enjoyed eachothers company. After dinner, we started a fire in the fire pit in the back yard, grabbed some red wine and relaxed around it. 

We had amazing conversations about society, politics, education and God. My 2nd family is very religious, but the type of such that you aspire to be; Wholesome, loving, open, accepting, and model Christians. I sat with my 2nd brother (we will call him “M”) and cousin (“B) until about 130am talking about God and forgiveness. We spoke of my depression and transgressions. We spoke of homosexuality and God’s love for me. M made it clear that he did not want to reprimand me, or try and convert me, he could only speak of God’s love and forgiveness and how sin is forgiven. We spoke of my fear and skepticism of religion due you past experiences, but he was adamant of God’s forgiveness. His certainty of this made me feel so much better, and I will be going to church this Sunday for the first time in 15 years. 

We had one of the deepest and intense conversations I ever have had, and definitely the first with him. We opened up about our fears, insecurities and the things we have caved to in weakness. I told him about my scare with HIV and the negative test results, my fear was his judgement and his rebuke, but all I received was his love and acceptance. This was one of the most empowering experiences I have had with someone, even of my own family. It was refreshing when he let me know that, even though I am gay, he loved me and called me brother. I was surprised he said he heard 2 years ago that I am gay and never said anything about it, asked or even probed with questions. 

My weekend ended on Monday with the military interment of my 2nd grandma. All in all, I had an amazing birthday weekend, and today, I will be ending it with dinner of my favorite kind, sushi, with family. What started as depressing last week had become the best birthday I have ever had in a short amount of time. 

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.