Most people’s life, after a certain number of years, falls into predictable and comfortable circles and patterns. You might say that we find our “gravity” – that we find those things that are in harmony with our “center,” that carry a weight of importance to us.
For the majority of my life, my gravity centered around my family, my faith, my friends, and my work. Probably not significantly unlike many other people. My family means more to me than anything else in this life. The love of family simply cannot be replaced by anything else. My faith has been a part of my entire life. I was going to church before I was even born. 🙂 I have some dear, dear friends who love me so unconditionally it blows my mind. The irreplaceable love and loyalty shown by them is simply amazing. I’ve always been a hard worker and stable provider for my family. In all these things I am blessed and proud. These are my elements of gravity.
But things are different now.
You might say that they have “devolved” to a “raw” stage.
The love of my family is still strong. But, we’ve lost much of the “warm fuzzies” we used to enjoy. Now there is a palatable tension, an underlying hurt, mistrust, and anger. There are more questions than answers. And tears. There are lots of conversations around “can we make this work” and “how will we survive?” The love we are experiencing is a ragged edge love. No pretense, no false fronts. It’s just out there…take it or leave it. No easy answers. Some extended family have been my strongest supporters…others haven’t been given the chance, sadly enough, because they aren’t “safe.” I still gravitate back to my family first. It just doesn’t look like it used to…and time will tell what it will look like in the future.
As far as my faith goes, I saved the baby and threw out the bath water. Yes, I’m a christian…I’ve saved the baby Jesus. But, the bath water – all the trappings and crap of the “church” – yeah, not interested. Now to be honest, I’ve been on this journey for several years now, but it brought this crisis to get me to this point. I just don’t care about “church” anymore. What I’m looking for is a community of people who will be brave enough to admit that they have a raw and ragged faith, who are sick to death of the cliches, who refuse to always quote a promise from scripture accompanied by a sickeningly pasty “holy” smile, who will eat with sinners instead of condemning them, and who are no longer buying the bait and switch played so well by the modern church. You see, since I grew up in it, I know all the tricks of the trade and I’ve finally gotten ill from the overload. I’m done with all that. My faith is simple, uncluttered, and powerful. And, unlike my earlier faith, this new faith of mine tells me that God loves me just like I am – gay.
For those of us who are making this journey, it becomes obvious who your true friends are. Those who truly loved me before are still here, in spite of it all. Others have walked away. And my attitude has become…”their loss.” I’m still a great guy. It is truly sad that a label will so easily wreck a friendship. I do have to say, though, that those friends who have stayed, have become more precious and appreciated than ever. There are days when they are my very lifeline.
Work has taken on a new face. As I mentioned in the previous article, I was a pastor for nearly 20 years. I am a preacher’s kid, to boot. So most of my life has been about engaging people to help them in some way or another. Now…I’m just an hourly worker. I’m not ashamed of my job, in fact I really enjoy it! It’s just different. It’s good.
So, in all these things, my center of gravity has shifted. Really, the dust hasn’t settled yet from the shifting as things continue to fall into place. Life is different. Life was difficult before, it’s even more so now. Relationships were tricky before, they are even more tricky now.
Gravity shifts when transparency happens.