It’s the end of the year. It seems appropriate to write a wrap up. Yet, as I sit here thinking about 2012, I can’t help but think it would be impossible to. I’ve changed. Things have changed. Yet, everything’s the same. I’m not really sure I know how to describe it all, but I’ll try.
At the beginning of the year I was trying so hard to change a facet of me that I was scared to admit. I was convinced with enough prayer and misery that I could be “right” and “normal”. Then I read a book. It was the first time that I had a glimmer of hope. The book Fall to Grace by Jay Bakker was incredible. It helped me to realize that I needed to walk in grace – not just for others (which I definitely needed to do), but also give grace freely to myself. Then the last couple of chapters hit me in the face. It turned out that this… tattooed preacher was also gay affirming. He said it wasn’t a sin, but he didn’t stop there. He said that he blesses those unions. That God, who makes all things and people, made people who way. He wired them. He wants them to find love and be in a fruitful relationship. This pastor’s words made me hunger for Truth. I set out on an intense season of reading everything I could find on the topic – science and theology. I read every view-point possible. For the first time I stopped praying “God, take this away, make me straight, or at least a-sexual.” and started praying “God, show me the truth. Did you make me gay, and is that okay?”
In February, I was at the end of my rope. I read everything I could by every side (23 books on the topic). I was still in therapy and a group therapy dynamic to try to change. I was being told that I was an affront to God and basically that I was a piece of crap though I had not acted on an impulse my entire time following Jesus. It got to me. I decided that I’d go away for a weekend and spend time without those outside voices and opinions and translations of Scripture, and just spend time with the only Opinion who matters. So, God and I had a major weekend. Breakthroughs in prayer, breakthroughs in my emotions, and I came back changed. I finally had the change I had been seeking for so long. I stopped hating myself. I stopped hating God. I stopped being jealous of everyone else who had a more “acceptable sin”. I embraced who God made me to be. I came back home, for the first time, smiling and awake. I told my room-mates that I’m gay. February also saw my first date – which was insane.
March was fun and stressful. I had to learn how to navigate these waters with my family. I was scared that they’d stop loving me, or distance themselves from me. I tried to explain everything that I learned and discovered and honestly, I got so frustrated when they didn’t automatically respond the way I wanted them to. I forgot about the Grace I embraced in January. I also learned what I wanted in a relationship (basically by what I didn’t have in the person I was dating). I liked the freedom of figuring things out with someone who didn’t care. She wasn’t looking for anything long-term, so she was good for practice.
April and May saw lots of concerts, hanging out with friends, and church hunting. I also changed jobs and went into more of a sales position. I hated it. I had to wear a scarf. Oh, and I chopped off my hair. Big time. I went from past my shoulders to what was supposed to be a “pixie cut”. I would wind up wearing a faux-hawk for the next several months.
June came and I realized that I couldn’t handle that new job. I couldn’t work over nights anymore. I couldn’t keep wearing that blasted scarf. I wasn’t making any commission because of the hours. Then they said they were transferring me to Midway from O’Hare. I called up Rick. He hired me back.
In July I went on a couple of first dates. It was super hot that month. I got a few sunburns. I fell in love with the Summer Woodchuck Hard Cider. I ran a lot. My calves looked pretty great.
August. August was when Kelly and I had our first date. We talked before then, so when we had our first date, it was so smooth and amazing. I thought for sure that it was just because the last date was such a freak-show. So, when we went on our second date and it was even more amazing… I knew that this was going to be different. It was. Living 36 miles apart didn’t seem to hinder anything. All that happened was we spent more in gas money. Within a few weeks we decided that we weren’t going to see anyone else (I had decided that the first time I saw her).
September. Labor Day weekend was awesome. I got to spend most of it with Kelly and then “Cousin Jennifer” came for a visit. I love talking with her. She opens my eyes to things that matter. She’s an amazing photographer and I learn to see beauty in the every day. September was also the month that I “convinced” Kelly that she loved me. September was also the month that her room-mate went psycho and I had to change the door knob on her bedroom door to one that locks. It was a very… random… month.
October. We went away Columbus Day weekend (for my birthday) to Wisconsin. It was incredible. We went to the worst zoo in the world. We held hands a lot. I got my favorite beer. We just hung out. Seriously, it was awesome. Then, I started getting flashbacks to trauma from the 90’s, so I started back at therapy. This time though, I love my therapist, and it’s helping. October also held lots of packing. My room-mates and I moved to Skokie from Chicago. That’s right, I no longer live in the city. It makes me sad when I think about it. So I try not to think about it. Kelly moved from Wheaton to Evanston. We bridged the distance from 36 down to just 4 miles.
November. Lots of therapy. Thanksgiving. I hate holidays. Wait, I’m sorry, I hated holidays. Oh, and then there was this little thing of proposing to Kelly and her saying yes.
December. Kelly and I officially chose a church (we’d been hunting for months). We serve on the prayer team (I’ve been told that when I say it that way to non-church-goers that it sounds like a competitive sport). I love getting up early and getting to pray with her and others for the church, those in need, and the world. Talking to God while holding her hand – not much is better than that. Then there was Christmas. Stress. and Families. The highlight of the holiday was at the end of the day, her dad gave me a little hug and told me to take care of her. All the stress and nerves were totally 100% worth it.
So here I am, thinking about the year. I started the year in therapy and pretty grounded in a church. I’m ending it in therapy and firmly planted in a church. I started out questioning if God would love me and am ending it secured in His embrace. I started out thinking I’d be alone and miserable the rest of my life, and I’m ending with planning a wedding. I started in Chicago and am ending in the ‘burbs. I started with Fall to Grace and am ending with Torn (Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays vs Christians Debate) by Justin Lee. I started as myself and am ending as myself.
This has been my year.