Thursday was National Coming Out Day. I’m reading through Facebook comments of friends from high school to whose pain I was oblivious. I regret that I was not then the person I am sometimes able to be today, an advocate and ally. I am certain that through my frequent silence, constant blindness, and occasional word and deed, I hurt people. I am deeply sorry.
To my LGBTQ friends who are still in the closet to whatever degree – it’s never just coming out once; it’s minute-by-minute decisions about what to reveal to who – I say that we support you on whatever time table you need. We pray for your well being. We pray that you might surround yourself with people who love you for who you really are. We pray that you find peace. To those who are out, I say congratulations and thank you.
I say thank you because your lives are vivid examples of the journey of faith. We all envelop ourselves in defenses, trying to protect who we really are, who we were made to be. The expectations of others are a weight that we all carry. Our fears, our doubts, our desires, all distract us from the divine within, distract us from the certain knowledge that we are all children of God, all carry the image of God, and are all loved without question and without ceasing. We all have to come out: out from behind the walls, out from behind our egos, away from the grasping for control, to the primal faith in who we really are. I don’t say this to minimize the particular challenges that face LGBTQ folk in this world, but to celebrate their lives as beacons of hope. If a 16-year-old can come out as gay, even to one or two people, at Kingwood High School in the 1980s, maybe I can have a little bit more courage to heal a broken world. God is the original It Gets Better Project. The experiences of my LGBTQ friends tell me that God’s dreams can come true if some of us stand up, be ourselves, and make a better world.
The first faith is faith in who we were made to be. Know yourself. Know God. Be PROUD.
Grace and Peace,