And I was not afraid anymore

This week, in the days following my original 'coming out' blog post, I have been saturated in the feeling of being whole & loved. I articulated the feeling saying 'it is like I am nuzzling into the neck of Aslan'. Such a masculine picture of God and in the feeling, I am about 6 or 7 years old. There have been several curative moments that have encapsulated the feeling of integration and love I have felt. These moments presented themselves in perfect form, like they were uniquely designed for my healing. 

 

(representing mothers)  A mother of a close dear friend of mine had the undeniably genuine look of sheer joy and pride as she entered a room with me. I instantly knew she had read the story & said "hi", as if for the first time. Her eyes shining, she gave me a full hug. It is unbelievable how different a hug is when you genuinely feel loved as a whole person with all pretense down. It is unbelievable how different this hug feels than a 'I love you but I don't quite know what to do with this or you inside myself' hug.

If only we could remember, in every single interaction, how connected we truly are to every single human at the point of our humanity. 

 

(representing Aslan or the masculine side of God)  A former coworker, with a beautiful heart, literally threw down his briefcase and all but ran to me to hug me. I instantly knew he had read the story, I didn't even have to ask. As we exchanged a tear filled hug, he said to me "I am so proud of you".   And a relationship that had been so beautiful and respected became so much fuller, with deeper, richer connection instantly. Imagine not being able to fully connect with every single relationship you have, even those that were important to you. Imagine on some deep level you did not feel like they could know you or love you because there was always a small portion that had to be held back. That is how I have been living.

And now, coming out has changed that. It has changed my ability to connect with every relationship in my life.

Either I am loved or I am not, but now I can feel the love where it is, in authenticity. I hope you can hear the fullness of that moment for me. 

 

(representing male, white, pastors)  I exchanged a conversation with a pastor who another female pastor friend introduced me to this week. As we talked about what I had experienced, he said several times, "I am so sorry" and ended the conversation with a genuine hug. Hearing the words, "I am sorry" from this man, was deeply honoring of my experiences. When I reflect on it, I think about all the pastors who would not affirm me in the way this man did. Yet for every 100 that would not affirm me, this one mattered more. It helps me realize that every small effort matters. That affirming the experiences of the marginalized and listening to their stories has real healing power.

That the world can be changed by a few like you and me, willing to decide to say or do the next right thing, no matter what it costs to us personally.

 

And then, representing my daughter, as only my daughter can, she told me the words that many people said this week, but none as important... "I am proud of you". She is a teenager & those words do not come readily or lightly.

She said she was proud of me, my people! I am so loved! 

Do you hear me? So loved. I am loved! 

It feels like the line in my heart, which I have been hacking away at & cracking open, suddenly was made passable & light is flooding in. 

My heart is full of light & love. 

A kind of light spread out from her. And everything changed color. And the world opened out. And a day was good to awaken to. And there were no limits to anything. And the people of the world were good and handsome. And I was not afraid any more.
— John Steinbeck