Monday, November 21, 2005

No More Solitary Confinement

A friend of mine is a retired pastor. Once, he told me, a prominent big wig community leader came to him privately, knowing my friend was supportive of the gay community, though straight himself. This man said that he knew he was gay; no one else knew; he never came out. But, he said, "Before I die, I want one other person to know I am gay". My friend called it "solitary confinement."

What a concept. I can put a name on all these years of isolation. That inability to connect deeply with other people, particularly men. Fear, distrust, can't talk about. There have been some "connections," but you don't want to know. (Well, even if you do, I ain't telling it here). It was anonymous, sick, unhealthy, unhelpful. It denied relationship, it was a lie.

I wish not to live in solitary confinement any longer. Adjusting to the "outside world" is going to take time, but I can do it and will do it. I can have friends, make friends, come out of this closet into the light. Look, I know some of this sounds corny, but, God, it feels so good. Just these first steps.

It is funny how I've never ever felt like God abandoned me or condemned me. Never. For all some Christians say about what they think God wants, I wonder if they ever really asked God directly, or has it just been their reading (misreading) of scripture? I wonder.

Even God feels much more open to me now. Just a few steps. The journey keeps on.

3 comments:

Michael said...

There are some lines in John of the Cross that I love. "Mine are the heavens and mine is the earth. Mine are the nations, the just are mine and mine the sinners. The angels are mine, and the Mother of God, and all things are mine; and God himself is mine and for me, because Christ is mine and all for me. What do you ask, then, and seek my soul? Yours is all of this, and all is for you. Do not engage your self in something less or pay heed to the crumbs that fall from your Father's table. Go forth and exult in your Glory! Hide yourself in it and rejoice, and you will obtain the supplications of your heart." Don't settle for less than what God has in store for you. Come forth and exult! It's an amazing party.

gratefulbear said...

I know what that "solitary confinement" is like. I was 33 before I came out of the closet. Thankfully, I had landed at an Episcopal Church that was a safe space for me to fully accept God's love.

You have a great blog here. I'm going to put a link to it on my own Blog of the Grateful Bear.

Steve said...

Oh, brother, you definitely have been reading my mail...

I'm still struggling to identify which I've been hiding from - God, or the church. My head would tell you that I believed God would love and accept me, but the church wouldn't.

Unfortunately, my actions would indicate that I wasn't trusting God very much at all.

Regardless who I was running from, I too was living in solitary confinement.

And I know how corny and silly these first steps sound to you, because I know how ridiculously simplistic they seemed to me, to describe them. However, they FELT like giant steps, even though I knew better. It just feels good to be headed in the right direction.

A friend from Ohio in recovery is fond of saying, "Even if you're on your back at the bottom of a thousand-foot hole, (a) you're still facing up, (b) you can see which way you need to go, and how far it is, and (c) you're seeing daylight for the first time. And by definition, if you're on your back at the bottom of the hole, at least you've stopped digging."

Guess I needed to be reminded of that tonight.

Happy Thanksgiving, brother.