Friday, March 30, 2007

Working it In & Out

Today is our last full day at our work week on the Gulf Coast. It has been a good week. The work is sometimes frustrating -- you don't get to see a job all the way through. One sows, another reaps, one begins, and others will finish. But that's the nature of the work.

All the various and sundry folk we've met has provided a beautiful glimpse of the Body at work, an example of what it takes to get the job done. As in life, all the many parts, colors, textures, and threads are needed to come together for the whole.

But, I could use a really good bear hug right now, from a bear. Though I see the importance of the great diversity of folk in the world, right now, I've got a yearning to be with some more members of the Family. As I try to sort out what it is to be me (a gay man, a Christian, etc.) I am beginning to feel the burn of being seen as strange/different/unacceptable. More later.

Shalom & Cheers, Joe.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Camp Coast Care

This week, I'm at Camp Coast Care in Long Beach, Mississippi, with a small work team from church. Since this camp is an Episcopal - Lutheran cooperative venture, we're celebrating the end of the work day with beer and laughter. It's a great atmosphere, lots of friendly folk, and not-too-rugged conditions.

This week there are volunteers from Colorado, Illinois, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Vermont, and South Carolina. All sorts and conditions of folk.

Yesterday I learned about hanging drywall. One of the volunteers (who'd had years of experience with Habitat for Humanity) was an excellent teacher. I felt a real sense of accomplishment in the learning and the doing. Today was painting (there were enough volunteers at the drywall house) - a bit less fulfilling for me.

Tomorrow, it may be going back to the painting house to finish what was started, or off somewhere else. Where the need is, I'm willing to go. I wish I had some skill they were really dying for, but so far I'll have to settled for lending a hand wherever. And, I suppose I'm cool with that.

More later. Cheers, Joe.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

On the Road for Relief - hurricane relief, that is.

This week, I am with a group from my parish at a work camp in Mississippi. Somewhere near Long Beach, we arrived tonight and will be working all week long. I'll try to stay in touch and posts as I can.

This is an uptown work camp. Housed in a gym, with cots, etc., they just got wireless access. Glad I brought my laptop!

Many thanks to all who've read and made comments. I think it will be good to be away from home. Some distance between my wife and me is not a bad thing for both of us, right now.

It's hot. I'm tired. I'm sooooo....... in the closet this week with a group from Church. Alas.

Cheers to all.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

What's helped you?

In the midst of all the twelve step work, which seems to go slowly, I've been reading some about being gay and being Christian. I need some positive, affirming stuff to lift the burden of shame.

Shame for the acting out, the addiction, the pain I've caused through that is one thing. But no longer do I want to feel shame for being gay. Sure, I'm sad this didn't "all work out" years ago, but this is where we are. Life on Life's terms, not mine.

So, as I've mentioned, I've been reading Gifted by Otherness by Wm. Countryman and M.R. Ritley. Also, I read Soul Beneath the Skin, by David Nimmons.

In dealing with being gay and a sex addict, Cruise Control by Robert Weiss has helped sort through some things.

Any "affirmation books" -- you know, the little ones with daily readings? Something short and easy to digest.

When it comes to coming out and discovering what it means to be gay, I know it is more than just sex, for goodness sake. But when it comes to the sex part, I'm not interested in books. I am awaiting a time when I can experience some intensive on-the-job-training (LOL) So, I'll let y'all know when to keep your calendars open!

  • For others out there, what's been helpful for you in accepting yourself as gay, and in working toward wholeness?

Monday, March 19, 2007

Telling Shame

This evening, in a counseling session with my wife, we talked more about how to tell our children that their parents are separating, and that their father is gay. We did not come up with a plan. It did not go well.

Details are unimportant here, but I left feeling a deep, very intense feeling of shame. I have ruined the lives of so many folk, now and in the future. I wish this would all go away.

I am way past wanting to "do myself in." This whole coming-out process has convinced me more than ever how much I want to live. But there are times (like now) I would like simply to disappear, leave the scene of the crime, vanish into never land. Just leave them all be. And leave me be, too.

And, of course, when one is living in addiction, all it takes is a little bit of shame to set things off. Oh, how I want to go and find some bear to @$*)$&%($)) with. But, that course of action only starts the cycle over, feeling more shame, spiraling downward. Maybe one day, I will be able to @$*)$&%($)). But not because I'm trying to drug the shame and make the feelings go away. Maybe when it's just me, these things won't be "so bad." But not today.
Perhaps some sense of shame will never go away. Perhaps life will just go from bad to worse to worser. But at least I have been a little honest with myself and a few others. I am gay.
I am so very sad that I didn't figure this all out a long time ago. Yes, sometimes, I wish it would go away, if only I knew how I could change into somebody else. But then, I wouldn't be me. And, even though "being me" right now doesn't seem so great, it's the only life I've got. And I want to live it. And I want the pain to ease.
I know there are some resources on-line for "telling your children." Any suggestions are welcome.

Today. Just for today. One day at a time.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Glaciers - Moving

I didn't realize how long it had been since my last post. Sorry about that.

Glaciers move slowly but inexorably. As they creep along, as the ice melts, crevasses form: those cracks that may be hidden from view but then slowly develop into chasms. And they are cold.

That's is what it feels like at home. Though my wife and I get along quite well, always have, I feel a slowly growing, cold rift beginning. I suppose it's only natural, all things considered. This summer is the time when we will separate. When both children are home from school and will have one another for some support, we will tell them. They will want to know why we hadn't let them in on it sooner, but there is no need to burden them with it now. One in college, one in high school, they don't need any more distractions than they already have.

Will we tell them everything? Exactly why Daddy is leaving? I think so, but that will be difficult, because they have to keep it quiet. The coming out can't happen out loud. It must be kept in check so as not to endanger my job.

Mixed feelings: excitement, dread, coming relief, approaching disaster, new community, utter isolation. Such is life.

Working with a 12 step group has been life-giving. The concept of "one day at a time" is coming into focus and into practice. Surrendering not just the addiction stuff, but many other areas of life is helping. I have always wanted God to "take it away." Now I think I understand that it is less about God taking something away as it is my handing it over. Subtle difference but with big effect.

But I am not just recovering, I am coming out, also. Two things that can seem conflictual. Part of me says "quite acting out" while the other keeps asking, "but what does it mean to be gay." Much to learn.

I've been reading Gifted by Otherness by Wm. Countryman and M.R. Ritley. Written by two Christian theologians (and Episcopalians), it is not a difficult read. It helps me find some framework, something to hang all this on, something to help me see I am not alone.

I must get back to work. Thanks to all who read, comment, and offer themselves through this blogosphere.

Shalom & Cheers, Joe.