Wednesday Word - June 23

If you haven’t paid attention, the month of June has been designated as Pride Month for LGBTQ+ persons to feel affirmed and accepted in their identity. As a part of this month, I was asked to write a deeply personal letter to myself on the day I came to terms with my own identity. Knowing what I know now, having experienced all that I’ve been through up to this point in my life, what would I say to myself back then?

I gave this assignment a lot of care and thought. Last night, WFAA broadcast a montage of several persons reading these letters to themselves. I was privileged to be a part of this project. Of course the segment could not include all of what we each had to say, it had to be edited for brevity. I have shared the entire letter with you here. I pray we each can be more aware of what we each go through in our lives, be supportive and caring of one another. We never know what a kind word or touch can really do for someone. For me, Pride Month is a time to remind me that everyone is a child of God and deserving of compassion, acceptance and love.

“Dear Tom,
I know today is a day that has a lot of emotions raging in you. You’re afraid, you’re anxious, you’re exhilarated, and you’re just a little bit hopeful. I want you to know all those feelings are valid and you have ample reasons to experience all of them.

You’re fear is well placed, there are a good number of people who will not understand and will be very upset with your decision to own your truth. They will not be kind. They will treat you and speak to you in ways which will be hurtful. You will get through this, you will be stronger coming through this backlash. I want to tell you, go ahead and live your truth, you’ll find it to be the most freeing of any experience you will ever have. You will grow to pity those who cannot accept differences, who find themselves tied up in knots over your truth. That’s ok, that’s all about them, and has nothing to do with you. You are going to find you are much more resilient than you would have ever imagined. The fear that is welling up in you now will turn to resolve. By living your truth, you will show the world the the difference in you is what makes the world a better place, a more accepting place, a more loving place.

Today, right now, your anxiety level is off the charts. You don’t know what the future holds and that in itself makes you anxious. As you go forward, will you be denied housing, employment, healthcare, legal rights? I know these are questions swirling around in your mind, your anxiety is palpable, and for good reason. You’ve seen how others have fared as they’ve come out. You’ve seen good people lose their jobs because of who they love. You’ve seen those you know told they aren’t the sort of people a landlord prefers to rent to. You’ve heard the stories of those who can’t get adequate healthcare because insurers don’t want them. On top of that, you’ve seen where doctors and hospitals treat same gender couples as pariahs, and don’t consider partners as next of kin. Your anxiety is well founded, it will take lots of time, and energy, and organizing, and marches, and campaigns to change the things that are making you most anxious. That’s ok, you will weather the storm, you’ll come through battle-scarred, but victorious. Live your truth.

At this moment, you are exhilarated at the thought of what it can mean to be honest, open, sharing all of who you are, what makes you unique and full of the beauty and wonder God created in you. Hold on to that feeling. Let that feeling bring you joy. Let that feeling lift you up when the world gives you cause to be down. The exhilaration is your inner self yearning to be free. The exhilaration not only is holding your hand as you come out today, it is literally pushing you out into the sunlight, out into the open, out into the public square. It is pushing you to come out. Bask in that feeling, bask in the notion that you have a right to be freed of societal strictures, freed of societal expectations, freed of any and everything that would want to shove you back inside yourself. This is your day, make it triumphant. Live your truth.

There is the tiniest bit of hope inside you wanting to rear its head. That hope says one day, things will change. That hope says, one day your feelings for another person of the same gender will be allowed to culminate in marriage. That hope says, one day there will be protections for ALL persons who are unique and are branded as LGBTQ+, That hope says, one day it will be the norm that you can kiss your partner in public if you choose to do so. That hope says, one day you will be able to celebrate your relationship openly as your straight friends do. They will celebrate you as you celebrate them. They will laugh with you, they will rejoice with you, and they will mourn with you. They will do this because they have come to realize that we are all created to love and be loved. No, we are not all created to love the same, but the need for love is a God-given need, and all people will come to realize that. They will celebrate the years you spend building a relationship with a person who loves you. They will pray for you when the troubles and hard times come. They will mourn with you when your beloved passes from this life to the next. This day will come, so live your truth.

Of all the things I could tell you from my vantage point, the one thing I want to say most is, be you. Be you and I promise those who matter will surround you and love you. Because you are surrounded by love, you will learn to love more deeply and it will shine in you for others to see. Know that I am waiting for you to become who I know God made you to be. So go on, come out, throw your hands in the air and live your truth.
You are loved more than you can imagine,Your future self.”

Love and Peace,

Pastor Tom

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