I haven't sought to speak in the storm, because I am not rain, nor wind, nor shaking earth or crashing waves. I find my giftings in other places, much like the gentle breeze in 1 Kings that causes Elijah to emerge from the cave because he knows it is God.
And so it is with this image that my spirit resonates, thinking of myself as a breeze that caresses each and every person and calls them to know their Belovedness--and to cast off all that holds back from this Knowing. This is the tender compassion the Lord has given to me--one that seeks to protect the space for the journey of healing in each and every one of us, for we have all experienced trauma and fragmentation in our spirits.
In the summer of 2000 I made my first trip to West Hollywood to go to a LGBT bookstore called A Different Light. (Those were the days before Amazon.) I was just starting to read coming-out stories and wanted to follow up on certain gay authors whom I found to be accessible. Barnes & Noble bookstore had a dismal gay and lesbian selection, so like a good cross-cultural missionary, I decided I would go out of my comfort zone to gain access to points of view different from what I was used to. I just wanted to understand.
Just over a year ago, I came out as bisexual to those who know and love me. But for the sake of Christian connection, I put myself back in the closet in order to avoid hard conversations, criticism, isolation and the potential loss of relationship. It hurt. I started to lose myself. I became judgmental, defensive, angry, and isolated. All the things I’d been afraid of.
Friends and family tried to reach out to me, to be close with me. They called, texted, and emailed regularly. I shut them out. I kept telling myself, “They won’t understand” because I knew they couldn’t accept me—at least not the real me. What I was forgetting is that many of these people already love and accept me. Always have. Always will. What’s more, many of them suspected I was struggling with something bigger than my anxiety.
One of the banes of growing up in a small private school while playing sports with boys from bigger public schools was tryouts’ day, where, usually, the only people I knew by name were my parents. This past year has been kind of like that. Lots of newness. I moved, I started a new job, I got married. With all of the change, I resorted a lot to the narratives I learned growing up, and all year long, I felt like a rookie at tryouts.
In a recent interview, one of the newest members of my hometown Portland Trail Blazers, Mason Plumlee, reveals how rookies are treated in the NBA, and it reflects what rookies face in all professions.