Thursday, October 21, 2010

Colorado: Good for Families

Here's another story I wrote for my contemplative listening class. I didn't realize how emotional this story was going to make me while I was going through the contemplative listening process with my small group. I share this at the risk of my dad seeing it. If you are reading this, Dad, please read it all the way to the end and know that I love you very much. The past is the past, and no one's childhood is perfect. I love you for who you are now and that is what is important.

For everyone else, here is a peek into my psyche:

I don’t have a lot of fond memories of my dad from when I was little. He was an impatient, angry man, short-tempered and extremely stubborn. I was afraid of him, as were my two brothers, and my sister. My brother James and I bore the brunt of it: me because I was the oldest, and James because he was the troublemaker. I like to tell people that I was the guinea pig for my parents, that they made all of their mistakes on me.

I tell you this because there is one particular memory of my father that will surface from time to time, not necessarily prompted by anything specific, just a memory that I find myself going back to. It’s probably the earliest memory I have of actually enjoying time with my dad.

When I was little, I was really bad about doing my homework. My teachers would always be sending notes home with me to let my parents know that I had yet again not done the homework for the class. This would typically result in my dad belting me. But, one time, and I’m not sure why this time was different, instead of getting mad, he decided to help me.

I was supposed to write a five page state report, and I had chosen Colorado because I wanted to do a report about the Grand Canyon. Of course, I eventually found that the Grand Canyon is not in Colorado. The report was already a few days late. The memories are vague, but I remember my dad looking at the encyclopedia entry for Colorado, trying to find random facts for me to add to the report while I flipped through magazines for pictures to cut out. I think I actually ended up drawing most of them because I couldn’t find pictures for the Colorado state bird, tree or flower.

The thing I remember most is sitting with my dad, and actually enjoying his company, wondering why he was being so nice. It almost wasn’t real and I remember wondering why our relationship couldn’t be more like that moment instead of what it was usually like, like when I would hug him and pretend I was happy when he came back from his business trips. That’s the only memory I have like that of my dad, and maybe that’s why I always come back to it. I have a great relationship with my dad now. I just sometimes wish I had more good memories to go along with it.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Growing Up Gay Just North of L.A.

This is National Coming Out Week. In celebration of this week, we had special chapel services and I was supposed to give a testimony for today's service. I decided to write a poem that kind of sums up everything I've been going through the past few months. This is my journey:

Growing Up Gay Just North of L.A.

Welcome to my life.

A life of half-truth and darkness,

Where the light dares not shine,

For shame.

Because I have been taught to be ashamed of myself,

Because my parents have learned to despise me.

Because the people cry out,


“Those who sin in the eyes of God,

They shall surly burn in the fires of Hell for all eternity!”

Why wait?

I can feel the fire now,

Growing inside of me,

Red hot with indignation,

Crying out for vengeance,

Raging against the injustice!

A creature of hatred and shame,

I have become the monster they so want for me to be,

A crooked mirror that can’t help but do what it was designed to do,

To reflect back a broken image,

A relationship broken,

A people divided,

Because we are all God’s children,

United in our belief that we are better than the other,

Because my light is better than yours,

And we will let our righteousness burn the fuel of our existence,

Until all that is left are the charred remains of a once promising future.

But, I have seen a different kind of light,

The light of open doors and stained glass windows,

Burning with a flame that moves us to embrace each other,

And squeeze so hard it almost hurts.

A fire that keeps us going,

A fire for the living,

For life,

For love.

So, I choose to burn with the love of Christ,

I will shine with the love of God’s good creation,

And I will light a new kind of fire,

And draw everyone around me with a beacon of hope!

I welcome you in!

Welcome to my life!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Baptism of Christ

The mosaic is progressing a lot faster than I thought it was going to. Here are some pictures of the work so far.

Now, I have to admit that I have not been as diligent with my homework as I should have been, and this has largely contributed to the speed at which the mosaic has gone up. But, working on the mosaic has been cathartic, and I need really need some kind of creative expression that I can lose myself in right now. Life has been... unexpectedly difficult of late. I've found it really hard to focus on classwork lately, and I've even had to drop one class because of this. I'll be able to focus more on myself this semester, which is important for me to do at this point in my life. I don't know yet where my life is going, but that's okay.

I talked to a counselor for the first time in my life. I don't have anything against counseling, but I've never felt that I've needed it. It was good though, because I realized I was trying to rush through this period of mourning and reflection. So, I will not try to cram my schedule full of things that help me to avoid periods of quiet thought. Instead, the work on the mosaic will continue.

The tile glue has to cure for a day or so, and then I can grout it! I'll put up a before and after picture once the grout is on!