It took me far too long to get it, but my eyes and ears are wide open now. I get it now. My difference is not a curse, it is my richest blessing. You must delight in ironies — the last shall be first; the meek shall inherit the earth, and so forth. In my early years, all I wanted was to fit in. But I was made different from most around me. Only You really know how often I wondered what I had done to deserve this intrinsic difference. My Church called it “evil”. My friends called it “queer”. My parents called it nothing at all. They didn’t even want to think about it. See? See how I used to think about my sexuality as an “it”? I think it is called “disassociation”. “It” was the source of so much pain growing up. How could I have known then what a gift my sexuality would be? A different gift? An unusual gift? A rare gift? A priceless gift? Your gift?
Today my being is filled with gratitude for Your gift to me. Once I began to embrace, to accept, and then to celebrate my sexuality, I opened myself up to so many unique joys. For the part of my being that initially separated me from those I cared for has become the engine for my love — the conduit for Your Love. In fact, it was the very first time I “fell in love” that the scales began to fall off my eyes. I experienced emotions I had never felt before — ecstasy, release, freedom, connection, compassion. That first experience of love was integrally entwined with sex. My sexuality pulled me out of my self-imposed prison — out of self-centered pity. I experienced a whole new depth of love. There is no question in my mind that my initial coming out was Sacrament — when You were powerfully present to me. I got it. You made me as I am. No need to hide, to be ashamed, to explain, to apologize. I am. I simply am. I draw my dignity from my Creator. I will never forget Your voice telling me that You simply didn’t care about my being gay. All You cared about is recognition of how much I am loved and how well I love others. And so I refocused. My purpose wasn’t to fit in. I didn’t even have to figure out my purpose. Being me and Loving would lead me to that purpose.
It has been quite a path since that crossroad. I have an idea what Paul, your apostle to the Gentiles, might have felt when he was struck from his horse in an encounter with You. Learning to let myself be loved and to love others has turned out to be quite a challenge. It is quite an adventure with every emotion. I’ve made many mistakes. They come with learning. I cannot love without risk. “But I think I’ve got it now. I actually had Your Love and Grace all along.”
Today I pause again to thank You for the Gift that has connected me to my partner; to so many fun, wonderful, quirky, inspiring, forgiving and creative friends, as well as fellow pilgrims on the path home to You. Thanks for the Gift that enables me to see things in a different light. It is the source of my compassion, my deep intuition, my inexplicable sense for colors and style and spatial relationships. Thank you for my difference and the difference of all those around me. And therein is that divine irony of Yours. In all this difference we find Communion, Eucharist and Paschal Mystery. We all share the same source — You, Goodness, Gratitude itself.