To get the ball rolling, I'd like to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers this past week. It really means a lot to me, and if my family knew about this blog, I'm sure it would mean a lot to them, too. The service was beautiful. Though sad, ultimately it felt more like a celebration of a life well-lived, with a slight touch of "We'll see you soon" thrown in. Now I'm just hoping that my grandmother can get back on her feet, even though I know that she'll probably never be the same.
Well, to change the subject, I thought everyone would like to know how "Life to Life" went a week or so ago. I had planned on speaking about this sooner, but of course my family's circumstances got in the way. Now, I think I'm ready to speak about it. To tell the truth, it went easier than I thought it would. Like usual, I had made a bigger deal about it than the other guys did. In fact, I found that in telling my own life story, or even the story of my salvation, I found that my sexuality wasn't what I focused on. I mentioned it, of course, as a struggle that I had been presented with, but I found that there were many other things that I felt were greater struggles, and that I felt God had delivered me from in His grace.
One of the things that I haven't focused on in this blog, because I used to see it as irrelevant, was what a miserable person I was in high school. No, I wasn't sad. Perhaps miserly is more of a word to describe it. I was an isolated person. Yes, I had friends, and they were good friends that I'm very thankful for, but ultimately I was a mean-spirited and vindictive person. I wasn't a bully. I didn't pick fights with people. I think I was something worse. I was a gossiper.
Oh yes, if there was anything sordid going on at my high school, you could be sure that I knew about it or knew enough about it that I could make the rest up and pass it on as "fact." I had no respect for the private lives of others, and in some cases I actually used rumors to hurt others. I was not a nice person, and the fact that I had friends at all was strange to me. But then again, I kind of hung around with the "popular" -- or at least the well-known -- kids at school, and every group of cool kids needs its resident gossip. I'm sad to say that it was me.
Telling the guys in Bible study that part of my life was pretty hard. For one, it's hard to get people to want to trust you when you admit that keeping a secret was once the lowest thing on your priority list. Two, it's just hard admitting what a slimeball I was back then. Sure, I was nice. I worked hard. I played sports. I went to church. But there was this sneaky little part of me that just wanted to cause a stir. It was selfish, and proud, and altogether sinful. And, thank the Lord, I feel that I've been delivered from it.
Honestly, true change for me can be exemplified by the change in my demeanor from high school to college. The gossiping, the petty conflicts that I capitalized on, the squabbles: none of that appeals to me, and to tell the truth it disgusts me. Perhaps back then I was so in the closet that I wanted all rumors to deflect away from me, so I started them myself. Or maybe I was hurting due to the isolation that my sexuality brought on, so I tried to isolate others. Either way, something has been met in me that has stopped my acid tongue. I'm comfortable with who I am. I have friends that I trust and who trust me. Heck, I just found out today that I was nominated to represent my dorm as the nominee for the Snow Ball King later this month (and I haven't anything to wear...) I'm a totally different person now, and I thank God for that.
That, basically, is what I focused on in "Life to Life." It really wasn't the most interesting story. I realize just how lucky I have been compared to some of the other guys. I was raised in a loving Christian home. I had everything I needed or wanted growing up, and now I have a great relationship with Christ and great Christian fellowship. Truly, I can't complain.
P.S. -- Did I tell you guys that I'm headed to New Orleans over Spring Break? I'm in a group that's helping out with Hurricane Katrina relief. I'm so excited! :)