Although you were several years my senior
There was an awkward kinship between us
An unspoken acknowledgement
Both swimming against the tide
Of social constructs around masculinity and gender

Once, while being being chastised for having long hair
And being called “effeminate”
I used you as an example
Of a Christian who seemed both gay and femme
I was sternly corrected with
“He’s just different”

Several years later
After I had come to terms with my own sexuality
I ran into you at a local gay bar
We shook hands
Both seemingly relieved that the pretenses
Were no longer necessary

I heard things about you through
The Gospel Grapevine
Religious tongue-waggers
With nothing better to do than
Ridicule those who are different

About your failed attempts at relationships
How you ultimately joined the Catholic faith
And devoted yourself to it
Much like a priest shelters himself inside the Church
To hide from his perverse inclinations
You probably felt you had a sickness
That you needed to protect yourself from

But you should have known that you
Like everyone else
Were fearfully and wonderfully made
And deserving of God’s love and acceptance
Whether or not God’s children ever gave you either

I heard you passed away the other day
And the thing that bothers me so much
The one question that nags at me is
Were you ever truly happy with yourself?

I hope so…

Through the valley

I have been going through somewhat of a valley spiritually-speaking over the past few months. We have only been to church twice since Honey’s accident, and we are currently trying to decide which direction to take on that front. Being part of a congregation over the past few years has been an overwhelmingly positive experience, but I also enjoy lazy Sunday mornings at home. Even more so since some of our closest friends are no longer attending services.

One thing I’ve learned over the past several weeks is that many of the fellow worshipers I thought were true friends, actually aren’t. No cards, phone calls, emails, text messages, Facebook pokes… nothing. I realize friendship is a two-way street, but a simple “We miss you!” can go a long way toward easing feelings of isolation and loneliness.

Religion has never been an easy thing for me. It often feels like a handicap that must be struggled through in the hopes of attaining some eternal reward. I don’t like the monotony of religious tradition or the arrogance of doctrine. So much of it seems elementary – a jagged little pill I must swallow every week. I’m much more content to figure it out for myself, rather than allowing someone else to tell me which path the journey should take.

I read too much, question too much, and believe too little. I keep hoping a light bulb/aha moment will wash all of my hesitation and fear away, but the older I get, the less likely it seems that such a thing will occur.

For me, God has become a concept; a way to explain how everything my senses reveal came into being. I refuse to deny His/Her existence simply because it might not make logical sense to believe. Nothing really makes sense if you think about it long enough (space, for instance). Religion certainly falls into that category.

I take nothing lightly; in fact, I agonize over these things. It just seems like I keep coming back to the same conclusions time after time, which means that I have to eventually be honest with myself about what I believe – or don’t believe. Unfortunately, those moments of realization usually include a mixture of anxiety and sadness.

This post isn’t really going anywhere, but I just needed to get these thoughts on screen so that they might be a little easier for me to organize. I’ll try to write something a little more coherent next time. ;)

Campus cogitations

I’m sitting in the library on the campus where Honey goes to school, waiting for his class to end. I decided to drive him the 20+ miles to his night class because he’s been up since yesterday morning – working on a term paper that was due today.

It feels a little strange sitting here surrounded by college kids. The funny thing is that even at 34 years of age, I don’t really feel like I look any older than most of them. Watching them pore over their studies does make me feel like a loser though.

I wish I’d went straight to college after graduation, but it just wasn’t something that was encouraged in my household. I do take pride in the fact that I was the first person from my immediate family to finish high school, even though it certainly doesn’t make me any smarter than the rest of them. My dad is one of the most intelligent men I know and he never finished the 10th grade.

Although I realize I’m not too old to get a college degree, I have reached the point in my life where it just doesn’t seem like part of the plan. I’m much more comfortable in this supporting role. Plus, the thought of all that school work and learning makes my head hurt.

Maybe I’ve just gotten lazy in my middle age?